Bhramari Pranayama, when translated into English, becomes the Bee Breath. However, it is more commonly referred to as the Humming Bee Breath as the practitioners make a humming sound while exhaling. Now, that does sound slightly weird, right? Irrespective of its quirky aspect, this breathing technique is packed with benefits for the physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies. Before we get on with the know-hows of the practice, let’s take a look at its advantages.

Benefits of Bhramari Pranayama

The buzzing sound of the bee breath dissolves away the endless cords of mental clutter, leaving the person in ultimate peace. And, that is why it is an integral element of various stress-busting practices. This Pranayama relieves stress and reduces cerebral tension.

It also helps to

  • Alleviate anger
  • Lower anxiety
  • Ease insomnia
  • Improve overall healing potential of the human body
  • Enhance the vocal cords and sound
  • Soothe nervous system
  • Calm agitated mind
  • Promote concentration and focus, preparing the mind for deep meditation
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Ease throat ailments
  • Release anger and frustrations

On a spiritual level, this Brahmari stimulates the opening of the Vishuddhi Chakra [Throat Chakra] and the Ajna or the Third Eye.

How to do Bhramari Pranayama?

Various teachers suggest different methods for practicing this breathing method. We’ll be looking at two approaches here – one where the person includes Antar Kumbhaka or inner retention of breath.

Bee Breathing Technique 1

  1. Sit in a comfortable seated position with an upright spine, preferably in Sukhasana or Padmasana, to ensure uninhibited energy flow. Rest the palms on the knees, shaping the fingers into Jnana Mudra. Place a cushion beneath the pelvis to elevate it higher than the knees.
  2. Close the eyes and breathe naturally to relax the body and prepare for the practice.
  3. Close the mouth, lips in gentle contact with each other, and teeth separated.
  4. Inhale and lift the arms sideways.
  5. Bend the elbows and bring the hands close to the ears.
  6. Using the index fingers, gently press the flaps of the ears.
  7. Bring the awareness to the center of the eyebrows, the location of the Third Eye.
  8. Take a slow, deep inhalation through the nose.
  9. Exhale in a slow, controlled way making a smooth humming breath. The exhalation should be even and continuous. This breath should also reverberate inside the skull. So adjust the pitching accordingly. The sound should gently taper away as the exhalation ends.

This equals one round. Practice ten such rounds to complete one set of Bhramari Pranayama. Practice 3 sets, increasing the rounds to 20 per set over time.

Contraindications

  • Avoid the practice while lying down.
  • Do not practice if there is an ear infection.

Humming Bee Breathing Technique II

This is a slightly advanced practice where the practitioner retains the breath before exhaling with the humming sound.

  1. Sit in a comfortable seated position with an upright spine, preferably in Sukhasana or Padmasana, to ensure uninhibited energy flow. Rest the palms on the knees, shaping the fingers into Jnana Mudra. Place a cushion beneath the pelvis to elevate it higher than the knees.
  2. Close the eyes and breathe naturally to relax the body and prepare for the practice.
  3. Close the mouth, lips in gentle contact with each other, and teeth separated.
  4. Inhale and lift the arms sideways.
  5. Bend the elbows and bring the hands close to the ears.
  6. Using the index fingers, gently press the flaps of the ears.
  7. Bring the awareness to the center of the eyebrows, the location of the Third Eye.
  8. Take a slow, deep breath in through the nose.
  9. Retain the breath with focus on the Third Eye for a count of five.
  10. Exhale slowly, making a smooth, continuous humming breath that reverberates inside the skull.

This is one round. Practice ten such rounds to complete one set of Bhramari Pranayama. Practice 3 sets, increasing the rounds to 20 per set over time.

The practitioner can also increase the duration of breath retention with regular practice.

Contraindications

  • Avoid the practice while lying down.
  • Do not practice if there is an ear infection.
  • Avoid this practice if there is a breathing issue or heart disease.

Advanced Practices of Bhramari Pranayama

We’ll be looking at three different techniques of Bee Breathing for the advanced practitioners.

Silent Brahmari

In this case, the person visualizes the buzzing sound.

Practice five rounds of Bee Breathing as mentioned under Technique 1. In the sixth round, instead of making the buzzing sound, imagine the same and feel the vibrations.

Bee Breathing With Bandhas

Adding Jalandhara Bandha or the Chin lock to the practice enhances the benefits. A medium-pitched hum coupled with has a healing impact on the thyroid gland.

  • Follow steps 1 through 9 as mentioned under Bee Breathing Technique II.
  • After retaining the breath, drop the chin towards the chest to stimulate Jalandhara Bandha.
  • Hold the Chin lock for a comfortable period.

This is one round. One can gradually increase the rounds after mastering the Bandha.

Note: Do not attempt Bandha if there is any pre-existing medical condition.

Bhramari Pranayama with Shanmukhi Mudra

This is a powerful combination that heals stress and anxiety. It also gifts the practitioner a youthful look.

  1. Sit in a comfortable seated position with an upright spine.
  2. Place the hands on the face with the thumbs resting gently on flaps of the ears. Let the index fingers rest lightly on the inner corners of the eyes. Rest the middle fingers at the base of the nose. Place the ring fingers to upper corners of the lips, and the little fingers on the lower corners of the mouth.
  3. Follow steps 7 through 9 of Bee Breathing as mentioned under Technique 1.

This is one round. Practice ten such rounds to complete one set of Bhramari Pranayama. Practice 3 sets, increasing the rounds to 20 per set over time.

Bhramari is a Sanskrit word that means bee. The humming sound made during the exhalation imitates the buzzing of the bee, and hence the name.

Practice it daily and feel the difference!

 

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I’ve always been enthusiastic about discovering myself, the life and the people. I realize that I have to live in the present moment in order to do that better. This is the mindfulness. Yoga has become the part of my life for more than 5 years. I also completed my teacher training program (RYT 200, Yoga Alliance) and I wanted to share my experiences with everyone. I believe that the articles on YogaArt.com can help you reach out to the mindful state. Yoga is the Art of Mindfulness. Let's be present together. Namaste!

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