One of my all-time favorite pranayama practices is bhramari, also known as humming bee breath. It is so named because of the humming sound produced at the back of the throat. I find that it has an instantly calming effect and reminds me that I am able to create a sense of calm with my breath whenever I need to.

Scientifically, the humming sound creates a vibration that modifies the brain responses through resonance, which results in calming the brainwaves. The vibrations cleanse the respiratory pathways and sinuses. The lengthened exhalations slow the heart rate. And, the breath triggers an increase in the production of nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide is a gas molecule that is crucial to the body. It assists in defending the body from infections. It helps to decrease the swelling of the sinus passages and relax the smooth muscle tissues of the bronchial tree.

This all helps to increase oxygen intake which leads to relief from asthma, lowers blood pleasure, and increases blood flow. It also modulates the passage of major neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.

Nitric oxide is abundant when we’re young, but reduces with age, which is why it can be so impactful to have a breathwork practice that also includes vibration.

The Benefits of Bhramari:

  • Calms the mind and body
  • Relieves stress and anxiety
  • Relieves tension in the head, improving headaches and migraines
  • Reduces throat ailments
  • Strengthens and improves the voice
  • Improves concentration and memory
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Improves the quality of sleep

To Practice:

Best preformed in a calm, quiet setting in a comfortable seated or lying down position.

Allow the spine to lengthen.

Rest the tip of the tongue on the roof of the mouth. Let the jaw soften.

After a full inhalation, gently press the index fingers against the cartilage to close the ear with the index fingers and exhale making a soft humming sound (similar to a honeybee) until the breath runs out.

Notice the vibration in the body.

Continue for 5-9 cycles of breath or for as long as feels comfortable.

Journal Prompts:

Where do you notice sensation?

What energetic shifts do you notice as a result of this practice?

How do you feel physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?

Sources:

Medium — Brahmari Pranayama

Science Direct — Effects of yogic breath regulation