Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bumblebee breathing

I've been teaching Bumblebee breathing a lot lately. I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe springtime inspiration? Or by the plight of the honey bee?
There have been some funny reactions in my classes: all out laughter, a sudden opening of the body and mind to chant Om, the sense that the room was still buzzing after we all stopped, and an intense focus for the rest of class on a deeper level than usual.

All from buzzing like a bumble bee!

The pranayama, or breathing exercise is called Bhramari in Sanskrit. Bhramari will help to control and calm the flow of prana (energy) in all layers of your person. This exercise is supposed to be especially beneficial for your sense organs of eyes, ears, nose and mouth.

Here is how you do it:

Find a comfortable sitting position and close your eyes.
Rest your hands in your lap*.
Take a deep breath in through the nose, as you exhale, also through the nose, making a soft buzzing, or humming sound for the entire exhalation. Notice how the roof of your mouth vibrates with the sound.
Inhale again softly through the nose, and again exhale with a humming sound.
Repeat for at least 10 breaths, or more.
When you finish sit in quiet for a few breaths. Be aware of how the area right above the roof of your mouth feels. Notice if the room has a new vibration or energy.
Open your eyes and begin your day anew!

*Some people will close their ears with their thumbs and block the light from the eyelids with the last two fingers, placing the index and middle fingers on the forhead. This I would say is the advanced version of the pose and might be a little too intense if you are just starting out.

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