Tired of Being a Crank? Hum to Boost your Spirits

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
-Maya Angelou

I must confess, getting out of bed these past few weeks has been grueling. When I hear the tolling of the Williston Federated Church bells each morning I inwardly cringe. Sigh. Hmmm…six rings, do I really have to get up?

I would love to blame it on the humidity, transitions, or that bomb American Flatbread brunch. However, I think it’s more likely that a bit of brain sludge, or tamas, has settled in. Perhaps the body’s intuitive wisdom opted to create a protective sheath during these times of transition. Whatever the case may be, it needs to leave- stat.

My latest tactic is Brahmari Pranayama, or Bumble Bee’s breath.

It is said that the humming alone can help open the lotus, conveniently stashed behind your breastbone, otherwise known as the heart. As Americans, or maybe human beings in general, we work pretty hard to keep our hearts closed off and protected. But that gets exhausting, take it from a true Scorpio cynic.

The vibrational sound Hum, or Ham, is actually the bija mantra for the element Ether. Putting this sound into practice can help create more internal spaciousness. I don’t know about you, but I could certainly use some more space. I feel all cramped up, cranky and am a monster behind the wheel.

According to the  magical being Dr. Vasant Lad, “We strengthen our individual prakruti sound with brahmari”. I love this. I had no idea Prakruti, your own unique constitution, can even be altered.  By utilizing this practice one can possibly even fortify a more solid sense of self. 

Moving on.

What are some more intuitive benefits of this practice?
Brahmari helps:

  • Calm the mind
  • Allows one to feel more centered- Less vitriolic road rage
  • Expands consciousness- Yes, soon you will be reading people’s minds
  • Ailments of the throat- Adios strep
  • Relieves stress
  • Reduces Anger- Great for this Pitta time of year
  • Induces sleep- Who doesn’t love that?
  • Improves Thyroid functions- I assume sluggishness
  • Tones the Central Nervous System
  • Promotes Pratyahara- Gaining mastery over external influences, controlling the sense organs and going inward, Matrix style.

Dr Lad suggests that the humming sound also releases the following hormones:

  • Triptophane- the feel good dopey hormone that floods the system after post ginormous Thanksgiving dinner                                                                                                              
  • Serotonin- known to help with depression
  • Melatonin – helps with insomnia
  • Acetylchline- which allows for the relaxation of muscles. Who knows? Maybe brahmari will be happening in the labor units at the hospitals in a decade.

And the list goes on and on. One of my teachers had a client complaining of significant hearing loss. She was unable to use the phone or listen to music. He suggested doing Brahmari breath each morning. This woman was very dedicated to the practice and committed full force. So committed was she that she rigged up a system of two chairs to help hold her arms up when they got tired. Miracles of miracles, slowly her hearing began to return and she was able to use the phone unassisted. I love these success stories, they give me chills.

The hand positions are fun and reminds me of if you took the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil monkeys and mashed them into one. The fingers are meant to cover all the sense organs. The thumb covers the ears, or hearing. Peace fingers cloak your vision. Ring finger gently touches the nostrils (but does not close them off). Finally the pinkie fingers drape loosely over the mouth, the organ of taste and speech.

Ready? Why not give it a try?

Instructions for Bhramari Pranayama

  1. Find a comfortable seat that allows for an elongated spine.
  2. Gently close the lips- the teeth should not be touching
  3. Place your hands on your face:

Thumbs– Close off the ears
Index and Middle Fingers– Place gently over the eyes, do not apply pressure
Ring Fingers– Rest alongside the nostrils
Pinkie Fingers- Lay softly across the lips

  1. Take a deep inhale through the nostrils- drop the chin slightly towards the heart.
  2. Exhale slowly through the nostrils while creating a low-pitched humming sound. The sound is coming from the back of your throat- imagine a little honey bee buzzing around a sunflower.
  3. Repeat until you have completed a set – up to 10 rounds is good, don’t want to have to peel you from the rafters.
  4. Release the fingers, bring the head back to center and resume normal breath pattern.
  5. Pause to notice the imprint of Bhramari pranayama. 

Get cozy with your inner bee and see how this practice can positively change your life. 
Until next time.

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