Ann Grace Yoga, Breathing Exercises, Yoga, Yoga for Everybody

Hum Your Way to Health with Bee’s Breath

I discovered Bee’s Breath, or Bhramari Pranayama, many moons ago when it was offered as a tool to help reduce my anxiety. Back then, before I began a regular yoga and breathing practice, sometimes “taking a deep breath” or even focusing on the breath at all wasn’t helpful or made things worse. However, in the first few moments of trying Bee’s Breath, my unhelpful mental thought-loop was literally drowned out by the humming sound I was creating, and its vibration immediately grounded me in my body. I started to feel calm right away, and return to this practice again and again for these benefits.

Bhramari is the Sanskrit word for “bee,” so this meditative breath exercise is named for the humming sound produced: like that of a bee, droning in the garden. As we’re exhaling and creating the droning sound, we’re also lengthening our exhalations – which in turn activates the parasympathetic nervous system, the side in charge of “resting, digesting, and healing.”

But wait, there’s more! I recently learned that humming could also improve immunity, by releasing a beneficial gas called Nitric Oxide into the system (NO.) NO is a critical component in the eradication of viruses.

Here’s how it works:  Nasal NO levels increase dramatically during humming compared with normal quiet nasal exhalation. This effect is likely due to increased contribution of NO from the paranasal sinuses. Humming causes the air to oscillate, which in turn seems to increase the exchange of air between the sinuses and the nasal cavity.

However, to receive the full anti-viral and anti-bacterial benefits of NO, we need to inhale through the nose after the humming is finished, to draw the NO back into the respiratory tract via the bronchial passageways. Nitric Oxide is a free, naturally produced, anti-viral, anti-bacterial gas and can be made available at any time!

Bee’s Breath Potential Benefits

•      Calms and quiets the mind
•      Releases Nitric Oxide into the nasal passages, NO is naturally anti-viral and anti-microbial
•      Improves immunity
•      Increases lung capacity
•      Initiates the “Rest, Digest, and Heal Response,” lowering heart rate, blood pressure, and calming nervous system
•      May aid in loosening blockage from the sinuses

Bee’s Breath may also have a positive effect on tinnitus, bolster the health of the throat, and strengthen and improve the voice. Practicing for at least 5 minutes may help you achieve a more meditative state. Try it with me in the video below, and let me know how it goes.

How to Practice Bee’s Breath:

  1. Sit comfortably but upright, with a stable foundation to support you.
  2. You can rest one hand on the heart, another on the belly if you want to really feel the vibration of the hum.
  3. If it’s comfortable you could close your eyes, or gaze softly downwards.
  4. Gently close the lips, and try to keep the jaw relaxed throughout your practice.
  5. To begin, take a deep breath in through the nostrils.
  6. As you slowly exhale with the mouth closed, make a steady, low-pitched ‘hmmm’ sound at the back of the throat—like the humming of a bee. Focus on making the sound soft, smooth, and steady.
  7. When you inhale, be sure to breathe in through the nose, thus distributing the beneficial NO throughout the respiratory system.
  8. Continue for as many repetitions as you like. After the final exhalation, allow your breath to return to normal and observe any effects from your practice.
  9. Maybe you can even feel the vibration continue after you’ve stopped humming!

Let me know how it goes by typing your comments below or on the YouTube video‘s comment section.

Resource Links:

•      Effects of Bhramari Pranayama on health – A systematic review
•      The Effect of Bhramari Pranayama (Bumblebee Breath) on Tinnitus
•      Humming Greatly Increases Nasal Nitric Oxide
•      Nitric oxide and redox mechanisms in the immune response

Ann Grace Yoga, Chair Yoga, Yoga, Yoga for Everybody

Chair Yoga is for Everyone

My very first yoga teaching job – fresh out of my 200-hour teacher training in 2015 – was to “adapt” vinyasa yoga for folks of varying mobility levels living in a senior assisted living facility. One of the most participatory students was my 97-year old grandmother Ellie, who had been really active all her life but had become confined to a wheelchair. I’ll never forget wondering how I would cue the breath to those who might not be able to hear – so I made a sign attached to a paddle: one side said “Breathe In;” the other said “Breathe Out.”

In chair yoga, we move the spine in all directions. We breathe a lot too.

The experience was so much fun, so rewarding, so challenging and so humbling, that I’ve taught Chair Yoga ever since. And I’ve learned so much from the diverse souls seeking and finding freedom in their bodies and minds through this practice. Because…if you have a body, you can do yoga.

If you can breathe, you can do yoga. Yoga is for everybody.

* Chair Yoga is “real” yoga.
* Chair Yoga moves the spine in all directions.
* Chair Yoga can improve your balance.
* Chair Yoga can provide a “good workout.”
* Chair Yoga includes all limbs of yoga!

Join me LIVE ON ZOOM – Tuesdays at 11am ET. Learn calming breathing practices, refreshing stretches, and specific yoga poses adapted for the chair, including some standing poses which are optional. Cap it off with a relaxation practice and tips for how to take your yoga practice into your everyday routine.

“Yoga is not about having a flexible body; it’s about having a flexible mind, and it’s accessible to all of us.” -Jivana Heyman, author of Accessible Yoga (an indispensable book!)

Ann Grace Yoga, Chakras, Grounding, Yoga, Yoga for Everybody

Getting Grounded

The human is a finely tuned instrument capable of receiving and transmitting an enormous variety of energies – but you need to plug it in! Grounding is like plugging yourself in to the Earth.

“As a lightning rod protects a building by sending excess voltages into the ground, grounding protects the body from becoming overloaded by the tensions of everyday life,” according to Anodea Judith in her book Wheels of Life: A User’s Guide to the Chakra System.

Makes sense to me! I use simple grounding exercises every day to help manage the stresses and challenges of daily living.


5 Take Away Tips to Stay Grounded

  1. Stick to a daily routine
  2. Practice setting healthy boundaries
  3. Sit or lie down and take 5 breaths, feeling your earthward connection
  4. Move your body, go out in nature
  5. Work with your feet – oil feet before bedtime

Grounding starts with your feet, which are your earthward antennae, the foundation of your balance and movement. Try these simple toe exercises to keep your toes in good shape!

Finally, a great way to ground is to actually lie down and do a Yoga Nidra, guided relaxation practice. I recorded this Yoga Nidra with Grounding in mind. Enjoy!

Yoga Nidra – Relax the body and free the mind with Yoga Nidra, the art of conscious relaxation. Today’s recording gently encourages grounded stability, and could be wonderfully healing for any root chakra imbalances.

How do you like to ground yourself?