It is a simple but highly effective technique for calming the mind. It is also said to balance the endocrine system, especially by virtue of its effect on the hypothalamus, thus being a balancing practice for hormones. It is brilliant during pregnancy and birth. It is useful for inner ear conditions such as the tinnitus mentioned above, but I also personally use it for Labyrinthitis. I have no solid information of its effectiveness in vestibular dysfunctions generally, but I personally believe it can do no harm and should be tried in these cases. It is a number one practice in the alleviation of anxiety and tension.
Primarily it deals with Ajna chakra….you will concentrate usually on the ”hum” in the centre of the head….but the hum can also be directed to any other chakra. ( Directing to the throat and heart chakras is particularly effective.) Brahmari is a preliminary practice for Nada Yoga (The Yoga of Transcendental Sound)
In the end though, it can only be experienced as one thing or another if you try it….here are the instructions 🙂
BRAHAMRI – The Humming or Bumble Bee Breath.
Sit comfortably upright, the spinal cord erect. Do not practise lying down.
(You can practise either in a meditation pose or sitting on a straight-backed chair.)
Close the eyes and mouth and relax the body for a while…….
Take your time…….
Ensure that the teeth are not clenched……….and that you consciously release any tight muscles around the jaws…….
Breathe easily…Be aware of the gentle rise and fall of your abdominal muscles. Allow your body to breathe normally. Do not try to control the breath.
When you are ready to begin, raise your arms out to sides, bend the elbows and use the middle or index finger to gently but firmly plug the ears. (Middle finger best in my opinion – some advocate blocking the ears with the cartilage between the ear and cheek – it doesn’t feel nice to me, but you can try it..)
The elbows remain out to the sides so that the chest area remains open and unimpeded.
(Make sure that the shoulders and neck remain relaxed and at ease)
(EYES STAY CLOSED.)
Breathe in through the nose, keeping the body soft and relaxed.
Exhale slowly, at the same time making a deep steady humming sound like that of a bee.
The sound should be mellow and continuous, and along the one steady note.
(Some say you should aim for a higher note – I personally find a mid-range note more comfortable..How about you just go with what comes naturally to you.. :)..This bee is flying in a straight line, he is not wandering from flower to flower, so keep the note steady, and not up and down or various)
You should concentrate fully on the sound and its internal vibration.
This will usually be at the centre of the head (therefore Ajna Chakra).
(Start with this focus, but if you like at other times check out the vibrations at different chakras)
At the end of the exhalation you may bring your hands back to your lap, and take a resting breath or two, before continuing into another round,
OR you may continue straight into the next round if there is no fatigue in the arms. The shoulders remain relaxed and at ease at all times.
Start with five to ten rounds in the beginning, and if you like it you may increase the duration of the practice to several minutes. Ensure that you never feel hyperventilated by taking calm, easy, resting breaths between the ”hummings” as often as you need. The practice is about the sound and inner vibration primarily and not about altering the carbon dioxide/oxygen balance in the blood – no need for doing any strange things to the breath!!
Brahmari can be practised, if comfortable and enjoyable, for longer periods of time.