In Sanskrit, Bhramari means a kind of bee. Pranayam means controlled breathing. Hence, during pranayam, the practitioner produces sound which is similar to humming of a bee. That’s why it is also called as Humming bee breathing technique.
The Bhramari pranayama breathing technique derives its name from the black Indian bee called Bhamari. Bhramari pranayama is effective in instantly calming down the mind. It is one of the best breathing exercises to free the mind of agitation, frustration or anxiety and get rid of anger to a great extent. A simple technique, it can be practiced anywhere at work or home and is an instant option to de-stress yourself.
The exhalation is this pranayama resembles the typical humming sound of a bee, which explains why it is named so.
It works on calming the nerves and soothes them especially around the brain and forehead. The humming sound vibrations have a natural calming effect.
How to do Bhramari Pranayama (Bee Breathing)
- Sit up straight in a quiet, well ventilated corner with your eyes closed. Keep a gentle smile on your face
- Keep your eyes closed for some time. Observe the sensations in the body and the quietness within
- Place your index fingers on your ears. There is a cartilage between your cheek and ear. Place your index fingers on the cartilage
- Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out, gently press the cartilage. You can keep the cartilage pressed or press it in and out with your fingers, while making a loud humming sound like a bee
- You can also make a low-pitched sound but it is a good idea to make a high-pitched one for better results
- Breathe in again and continue the same pattern 3-4 times.
This is usually done after the warm up at the start of the yoga practice. However, you can practice this later too.
Variations in Bhramari pranayama
You can also practice Bhramari pranayama lying on your back or lying on your right. While practicing the pranayama while lying down, just make the humming sound and do not worry about keeping your index finger on the ear. You can practice the Bhramari pranayama 3-4 times every day.
Benefits of Bhramari pranayama (Bee Breath)
- Gives instant relief from tension, anger and anxiety. It is a very effective breathing technique for people suffering from hypertension as it calms down the agitated mind
- Gives relief if you’re feeling hot or have a slight headache
- Helps mitigate migraines
- Improves concentration and memory
- Builds confidence
- Helps in reducing blood pressure
- Helps calm the mind in preparation for meditation
Precautions for doing Bhramari pranayama
- Ensure that you are not putting your finger inside the ear but on the cartilage
- Don’t press the cartilage too hard. Gently press and release with the finger
- While making the humming sound, keep your mouth closed
- You can also do Bhramari pranayama with your fingers in the Shanmukhi Mudra
- Do not put pressure on your face
- Do not exceed the recommended repetitions of 3-4 times
None. Once this pranayama is learnt correctly from a yoga teacher, anyone from a child to an elderly person can practice this pranayama. The only prerequisite is that this pranayama should be done on empty stomach.
For the correct pose, see the image which I have mentioned above.
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