Now let’s have some fun 🙂 This pranayama is fun.
Bhramari is a female bee. In this pranayama we hum as we exhale while holding our ears shut sending vibrations into our brain. (There is also a pranayama where you hum on the inhale but it is quite difficult.)
Breathing like this with or without breath holding induces a meditative state, the vibrations of the sound soothe the mind and nervous system. This is also very stress relieving, can help relieve anger and anxiety, it lowers blood pressure, and even help one sleep better. In yoga belief it speeds up the healing of the body, and strengthens and improves your voice and throat area — your 5th chakra.
We are going to begin by closing our senses with our fingers, and listen to our breath. In yoga philosophy your senses take a lot of energy that is why they have the practice of pratyahara which means sense withdrawal, by withdrawing from your senses you turn more energy inward for healing and rejuvenation. For example if you have a netflix marathon day where you lie on the couch and watch TV all day, you actually feel tired. That is because listening and watching took a lot of your energy. So by pulling your energy away from your 5 senses you are putting more energy in your body for healing and maintenance.
Lets start with a natural brief hold after both the inhale and exhale this is known as Four Square Breathing:
- Inhale slowly, hold briefly — maybe 4 or 5 seconds
- Exhale even slower, hold briefly again. You will find it harder to hold your breath after the exhale than the inhale. This is normal.
Practice this for 5-10 rounds
Now repeat this with your senses closed up:
- Put your thumbs on your ears
- Index fingers on your eyes
- Middle finger touching the sides of your nose — this makes your body increase your nitric oxide production
- Ring fingers touching under your nose
- Pinkies touching under your lips
As you listen to your breath — evaluate it. Breathing with our ears closed makes our breath very loud in our head.
Make your breath smooth and even. Repeat the 4 square breathing exercise listening to your breath for 1-3 rounds (however long you can comfortably hold your arms up there).
- There is an asana called nadanusandhana asana … in which you sit on a little cushion, with heels drawn up to your buttocks, feet flat on the floor, and elbows resting on knees – which you can sit in while practicing this to rest your arms and shoulders if you like.
This closing of your senses is like taking a nap — it is refreshing.
And lastly I want to add on the humming sound as we exhale, this is called Bhramari Pranayama.
Repeat the above breathing exercise with your senses closed up with your fingers, humming as you exhale. Try to make the humming sound more nasal-y than chesty. You want to feel the vibrations from the humming more in your brain. The humming sound should be smooth and even and continuous for the duration of the exhale. The sound should be soft and mellow, like a bee buzzing.
This can be done plugging the ears only, I prefer the full sense withdrawal.
- Inhale fully, pause
- Exhale humming slowly and drawn out
- Pause briefly after you complete the exhale hum
- Repeat 5-10x – In times of extreme stress or when healing is needed practicing this 10-30 minutes could be very helpful.
This is an excellent tool to have in your back pocket to deal to shift your brain. During times of anxiety, anger, or stress our brain and thoughts are hard to control, sending vibrations to the brain instantly gives you some control to pull away from the stressful thoughts.