Bee’s Breath

Why we love Bhramari Pranayama: As we’re exhaling and creating the droning sound, like that of a bee, we’re also lengthening our exhalations – which in turn activates the parasympathetic nervous system, the side in charge of resting and digesting. Calming, centering, grounding…bee’s breath is just what we need these days!

🐝Bhramari is the Sanskrit word for “bee,” and this pranayama or breath exercise is so named for the humming sound produced – like the gentle low buzz or droning of a bee. We like it best for its ability to drown out an anxious mental loop, and find it incredibly grounding and centering. 

Bhramari Pranayama (Bee’s Breath):

  • Calms and quiets the mind
  • Releases cerebral tension
  • Stimulates the pineal and pituitary glands, supporting their proper functioning
  • Soothes the nerves
  • Relieves stress and anxiety
  • Dissipates anger
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • May have a positive effect on tinnitus
  • Bolsters the health of the throat
  • Strengthens and improves the voice
  • Supports the healing of bodily tissues
  • Induces sound sleep

“The busy bee has no time for sorrow.”

– William Blake

How to Practice Bee’s Breath:

  1. Sit comfortably but upright, with a stable foundation to support you.
  2. Gently close the lips, keeping the teeth slightly apart, and bring the tip of your tongue to the space behind the upper front teeth. (Keep the jaw relaxed throughout your practice.)
  3. This part is optional: You can actually use your thumbs to “close” your ears (for me, not all the way feels better) and then gently cover your eyes with cupped palms. There are other ways to practice with the fingers fanned out, but this is most comfortable for me. It does take the experience a little deeper inward.
  4. To begin, take a deep breath in through the nostrils.
  5. Begin to exhale slowly, making 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. The positioning of the tongue allows the vibration to better resonate throughout the head.
  6. Continue for as many repetitions as you like. After the final exhalation, allow your breath to return to normal and observe any changes that have occurred.
  7. Maybe you can even feel the vibration continue throughout your head and body after you’ve stopped humming!

Practice it in our chair yoga class:

🐝How do you feel after your bee’s breath practice?🐝

Winter Support Herbal Tea

Lately there seem to be a number of family and friends with colds and coughs, and I started to feel a bit under the weather myself. So I got out my books, created some lists, looked in my herb cabinet, and came up with an all-around yummy tea for winter support. This tea contains herbs to boost immune function, soothe sore throats, suppress coughs; and tastes delicious. When steeped long enough, it’s also a beautiful ruby red color.

The herbal tea you get from a store in a tea bag and steep for a couple minutes is fine (and I drink quite a bit of it,) but it’s probably not going to be quite as effective as loose dried herbs sourced responsibly and infused for a longer period of time. Also bulk herbs are much less expensive and don’t have all the packaging. Here are the gifts of the garden I chose for my precious winter blend.

Why I Chose These Herbs:

  • Licorice Root…..soothes sore throats and is a natural sweetener
  • Dried Lemon Peel + Lemongrass leaves…..adds Vitamin C and tart taste
  • Peppermint Leaves…..tastes good and invigorates
  • Echinacea Root…..provides immune support
  • Astragalus Root…..provides immune support
  • Ginger Root…..eases nausea and digestion and adds spice
  • Hibiscus flowers…..adds Vitamin C, tang, and deep red color
  • Wild Cherry Bark…..acts as cough suppressant
  • Dried Rose Hips…..adds Vitamin C and color

After doing my research I love to shop at Penn Herb here in Philly. Some other great online sources for herbs are: Mountain Rose Herbs, Gaia Herbs, Starwest Botanicals, and Frontier Coop. Check out my friend Elvira’s shop: Green Cottage Creek. We used to work together at the New York Botanical Garden many moons ago and she continues to inspire my herbal education!

How to Make a Good Cup of Herbal Tea

  1. Mix your herbs together in a bowl. Enjoy the diversity of appearance.
  2. Boil water in a pot or in a tea kettle.
  3. After it boils, add 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb material directly to your pot or into your tea infuser.
  4. Cover immediately and steep for at least 5 minutes – longer for stronger infusions.
  5. Drink it while it’s hot. (Pouring through a strainer if steeped directly in your pot.) Store the remainder in the fridge and heat up later.

“While there is tea, there is hope.”

Sir Arthur Wing Pinero

There’s nothing more soothing than a hot cup of tea, in my opinion. While I’m no herbal expert, I know what I’ve tried and what seems to work for me. When you blend your own herbal tea, choosing herbs for their various effects and tastes, you have empowered your own self-healing. This simple act of kindness towards oneself (and others, if you’re willing to share) goes a long way! Happy sipping.