Yoga has gained popularity in modern times as a form of exercise and physical fitness. Most…
Breathing is an important aspect of yoga. Over the years, breathing techniques have been incorporated into the yoga practice and today you can hardly speak of yoga without mentioning breathing techniques such as Bhramari Pranayama and the likes.
“Breathing techniques” refer to the different methods of breathing, or Pranayama. There are different forms of breathing (Pranayama) which are called Bhastrika Pranayama, Kapalabhati Pranayama, Bhaya Pranayama, Anulom Vilom Pranayama, Bhramari Pranayama, Udgeeth Pranayama, and Pranav Pranayama. Each of these breathing techniques is different from the others and affects the body and mind in its own way.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on the Bhramari Pranayama technique.
This particular technique is also called “bumblebee breath” as the buzzing sound produced during exhalation is similar to the sound created by the black Indian bee. It involves slow calming breaths and is practiced in order to calm the body and mind. If you’re often stressed or prone to feeling angry, this breathing technique will be very useful to you and go a long way in helping you relax.
As we’ll see in a bit, there are several benefits that come with practicing this breathing technique on a regular basis. However, before we get into the benefits of Bhramari Pranayama, it’s crucial that you know which steps to follow in order to properly perform this breathing technique.
How to do Bhramari Pranayama
Bhramari Pranayama is one of the easiest breathing techniques. It’s suitable for people of all ages, and unlike most other breathing techniques, is also recommended for pregnant women. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to perform Bhramari Pranayama:
- The first step to performing any breathing technique effectively, is getting comfortable on a mat or flat surface. This point is important because you won’t be able to focus properly if you find yourself feeling uncomfortable.
- Once you’ve sat down on your mat or other flat surface, assume a comfortable sitting position, preferably Sukhasana or Padmasana. You can sit with your legs crossed, with your right leg touching your left thigh and your left leg touching your right thigh. Stretch your arms out in front of you or place them by your side. You can also sit on your heels in Vajrasana.
- Ensure that your spine is erect and your head, neck, and back are elongated.
- Close your eyes for better concentration and to focus on your breathing.
- Also, while keeping your mouth closed, slightly open your jaw and place your tongue behind your upper front teeth. Smile gently. Your mouth should remain in this position throughout the entire exercise.
- Next, cover each ear with your thumb or index finger. Use your thumbs or index fingers to gently press the cartilage on your ear. This is meant to cut out any background noise.
- To start the breathing exercise, take a long deep breath in through your nostrils and keep inhaling until your lungs have reached their full capacity (i.e. when you can no longer breathe in).
- After inhaling, start breathing out slowly while making a steady buzzing or humming sound at the back of your throat.
- While making that humming sound, with your tongue positioned behind your teeth and your jaw slightly opened, you’ll feel the vibration all the way up to your head. Allow this vibration to flow throughout your entire body while remaining still.
- Continue this process for seven cycles or more. One cycle consists of a complete round of inhalation and exhalation.
Practicing Bhramari Pranayama with Shanmukti Mudra
Sometimes Bhramari Pranayama is practiced with the Shanmukti Mudra to draw all the senses inwards. Focusing then becomes easier and Pratyahara, the fifth limb of the Yoga Sutras happens.
For the Shanmukti Mudra place the pinky fingers below the lower lip, the ring fingers above the upper lip, the middle fingers on the bridge of the nose and the index fingers softly on your eyelids. Use the thumbs to close your ears. Practice Bhramari Pranayama then as described above.
Benefits of Bhramari Pranayama
Consistent practice of Bhramari Pranayama comes with a lot of benefits. Breathing controls the oxygen level in your body and every single organ is affected by respiration. We’ve seen from both research and experience that Bhramari Pranayama is beneficial to the overall health of the body. Here are some of the ways that we can benefit from performing this breathing technique:
- It’s a form of breathing that’s meant to have a calming effect on the body. With this breathing technique, you can easily relieve stress, tension, anxiety, and even anger.
- It’s recommended for people with high blood pressure or hypertension as it slows down the heart rate.
- It’s a magic cure for headaches or migraines because it has a calming effect on your head and relaxes your body.
- It helps build concentration and will strengthen your memory. Spending extended time on this form of Pranayama will help sharpen your mind.
- Practicing this technique is beneficial to the respiratory system. When you practice Bhramari Pranayama, you’re exercising your lungs and other respiratory components. Doing this reduces the risk of contracting any respiratory diseases.
- Unlike the more rigorous forms of breathing, Bhramari Pranayama is recommended for pregnant women as it allows for an easier delivery and lessens labor pains.
- The humming sound produced by this breathing technique has a calming effect on the body. The vibrations from the humming sounds spread throughout the body and create a soothing sensation that’s important for the nervous system.
- This form of breathing has a sleep-inducing effect and as such is an effective technique for people with sleeping disorders. Bhramari Pranayama calms the body down and puts it in a state of rest, which facilitates sleep.
- Practicing Bhramari Pranayama is beneficial to elderly people or those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It helps to calm down the body and greatly reduces shaking in the extremities.
- This breathing style is also important for the cardiovascular system. Consistently practicing Bhramari Pranayama helps strengthen the heart and other vessels.
Precautions to take when performing Bhramari Pranayama
Before performing Bhramari Pranayama as described above, there are some important things to remember:
- Instead of jamming your fingers into your ears, make sure you’re only gently depressing the cartilage.
- Don’t open your mouth while breathing. Instead, keep your mouth closed and slightly open your jaw.
- Always make the humming sound when you’re exhaling and ensure that your tongue is located behind your upper teeth.
- Don’t perform the exercise lying down but instead make sure you’re sitting in a proper position with your spine elongated.
- It’s not recommended that you perform this breathing technique if you have an ear infection as you may experience complications.
Bhramari Pranayama is one of the most popular forms of breathing. It’s easy to perform and very effective. While there’s no downside to incorporating this technique of breathing into your daily routine, there are many more benefits than the ones listed above. The best thing you can do, is to simply dive into this practice today and see for yourself!