According to various ancient Yoga text manuals, bhramari pranayam is a stress buster. Also known as humming bee breathing technique, it is considered as a brain tonic- a natural tranquilizer that soothes the brain and calms the mind.
- Bhramar is a Sanskrit word which means Bumble Bee (a kind of bee).
- Pranayam refers to controlled breathing for health benefits.
During bhramari pranayam, the practitioner produces rhythmic sound similar to humming of a bee.
This simple, easy to practice Yoga exercise has many therapeutic benefits- the most important one is the relaxation of mind. When practiced regularly, it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue to promote a stress-free lifestyle.
Bhramari Prayanam is certainly the best Yoga practice for stress management and inner peace- Swami Ramdev, a renowned Yoga guru in India
Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi has also highlighted the benefits of Bhramari Pranayam in his International Yoga Day tweet.
How to do Bhramari Pranayam
- Sit in the easy posture (sukhasana- simple cross legged position) on a blanket or yoga mat. Keep your spine straight. Yoga experts prefer to sit in Padmasana. But, it is not mandatory. Just be comfortable and sit in a posture that suits you.
- If you are suffering from any joints related problem (like arthritis), just sit on a chair with straight spine.
- Keep your spine straight, close your eyes and loosen up a little. Don’t tighten your body.
- Focus on the breathing and take a few normal breaths.
- Now, you are ready to start the Bhramari pranayam.
- Gently press the ear lids (tragus) with both the thumbs. Don’t press too tightly. The purpose of pressing is just to minimize the external noise.
- Now, put both the index fingers on your forehead, just above the eyebrows.
- With remaining 3 fingers, close the eyes gently.
- Now, slowly inhale from both the nostrils. Inhale deeply until you feel full.
- Then exhale slowly while producing a humming sound. It is something like chanting the OM sound through the nose without opening the mouth.
- You would feel vibrations in your throat, jaws and lips.
- Your mouth should be closed during exhalation- no tension in the lips or jaws. Imagine as if the divine bliss is showering on you.
- This completes one cycle.
- Initially, start with 3 to 5 cycles at a stretch. Then, take a break and start again. Repeat this process for 5 minutes.
- Gradually, you can increase the number of cycles up to 10 (or even 15).
- You can practice Bhramari pranayam as long as you want without any harm.
Video tutorial link (in English)- Click here
Video tutorial link (in Hindi)- Click here
When to do Bhramari Pranayam
Ideal time to practice Bhramari pranayam is in the morning empty stomach after the bowel movements. Practice in a fresh, peaceful environment with proper ventilation. Generally, it is practiced along with other pranayams like Kapalbhati and Anulom Vilom. If doing in the evening, do maintain a gap of at least 4 hours between meals and pranayam.
Read more: Anulom Vilom Pranaym for Skin Problems
Apart from that, you can practice this pranayam anytime, anywhere for instant relief from stress and fatigue. For example, in the office or at your workplace. When doing at any public place, do the humming silently without pressing your ear lids or eyes. It is also known as silent bhramari pranayam.
Don’t overdo. Otherwise, you would be harming yourself rather than healing. The process of inhalation and exhalation should be smooth, tension free and continuous. If you feel obstruction during inhaling the breath, it means that you are stretching the exhalation process too much which is incorrect.
For best results, listen to your body, know your capabilities and practice in a smooth, relaxed manner. Gradually, you would attain the perfection.
Bhramari Pranayam is a Stress Buster
Agitated mind is just like a wild animal- running either in the past or the future. This continuous explosion of thoughts can bring tremendous stress and anxiety.
Bhramari pranayam can help tame this wild animal. The humming sound would resonate in your mind to bring peace and stillness. It would keep your mind in the present moment and automatically, the number of thoughts would reduce to make you calm and composed.
By increasing the alertness of your mind, bhramari pranayam helps to improve your concentration and hence, sharpen your memory. After performing this pranayam, sit quietly with close eyes for some time and observe the body sensations and mind quietness. You would enjoy a little taste of meditation.
Regular practice of Bhramari pranayam helps you to go deep into meditation. If you are a seeker of self realization, do practice bhramari pranayam regularly along with the meditation sessions.
Bhramari Pranayam for Hypertension and High blood pressure
- A case study was conducted by the Department of Physiology, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, India to check the efficacy of Bhramari pranayam for hypertension and high blood pressure. It was observed that when the patients practiced bhramari and anulom vilom pranayam regularly for 6 months, there was a significant reduction in blood pressure and other hypertension symptoms.
- Another case study was conducted by Department of Physiology, Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute , Chennai, India to check the immediate effects of bhramari pranayam on heart rate and blood pressure of healthy adolescents (age group 12 to 18). Immediately after practicing bhramari pranayam for 45 minutes (5 cycles), there was a significant reduction in both the parameters. It suggests that regular practice of bhramari pranayam promotes stress free life by reducing blood pressure and heart rate.
- An interesting case study reported in the Nepal College Medical Journal, Sept 2010 evaluated the immediate effect of Bhramari pranayam on blood pressure and related cardiovascular health. It was observed that practicing bhramari pranayam for 5 minutes reduced blood pressure and heart rate significantly to ease heart problems.
Health benefits of Bhramari Pranayam
This pranayam is beneficial, particularly for various mental disorders. Also, it provides quick relief from any minor body pain by subsiding the pain related sensations. Therapeutic benefits of bhramari pranayam are reported for below health issues:
- Minor headache
- Sinus infection
- High blood pressure
- Don’t press your ear lids or eyes too tightly. Gentle pressing is enough.
- You may experience minor irritation (prickling) in the throat during the initial few days. It is normal and it would fade away gradually.
- Bhramari pranayam is safe for pregnant women. In fact, it helps in easy and trouble-free delivery by reducing the stress level. But, extra caution needs to be taken during pregnancy and not to apply force at all.
- When practiced in the right manner, it is a completely safe pranayam for people of all ages. The guidance of a Yoga expert is suggested during initial days of practice.