Bhramari is a Sanskrit word that originates from Bhramar, which is a black Indian bumblebee. This breathing technique describes the characteristic humming sound that is produced when exhaling. This sound has shown correspondence with that of a bumblebee in spectral contents that displays different frequencies present in a sound.
· Calming effect on the mind
· Relieves stress, anxiety, anger, and negative thoughts within minutes of practice
· Improves sleep
· Improves immune system
· Mitigates migraines and headaches
· Improves memory and concentration. It is an excellent ‘brain fitness’ exercise.
· Helps in controlling high blood pressure
· Reduces depression
· Improves energy level
· Helps in the destruction of viruses
· According to research, humming increases the nasal nitric oxide level 15 times more than quiet exhalation. Nitric oxide improves oxygenation and reduces respiratory distress. It prevents Covid complications and is recommended during covid recovery.
How to practice Bhramari Pranayama?
The traditional practice with Shanmukhi Mudra:
You can do this pranayama on a yoga mat in cross legged position or while sitting in a chair. Keep your spine erect, shoulders relaxed. Now close your eyes. For shanmukhi mudra, close the ears with the thumbs. Place index fingers on the eyes, middle fingers on the sides of the nose, ring, and little fingers on the upper and lower lip. This mudra encourages ‘pratyahara’, which means withdrawing the mind inwards by blocking some of the sensory distractions of the surroundings. This helps to quiet the mind further. Take a deep gentle breath, and exhale with a humming sound. Feel the vibrations reverberating in the body.
· Bhramari without Shanmukhi Mudra:
· This variation can be practiced on a mat or chair. The hands are placed on the lap in gyan mudra, by gently touching the tips of the thumb and index finger. This variation is recommended for people who have difficulty in practicing shanmukhi mudra or those having some functional restrictions. It is especially useful for patients having swelling in the arm, those undergone surgery, or hospitalized patients.
· Silent Version of Bhramari:
· Settle in a comfortable position. Take a deep breath in and imagine making the humming sound on each exhalation. Notice if you can sense the vibrations of this silent humming in your body. This variation is especially useful to cope with stress at work or in public, so nobody can make out what you’re doing.
Duration of practice:
Begin with practicing 5 rounds in the morning and evening or at bedtime. The number of rounds and the duration can be gradually increased. This will depend on the availability of time and practice of other pranayama techniques. However, the silent version can be practiced anytime, anywhere, on the go.
The science behind the healing vibrations:
Although the exact mechanism of the bhramari pranayama is not yet fully understood, it is believed that acoustic vibrations transmitted by humming sound reach other parts of the head as well. They have a massaging effect on the brain and speed up the process of diffusion of waste products from the brain. Removal of waste products from the brain is otherwise difficult because of the Blood-Brain Barrier and the absence of a lymphatic system within brain cells. Moreover, we cant stretch the brain muscles like other body parts. Vibration is a great alternative to enhance the process of diffusion, which removes waste products from the brain. Considering the safety, the vibrations of an individual’s own voice is unlikely to harm brain tissue.
The pitch of humming sound:
A low-pitched humming sound has a calming effect that helps in stress relief, improving sleep and providing tranquility to the mind. Low-frequency humming sounds can produce greater vibro-acoustic effects since these frequencies penetrate deeper. Furthermore, research has shown that human skulls act as sound boosters for low frequencies. The medium- to high-pitched humming sound is more stimulating and energetic. This can be practiced to relieve nasal congestion or sinus infection to open the passage ways.
There is a popular belief, that yoga practice takes a long time to show results. However, bhramari pranayama can work as a quick fix with immediate effects. It is suggested that, this pranayama can lead to the “seventh heaven”. As it directly influences the brain, it has the potential to turn stress into a feeling of bliss. Finally, when we realize everything is frequency, life becomes a symphony..!!
Disclaimer: The content in this article is for informational purpose only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Yoga practices mentioned here must be learned under the guidance of a qualified yoga professional.