Bhramari pranayama is named after a large bee and we make the sound of this bee during the exhalation. We inhale through both nostrils and exhale creating the sound at the back of the nasal passages rather than the throat. The exhale is ideally twice the length of the inhale and it is the perfect practice for beginners to train their exhale to lengthen and perfect at the end of the day or before taking a savasana. Any parent will know the soothing effect that humming has on an upset baby.
The practice sets up a vibratory effect at the floor of the brain soothing the nerves and calming the mind.
It is also interesting to note that we use more than oxygen when we breathe, the word prana always meant more than just oxygen. There is four times more nitrogen in the air, and in 1998 three scientists won the nobel Prize for discovering the role that nitric oxide plays in human health. Pranayama is regulation and control of the ten vital airs of the body. The major airs are prana, asana, samana , adana and vyana.
In Prana, 'pra' stands for pranavayu or oxygen and the 'na' stands for natravaya or nitrogen. Elemental nitrogen gets fixed (oxidised to NO or nitric oxide) by the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels-especially those in the sinuses and on the top and back of the tongue.
The highest concentration of NO in the body is found in the nasal passages, in the back of your nose. When you breathe deeply though your nose, you transport NO to your lungs. The extra NO opens up the lungs allowing you to absorb more oxygen and expel more carbon dioxide. Researchers found nose breathing 10-15% higher oxidation of the blood than mouth breathing. So humming like a bee increases the release of nitric oxide in the nasal passages.
Nitric oxide has been beneficial in:
preventing high blood pressure
keeping arteries young and flexible
reducing the risk of diabetes
reducing swelling and pain of arthritis
helping immune system and to kill bacteria.
What more reasons do you need to hum everyday.