Surprising as it may sound, buzzing like a bee can be just about the most relaxing, mind-numbing way to settle your head. When you breathe in the Humming Bee Breath manner, you’ll quite literally set your brain abuzz. This can quite quickly drone out insistent and persistent thoughts, leaving your head clear for deeper mindfulness. It can shake your stress loose and relax areas of tension in your throat and face. If you feel too busy for mindfulness, Bhramari is a fun way to knock those thoughts flying.
Like other pranayama, Bhramari activates both halves of your Autonomic Nervous System. While normally automatic (and unconscious), these functions of your body can be activated with the right sort of breathing. Many pranayama exist, targeting one system or another – and Humming Bee Breath is no different. Performed normally, it brings balance to your Sympathetic (fight or flight) and Parasympathetic (rest and digest) Nervous Systems. If you want to counterbalance an active Sympathetic system, just lengthen your exhales to encourage activation of the Parasympathetic.
If you’re feeling particularly stressed, just remember to breathe out slowly!
Find a place where you can make a humming sound without disturbing anyone, and without worrying about someone coming to disturb you. Or find a group of people to practice this with, like your own hive!
For this practice, I’ll need to teach you one word – tragus. The tragus cartilage is the little nubbin that partially covers your ear canal. If you were to stick your finger in your ear, this is the squishy, flexible bump that would be pressing against your finger on the front side of the ear hole. To ensure a deep, brain-rattling buzz, just press your tragus down to cover your ear canal. Don’t use so much force that you’ll hurt yourself. Play around with the pressure and the location while humming to find the right amount of pressure for you.
- Sit comfortably. Keep your spine long and make sure you can breathe fully.
- Close your eyes and let your face relax thoroughly.
- Place the thumb or first finger of each hand on the tragus cartilage
- Inhale deeply
- When your lungs are filled, gently press your fingers into the tragus (like you’re lightly closing the ear canals using the tragus cartilage). Hold them in place throughout the exhale.
- Keep your mouth closed. Exhale with a loud humming sound.
- Continue this practice as long as you feel comfortable. Two sets of six long breaths is a good length to start with.
A Few Notes
Hummingbee Breath, Bumblebee breath, Bhramari are all names for the same thing. As odd as this practice may sound, the buzzing sensation it creates is a wonderful stress reliever. You don’t have to force the buzzing to be as loud as possible – just breathe comfortably and buzz at whatever volume works. Pay attention to the vibration of the sound. Feel how it shakes your tongue, teeth, and sinuses. This is among the most visceral of ways to actually feel a sound, and a great precursor to chanting of all sorts.
If the sound doesn’t feel quite right, make sure your teeth are separated. If your face and jaw are relaxed, the teeth shouldn’t be touching. Just make sure to double check.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you had a pleasant time checking out the plants. If you’re in the mood for more nature, please stay in touch!