Brahmari Pranayama

Brahmari Pranayama = humming bee breath.
My first encounter with this Pranayama – We were told to sit in a comfortable position, close our eyes and relax. With lips gently close we inhale and upon exhalation we make a steady soft humming sound that goes.. “mmmmmm”. Inhale, “mmmmmmm”. Exhale, “mmmmmmm”….
My instructor told us that this is a good technique to have a sweet voice as it massages our voice box.  Class sounds funny because you get to hear pitches of high and low, cracking sounds which includes my own. At one point, i could even hear myself croak. The next day, i thought i sounded better. My voice box was not as frictional.  Psychological? I wonder. I treasure this technique though. The physical, psychological and mental effects work well for me.
A little sidetrack. Many years ago, i used to sing. For competitions and performances to earn some money to support myself through studies in University. I love to sing. Even though, I’ve always had sinus problems which affects me seriously on and off, they seem minute as they only visited me in the mornings. During my final year, i developed a serious sinus problem known as paranasal sinusitis. I was given 2 options.
1) To go for an operation to open more air passage for breathing
2) To be on nasal spray for long term. Usage – 3 times a day or up to 6 times if my sinuses was bad.
I chose the latter. After a few months, my sinusitis gets better, but i could not sing anymore. When i consulted an ENT specialist, he told me the nasal spray which contained steroids had numb my voice box. My last performance ended up with me cracking on a high note. I never sing again.
Brahmari was a whole new experience for me. Apart from the fact that it could pose as a recovery road for my already numbed voicebox, it has such calming effects. Initially, i tend to focus on my voicebox to stop myself from croaking. Subsequently as my breath gets smoother, my humming steadied. The humming caused vibration at the centre of the skull and it brought my awareness inwards to where the centre of vibration is. Gradually, i feel that my mind was no longer wandering. I feel at ease and it was as though i was able to see myself practicing this Pranayama. I felt tingling sensation flowing through my whole body right to my fingertips and toes and gradually flow back. I did not try to discover why i felt that way. All i know is that after each practice session which last about 20 -30 mins, i feel so relax that i want to sleep. Thus i usually practice at night before bedtime. It helps to get rid of dreams and interrupted sleep.
Long term practice of this Pranayama promotes a deep connection with the flow of Prana within your body. It also helps to alleviate insomnia,promotes concentration and boost memory, strengthen the voicebox and improves the quality of your voice. I feel the effect of this powerful and yet subtle Pranayama both inwards and outwards.