For today’s article, we will be examining something that is a little bit less scientific and a little bit more spiritual. However, meditation is one of those interesting areas where science and mysticism come together to a certain extent. This is the case because of the fact that meditation has been validated by science, at least in some ways.
This will not be a generalized primer on meditation, as there are already many such articles on the internet. Besides, the basic principles of meditation are so simple that they require little instruction. Instead, we will be looking at a very specific technique of meditation called Bhramari Pranayama. In English, it is known as “humming bee breath.”
What Is Humming Bee Breath?
For brevity, we will refer to this technique by the acronym HBB. Like most meditation techniques, this one makes use of rhythmic breathing patterns, combining those methods with a droning, bee-like sound. It is this sound which gives HBB its name. The buzzing noise that comes from this meditation is meant to be vibrated, which is just a way of saying that the noise should be felt as well as heard. If this is hard to imagine, this video should clear things up slightly.
As you can see, this technique also involves a strange hand position, in which the fingers are used to close off the ears and eyes, while partially closing off the nose. This is intended to create a feeling of separation from the outside world. Methods like this are usually described under the heading of sensory deprivation exercises.
Origins And Uses
HBB is thought to increase mental clarity and focus, making it easier to set the mind on a single task and see it through to the end. At the same time, it is thought to promote relaxation and stress relief. Hindu teachers will sometimes prescribe this technique for those suffering from insomnia. As you may have guessed, this meditation technique comes from the Hindu religion. However, you certainly do not need to become a Hindu to make use of this time-proven technique. Most of the time, HBB is taught in the context of a Yoga class.
Proven Humming Bee Breath Benefits
It is also believed that this meditation technique can be used for the treatment of sinus and thyroid problems. When we look at modern science for confirmation, we see that this meditative technique has been studied more than we would have expected.
For instance, this study found that HBB increased blood flow to the sinuses, which would certainly be conducive to the overall health of that area. It works through a complex chain reaction. First, the breathing pattern raises blood pressure slightly. This results in stronger blood flow to the nasal receptors, which inhibits the nerves that constrict the sinuses and nasal passages. The result is that the sinuses are opened and easier breathing is obtained.
As for the treatment ofthyroid issues, there is even more proof for the effectiveness of HBB. For instance, these researchers found that patients who did this technique daily experienced a significant reduction in thyroid problems as a result. Although HBB did not affect all of the symptoms, it was definitely helpful. If you want more confirmation, here is a study that recommended Yoga (and HBB in particular) as a supplemental treatment for hyperthyroidism.
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How To Do It:
Start by sitting in a kneeling position. Your knees should be touching the ground, and you should be sitting on your ankles. The tops of the feet should be flat against the floor. This position is called Seiza in Japan, and is considered to be the proper way of sitting. In Yoga, this position is called Vajrasana.
With your elbows raised to about shoulder-height, put your hands on your face in the manner described above. This hand position is called Shanmukhi Mudra, and is performed as such. Be sure not to close off the nostrils too tightly, as this will restrict breathing. You are trying to control the flow of air, not stop it entirely.
Now inhale for a count of six, and then begin a long, drawn-out exhalation. Make the exhalation last as long as possible, and make sure that you produce the buzzing noise that is typical of HBB. Once you have run out of oxygen, inhale again, and repeat the process. It is recommended to do this exercise either three or nine times, depending on how much time you have and how advanced you are.
As you breathe, focus only on the sound. Do not think about the affairs of life or anything else that might cause stress and distraction. Try your best to empty the mind and focus only on the buzzing sound. As you do this, you should experience a change in your mental state. Some people call it a trance, but it’s probably not that simple.
When you are ready to stop, don’t try to come out of this “trance state” too quickly. Returning to normal consciousness too quickly won’t cause any serious problems, but it can be very jarring and lead to several minutes of dizziness and dysphoria. Instead, start moving your body slowly, taking your hands away from your face and using small twitchy movements to get your body used to the physical world once again.
Studies On Sensory Deprivation
In western science, this kind of technique might be referred to as “sensory deprivation,” so let’s look at some research on that subject. Right away, we can see that this method has been found to have some beneficial effects in the treatment of mental disorders.
It should be noted that sensory deprivation can cause some serious problems if taken too far. Subjects locked in a sensory deprivation tank for excessively long periods have been known to go insane, and that’s not an exaggeration. If taken too far, sensory deprivation goes from therapy to torture, and it has been used for such purposes by many groups including the Central Intelligence Agency.
Some people might be quick to dismiss things like meditation, astral bodies, and other matters that sit on the fence between science and mysticism. This is perfectly alright, as these types of meditation techniques are not suited for everyone. That being said, we would recommend that you try this technique at least once.
If nothing else, you should try HBB so that you can see if you find it to be helpful. If it does nothing for you, discard it. However, those of you who press forward may find the benefits to be well worth the trouble. Please follow us on Facebook if you would like to learn more.