Bhramari Pranayama, or “Humming Bee Breath” is a yoga breath exercise that contributes to relaxing the mind and body. Like other yogic benefits, this breathing technique is associated with lowering your blood pressure, regulating your heart rate, inducing sound sleep, and boosting your immune system. A yoga student who adds Pranayama to their practice creates an overall healthier and more resilient body and mind.
When examined more closely, this Bee Breath technique has positive affects on your lungs and cardiovascular system. In general, focused and concentrated breathing exercises, as practiced in Bhramari Pranayama, can improve lung capacity and elevate your Nitric Oxide levels. Let’s take a closer look to understand how this is all connected to Covid-19.
What is Covid-19
In the wake of the novel coronavirus that we know as Covid-19, many individuals around the world have been tremendously affected. Although we are more than 6 months into this global pandemic, it is still in its infancy; much still needs to be learned about this virus, but researchers are learning more about this virus every day. Some that have been infected by the virus experience a high fever, a dry cough, a sore throat, and other symptoms. The virus, in short, travels to the lungs and causes acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and blood coagulation (thickening). The body’s immune system is weakened and cannot fully fight off the infection. In ARDS, the tiny air pockets that carry oxygen to the blood stream to remove carbon dioxide fill with fluid. This significantly decreases the lungs’ ability to send other vital organs essential oxygen which may lead to death.
Unfortunately, many lives have been lost and families devastated by Covid. Thankfully, highly trained nurses, doctors, and their assistants are doing their best to treat the infected. With hospitalizations on the rise, equipment such as ventilators and other Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) have been in high demand. Ventilators basically pump air; they assist patients when they cannot breathe on their own. They have been an integral part of the treatment and recovery of many Covid patients.
How is Nitric Oxide Related to Covid-19
During the 2004 outbreak of SARS, Nitric Oxide helped reverse pulmonary hypertension. What does that mean? Nitric Oxide, also known as NO, is a gaseous molecule generated by your arteries in all the organs regulating cardiovascular function. NO causes the smooth muscle cells to relax thereby resulting in widening the arteries. This is congruent with more effective breathing, blood flow to and from your heart, and an overall improvement in lung capacity. When administered during this 2004 pandemic, it shortened ICU stays and decreased ventilator support.
SARS was also a coronavirus and has similarities to the current Covid-19 virus. In addition to effective therapeutics, ventilators, and administering Nitric Oxide, patients stand a good chance of surviving the viral infection.
So, What About Humming
Not only can NO be administered as a therapeutic treatment in a hospital, but you can also produce it naturally on your own. Some studies have shown that simple humming increases Nitric Oxide in your own body. Yes, humming, like a buzzing bee. So, now we know that this coronavirus causes respiratory distress. Nitric Oxide, when used in treatment, relaxes smooth muscle cells in the lungs to improve breathing. And now that we know humming may increase NO levels in the body, doesn’t it make sense that you should practice Humming Bee Breath to help relieve some of the symptoms of Covid-19? More research certainly needs to be done in this area, but it is worth the time and effort to discover more ways to treat this coronavirus.
How to Practice Bhramari Pranayama
Bhramari is actually the name of an Indian bumble bee, hence the name, “Humming Bee Breath.” To practice this pranayama exercise for its calming effects and lung enhancement results, sit up tall in a comfortable seat. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply to relax your mind and body.
Gently plug your ears with your thumbs or index fingers. With your mouth closed, take a full inhale to fill up your lungs. Keeping your mouth closed while you exhale, produce a humming sound. Because your ears are covered, the sound will resonate loudly in your head. This is to generate full awareness of the action while keeping outside distractions at bay. Take a minimum of 10 breaths to experienced the full effect of this practice. When complete, lower your hands to your lap, keep your eyes closed, and notice how you feel. Be calmed by the motion that you have practiced something that could potentially save your life.
Remember to discuss with your Doctor before starting yoga or any new exercise routine.
**Bhramari should not be practiced by menstruating or pregnant women, people with extremely high blood pressure or ear infections, never practice Bhramari laying down**
References and medical research articles