Bhramari happens to be one of the best centering techniques. It's almost effortless and nearly immediately pleasurable.
I don't know about you, but I want the juicy goodness of yoga and I need the fluff defined. If someone starts talking about being one with the Universe and grounding and centering and they don't clearly define what they mean by that you can be sure I stop listening to them as a possible source for knowledge. I know that sounds harsh, but if we're going to learn about and practice these things we must establish a stable foundation. We must say what we mean and mean what we say and know what the hell we're talking about. I'm going to assume you're like me in this regard so I will be as specific as possible, clearly defining what it means to be grounded and what it means to be centered.
To be grounded is to be connected with the Earth and the world around you, to feel your feet on the ground and to occupy your place in the order of things. No more and no less. We don't want to take up too much space physically or energetically. Neither do we want to make ourselves too small or invisible.
Speaking of making ourselves small, I've noticed when teaching the bee breath that many times students' voices sound weak and timid. This can mean a couple things but mostly it presents as an outward manifestation of not taking up enough space or being afraid one's voice. Brahmari puts us in touch with the power within us to take up just the right amount of space to fulfill our life's purpose. In the ancient texts this is referred to as "dispelling all fear."
To be centered is to be in your body. So what the heck is that, right? Again, because we're in a mind-oriented vata-derranged culture we live in our heads and minds mostly. As a society we are always going, doing, thinking, and moving. Our society has also had thousands of years of body shaming, of being told our bodies are dirty, unclean, and the like. And for these reasons it's easy for many of us to be disconnected from our physical body. Some of us have internalized this so completely we don't even know we've done this to ourselves.
I should be very clear about another thing too: the practice of yoga is one of embodiment, which is to say, we're deepening our states of consciousness through the body. As in, get in your body dammit! Samadhi happens with the body as an ally, you don't get to leave it behind. In fact, it would be impossible to reach samadhi without your precious physical body. Not everyone gets a body so we need to practice cultivating honor and gratitude for our physicality. This is a great start for some of us. And for some of us, it will take healing from our various traumas to be able to fully get into our bodies. I could say more about this but that's not the topic of this post so I'll leave it there for now.
Let's get onto the bee breath shall we?
Sit comfortably with your hips higher than your knees. This allows you the ability to take a full deep breath- necessary for relaxation. Next, plug your ears with your middle fingers and tuck your chin slightly. Make sure your elbows are pointing down, your shoulders are relaxed, and your arms are mostly relaxed.
On your inhale do ujjayi breath and on your exhale make a humming sound.
And that's it. It's very simple and straightforward.
I recommend doing at least 24 breaths like this.
Almost immediately you'll feel your sinuses clear. You'll feel reverb and a lot of vibration throughout your skull too. I like to say, the first 12 breaths are the warm up breaths. The second set of 12 gives you the yummy grounded and centering goodness. And if you have time why not do another set of 12?
You may notice that you have to actually be with yourself during this practice. If you're unaccustomed to being with yourself and you get a little freaked out don't worry. Keep going. To be fully embodied you need to push through (tenderly of course) your resistance to being in your body. Maybe start with a daily 5 breaths of brahmari. Once that becomes doable increase it slowly.
It's easy to write down and talk about right? But what happens when something comes up? Something unpleasant and not airy-fairy peaceful and lovey. This is when it becomes absolutely necessary for distinct definitions of things and clear understanding of the process you're embarking upon.
Something like fear, or a cry session you hadn't anticipated can come up and if you're doing good work these things should come up. This is actually a good thing. It means you're doing the work you need to do to eventually be able to be your true self. We do not need to add anything to ourselves to make us better or more yogic. All we need to do is let fall away the stuff that's not really us and what we discover is that there's a wellspring within of joy and beauty. No one can give this to you and once you find it for yourself it's yours, you own it, and no one can ever take it away.
Brahmari aides us in letting go of the stuff that's holding us back from finding our true strength and power within. If you hit a wall, that's okay, just keep going. Slowly and slowly, as they say.
Please let me know if you have any questions about this.