Find a comfortable seated position, close your eyes, take a deep inhale through the nose, then as you begin to exhale make a sound – begin to hummmmm, letting the hum sound through your nose. Take your time, making the exhale, and the hum, as long as you comfortably can.
Repeat this for 1 – 3 minutes, every day.
You will feel the vibrations of the sound in your throat and chest. You may even begin to notice the vibrations in the back of your head and neck and further still, throughout your body.
It may seem strange to hum out loud, especially if you are not used to doing so. But I encourage you to give it a go. Practice at home when no one is listening.
So, what’s the big deal with humming?
Consciously humming serves a few very important functions in yoga therapy and this information is also backed by science:
- Using “brahmari” (or bumble bee breath) can help prepare us for meditation, and create a sense of stillness in the busy mind
- Humming aids the nasal passages by improving airflow and helps keep sinuses healthy
- Humming produces nitric oxide which helps reduce inflammation and pain
- Nitric oxide is a neurotransmitter essential for general wellbeing and health
- Brain scans show that when we chant OM (which has a long hum at the end) the areas of the brain that are active when we are depressed significantly reduced in activity
- Researchers believe that humming (or chanting OM) stimulates the vagus nerve which sends signals to the brain, dampening feelings of depression, anxiety and stress, increasing feelings of calm and balanced emotions
- Humming reduces stress and blood pressure, and increases melatonin production
- Humming releases feel good endorphins and helps to create new pathways in the brain.
Other interesting facts about humming
I have also found that humming during asana practice can help to release emotional and mental blocks. I do not know if there is any science to back this. But my personal experience tells me that when I hum while moving through the physical postures of yoga that I have been able to remove mental blocks and let go of emotional patterns that I had previously long held on to.
I will be sharing the benefits of humming during the “DHARMA – Find Your Purpose” workshops in January, as humming has played a significant role in allowing me to release the past and move forward to serve in my purpose.
Interestingly, HUM is also the sound of Vishuddha – the Throat chakra.