The first time I came across chanting, I felt a little self conscious and embarrassed to join in, but the overriding strong feeling was of calm.
I needed to know why it felt so good, to find an explanation.
Chanting has been practised for thousands of years by almost every culture in the world. It's only now that its physiological and psychological benefits are being accepted more widely in the West.
Studies have found that chanting can lower stress levels, anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as increase positive mood, feelings of relaxation and focused attention.
It works by slowing the breath and activating the Vagus nerve (kickstarting the rest/digest response).
Bee breath stimulates the production of NO (Nitric Oxide) in the body, which is a vasodilator, helping you to breathe more easily. Also chanting in a group encourages feelings of social cohesion.
Even more interesting, researchers at hospitals around the world are currently studying whether inhaling Nitric Oxide (through a ventilator) can help treat patients with COVID-19, or even prevent people from getting the disease.
Nitric oxide (NO) a colourless gas (not to be confused with Nitrous Oxide), is a chemical messenger which the body produces by itself. High levels of NO dilate blood vessels, increasing blood flow, helping the person to breathe easier, and is widely used to treat patients with respiratory failure.
There's some evidence that inhaled Nitric Oxide also has anti-viral properties.
Bee breath has many benefits and huge therapeutic potential. It is being widely used at the moment due to its known ability to increase NO in the body (helping people to breathe easier due to vasodilation of the blood vessels).
Lengthening the exhalation relative to the inhalation also activates the calming parasympathetic branch of the ANS (Autonomic Nervous System). For those who suffer from anxiety or depression, the practice can begin to quiet the mind within a few breaths. The noise of bhramari’s buzzing can drown out the mental chatter making it a great starting point for those whose minds are too “busy” to meditate.
How to do it:
Find a comfortable seated position. Rest your hands down on your lap and allow you eyes to close. Take a breath or two to settle in and notice how you feel.
Keep your facial muscles loose, your lips lightly touching, and your jaw relaxed.
When you’re ready, inhale and then, for the entire length of your exhalation, make a low to medium pitched humming sound in your throat. Inhale and repeat. Try for five rounds of breath and then, keeping your eyes closed, return to your normal breathing.
Enjoy the benefits for yourself! 🙏