Brahmari is one of many ancient yogic pranayama breathing practises with a long list of wonderful benefits for the whole being - physically, emotionally and mentally.
The practise of Pranayama in it's many forms assists in cultivating a deep connection with the flow of prana (life force) within the body.
One thing I love about this particular practise is it's immediate effect on the autonomic nervous system (ANS).
When the exhale is lengthened in relation to the inhale, the calming parasympathetic branch of the ANS is activated.
Far too many of us are in a constant state of stress, or 'flight/fight' response, which is reeking havoc on our sensitive nervous systems.
For those who suffer from stress, anxiety or depression, this practise can very quickly begin to calm the mind chatter, all within a few breaths.
The noise of the humming which is done on the exhalation is a focal point and gently begins to 'drown' out the noise of a busy mind, which if persistant and unrelenting can cause quite a lot of emotional suffering, so this practise can be the perfect place to start for those who find quietening the mind for meditation a real challenge.
Benefits of Brahmari
This amazing practise can:
+ Reduce anxiety, agitation and stress.
+ Quieten the mind.
+ Soothe the nervous system by triggering the parasympathetic 'relaxation response'.
+ Enhance mental focus and concentration.
+ Ease fatigue.
+ Reduce anger and frustration.
+ Help reduce blood pressure.
+ Elicit feelings of joy.
How to Practise
There are a variety of different ways to practise humming bee breath.
We are going to explore one of the easiest and gentlest (I love making it as simple as possible!)
+ Find a comfortable seated position - use whatever support you need to ensure that the spine stays erect and the hips are higher than the knees.
A cushion or blanket under the buttocks will help with this. Alternatively use a chair if you need a little extra support.
+ Take a moment to settle into the posture, allowing the tail bone to lengthen down into the earth and the crown to reach for the sky. Connect in with the natural breath and close the eyes so that the focus turns inwards.
+ Take an inhalation in through the nostrils (keeping the lips closed together) and as you exhale make the sound of the letter Mmmm - like a buzzing bee.
+ Continue to breath in through the nose and allow the out-breath to be a humming Mmmm sound.
+ Keep up the practise for a few minutes or as long as it feels good.
+ If at any time you begin to feel any discomfort or strain, then release the practise and return to the natural tidal breath.
+ Take some time after you have finished to sit quietly and notice how you feel from doing the practise.
Has the mind quietened? Is there less anxiety or frustration? Do you feel more relaxed?
I can rattle off a whole list of reasons why the practise might be beneficial, but you are the expert on how something effects you, so take the time to reflect.
This truly is a calming and soothing way to spend a few minutes, and a fairly effortless way to move out of overwhelm, anxiety or stress.
The key is that you can gain all these benefits from just a few dedicated minutes, so even those of you who are stretched for time and super busy can easily slot this into your day!
Enjoy, and let me know how you go!