Aspects of Pranayama

Bramhari: Humming bee breath
Soham and the breath
Sitali Pranayama

Bramhari: Humming bee breath

Bramhari : the Humming Bee Breath

This is one of the most beneficial breaths to practice at any time of day, and one of the easiest to learn.


To practise Bramhari sit with spine and neck erect (although this breath can also be done standing and even walking around) and allow your breathing to normalise.  Without straining inhale and then as you begin to exhale make a gentle humming sound with the lips only very lightly touching.  The aim is to extend the exhalation for as long as possible, but again without strain.  The hum should be barely audible even to yourself.


As an experiment try changing the pitch of the hum and you will find the vibrations of the sound will affect different parts of the head; you may feel the vibrations in the lips and a tickling sensation.  Place the vibrations in the ears and you may help to loosen wax in the ear canals. 


It is tempting to think of a busy bee moving from flower to flower in a summer garden, but that is to active a hum.  Beekeepers will know that when a roof is taken from a hive of contented undisturbed bees there is a wonderful gentle hum as the bees go about their business.  However as soon as they sense danger of intruders the level of sound and the pitch of the sound rises.  In Bramhari we are trying to recreate the contented humming sound.


The effects of Bramhari are several.  By controlling the period of exhalation we are practising pranayama – breath extension.  The vibrations are an excellent tonic for the sinuses and help to free and remove catarrh.  However the greatest benefit is for the brain.  The gentle hum acts like oil on troubled water, reducing turbulence.  In the brain the agitated busy brain Beta waves are reduced and the more relaxed premeditative Alpha waves are encouraged, bringing about a sense of calm and serenity.


In daily life incorporate humming into your activities as you go about.  Hum favourite tunes – Victorian hymns are often good – or mantra.  You do not need to know the words to get the benefits, and in a public place the humming can be so quiet that others are unaware unless they really listen.


Practise Bramhari and you could become as sweet as the honey the bees are making.


Derek Osborn                      200601