Pranayama is an ancient Sanskrit word that means breath control or extension of the prana (lifeforce). It is the fourth limb of Raja yoga. I first came in contact with this powerful technique in a Yoga class, with one of the most common pranayama practices, nadi shodhana.
Since I learned more about the different pranayama techniques at my Yoga teacher training with Hale Pule, I’ve made it a priority to start my day with a short series of breathing exercises. It helps me quiet my mind and center myself before meditation. With a calm mind and clear intentions, I can then start my day the way I choose to.
One of my absolute favorites is the bhramari, or bumblebee. It’s simple and you can do it at home. Try it before your asana practice or meditation and pay close attention to how it affects your mind. It fascinates me every time!
This is how to practice bhramari:
- Find a comfortable position sitting on the floor or in a chair.
- Place your index fingers over your eyebrows. Then your middle finger and ring fingers over your eyes. Put your thumbs go into your ear canals so you can’t hear anything but your own voice.
- Relax your shoulders down.
- Breath in and then breath out on a long “hmmmm,” like a bumblebee.
- Repeat two more times, so in total the practice is done three times.
- Afterward, let your hands rest on your knees or in your lap. Be aware of your mind’s activity and notice how you feel.
I also demonstrate bhramari at the start of my video.