Mother's Day kicked off National Women's Health Week, which was also the official start of Women's Health Month. Plus, May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. So, we are in the season of the year that is focused on cultivating healthy awareness of our bodies, minds, hearts, emotions, and one another.
Brahmari Pranayama or Bumble Bee Breath is a calming breathing practice that soothes the nervous system and helps to connect us with our truest inner nature. This breathing practice will relieve the effects of stress and anxiety, soothe your nerves, calm and quiet your mind, release cerebral tension, lower your blood pressure, dissipate anger, improve concentration and focus, and have a soothing effect on the mind and body.
Bhramari is the Sanskrit word for “bee,” and as you will soon discover, this pranayama is so named because of the humming sound produced at the back of the throat during the practice—like the gentle humming of a bee.
Let's try it together.
Sit comfortably, with your back tall and shoulders relaxed. You can sit on a couple of pillows on the floor or in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Allow your spine to lengthen so that your back, neck, and head are in a long line.
Gently close your lips, keeping your teeth slightly apart, and bring the tip of your tongue to the space behind the upper front teeth. This helps your jaw to relax.
Then, reduce outside stimulation by closing each ear with the thumbs. Place your index fingers at the midpoint of the forehead—just above the eyebrows—and your middle, ring, and pinky fingers across the eyes so that the tips of these fingers press very gently against the bridge of the nose. Close your eyes.
Take a long, deep breath in through the nostrils, bringing the breath all the way into your belly. Drop your chin to the chest and begin to exhale slowly, making a steady, low-pitched ‘hmmm’ sound at the back of the throat—like the humming of a bee. HMMMMMMMMM.
Focus on making the sound soft, smooth, and steady, and sustain the sound until you need to inhale. Do not force yourself to push beyond your natural exhale. This is a gentle breathing practice. The position of your tongue against the back of the top teeth allows the vibration to better resonate throughout your head, affecting the tissues of the brain. Feel the humming vibrations resonating through your head, throat, heart space, and your entire being, relaxing your nervous system.
At the end of the exhalation, slowly straighten your neck as you inhale again through the nostrils to repeat the process. Begin with seven repetitions. Either continue with another seven repetitions or add one repetition per week, slowly building up to a total of seventeen repetitions.
After the final exhalation, allow your breath to return to normal and observe any changes that have occurred. How do you feel physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually? What energetic shifts do you notice as a result of this practice? Where do you notice sensations in your body and how is it different from when you started?
When you are ready, gently open your eyes. As you go about your day, don't give all your energy away. Continue to direct some of your awareness within, maintaining a calm, positive, and relaxed attitude for yourself.
Brahmari Pranayama can be practiced as a daily morning practice to set the tone for the day ahead, whenever you feel disconnected or frazzled, or at the end of the day to encourage relaxation before bedtime. Of course, kids love this practice, so please introduce it as a family bedtime routine.
Let me know how this was for you. I love hearing from you, buzz, buzz...
Lots of Love, Light, and Peace.