Bhramari Pranayama is one of the eight classic Pranayamas. Hatha Yoga Pradipika says the practitioner of this yoga technique becomes the king of yoga. Furthermore, it states that the mind of the Yogi becomes ecstatic. Many studies conducted on individuals concluded that this practice gives physical as well as mental health benefits.
This article describes the meaning, steps, and benefits.
Bhramari Pranayama Meaning
The Sanskrit word भ्रामरी (bhrāmarī) means humming bee. In this practice, respiration is similar to a humming bee. In other words, it is humming like a bumble bee during respiration. Hence, this breathing exercise gets this name. In English, we call it Humming Bee Breath. Alternatively, some people call it Buzzing Bee Breath. Or just call Bee Breath. Also, it is called the Self-induced Sound Breathing Technique in medical terminology.
Bhramari Pranayama Steps
How to do Bhramari Pranayama?
Let me give you the step-by-step procedure for doing this.
Sit in a posture for meditation like Easy Pose or Thunderbolt Pose. Keep your upper teeth separated from the lower teeth, nevertheless preserving the mouth closed. Then, close your eyes and relax your body for a minute or two.
Now, raise your arms to bring your elbows to the level of your ears and close your ears with your middle fingers. Make sure that your ears are air-tight. No need to insert your fingers into the ears for this. Fix your concentration on the eyebrow/heart center.
Keep your breath slow and deep for a couple of minutes. After inhalation, exhale slowly humming like a bee. Likewise, inhale humming with a similar sound. The exhalation should be much slower than inhalation. The sound should not come from your Larynx as in the case of Ujjayi. Instead, you should create the sound from inside of your lungs that vibrates your heart center. Repeat the inhalation and exhalation with humming for three to five minutes. Inhalation should be shorter than exhalation. 1: 2 is an ideal ratio. For instance, if your inhalation is for 5 seconds, your exhalation should be 10 seconds at least.
Classic Yoga texts say the sound of inhalation should resemble a male bee, whereas exhalation should resemble a female bee.
Advanced students may include breath retention (for a desired and convenient length) between inhalation and exhalation. Also, Mudras and Bandhas can be added. Mudras are gestures of hand or body, whereas Bandhas are Yogic Seals.
Bhramari Pranayama Benefits
We know, Pranayama as a branch of yoga that is extremely helpful in providing sound physical, mental, and spiritual health. Likewise, various studies found that Humming Bee Breath is as effective as other yoga techniques in maintaining a healthy life. It is the outcome of not only the shared effects of many practices but also an individual effect of its kind.
Bhramari Pranayama for Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a condition where you hear ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears. There is no single therapy solution for Tinnitus. Hence, the recent modes of treatment focus on the emotional aspects of it. Sidheswar Pandey et al.,2010 attempted to observe the effects of Bhramari on the physical and mental aspects of Tinnitus. It concludes that this Pranayama significantly reduces irritability, depression, and anxiety associated with Tinnitus. Recent studies indicate that the combined therapy that includes Bhramari, masking therapy, and Ginkgo Bibola is advantageous.
Bhramari Pranayama for High Blood Pressure
A five minutes practice of Bhramari (inhalation 5 seconds and exhalation 15 seconds) results in a slight fall of both diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Also, it decreases the heart rate slightly. (T Pramanik et al., 2010). Though it is a temporary immediate effect, the regular practice could decrease mean blood pressure. In other words, a long-lasting effect could be achieved through regular practice. A study on pregnant women who were hyperactive showed a reduction in blood pressure. 79% of 28 respondents showed a reduction after two months of practice. Likewise, in another study, 81% of 21 respondents showed a reduction after 3 months of practice.
Bhramari Pranayama for Sleep, Anxiety, and Mental Health
This practice produces a relaxed state. In turn, parasympathetic activity overrides sympathetic activity. Hence, it helps hyper-reactive patients.
It provides peace and happiness. Also, it develops the attitude of optimism, self-esteem, and proper coordination between mind and body. (Kamlesh Sharma 1996).
A study published in the International Journal of Indian Psychology (Suprabha Srivatsava et al., 2017) found that Bhramari improves mental and physical health.
Another study notes the positive effects of this pranayama in the younger population. (B Kumar, 2019).
Furthermore, it improves the quality of sleep along with improvement in depression, anxiety, and stress in Covid 19 patients. (Thanalakshimi Jagadeesan et al., 2022)
Bhramari Pranayama Gamma Waves
Paroxysmal Gamma brain waves produced during the Bhramari Pranayama are associated with positive thoughts, and feelings of happiness and act as a natural antidepressant (Vialatte et al., 2009).
The other benefits include the following.
- It activates the heart center.
- Also, it helps to cope with migraines.
- It helps to control anger.
- Furthermore, it improves resting cardiovascular parameters.
- It enhances response inhibition and cognitive control.
- Also, it helps to prevent pre-eclampsia.
FAQ’s on Bhramari Pranayama
People having ear infections should avoid this practice during the period of infection. Similarly, cardiac patients should avoid including breath retention.
For a beginner, five to ten rounds or two minutes. You can increase this gradually up to 30 minutes. When you are including breath retention, you should know what you are doing. Don’t overdo it.
It helps to reduce the symptoms of tinnitus like irritability, depression, and anxiety, if not yes. Possibly, it may be due to the fact that it acts as a source of the self-generated sound, induces parasympathetic predominance, and acts as a relaxation technique. Hence, this practice may be included as adjuvant therapy for treating tinnitus.
Late night and early morning are the best periods. These periods are most suitable because they are noise-free and conducive to concentration. Or you can choose a place where it is noise-free.
No. Ensure that you are doing this practice two hours after a meal. When your stomach is full, avoid any breathing exercises.
Yes. Though it is forced concentration initially, it improves with practice.
Bhramari Pranayama is one of the most beneficial yoga techniques that help the practitioner. It not only provides good physical health but also mental health. Also, it activates the heart center and helps the Yogi to have good spiritual health. Moreover, if this Pranayama is practiced with Mudras and Bandhas, the practitioner will get higher benefits.