Om & Bhramari Practice History
The practice of repeating the monosyllabic sound of Om on one exhalation is noted in ancient texts over 2,000 years ago. In addition to the prolonged exhalation value as noted in our previous blog: The Power of Exhalation it introduces a vibration due to the sound of Om across the pharynx, nasal, and sinus regions.
Bhramari is a later developed hathayoga practice, documented almost 700 years ago in hathayoga’s classic text, the Hahthapradipika, but has most likely been practiced longer than that. It imitates the sound of the black bee which lends it its name in Sanskrit. This is also a humming type of breath but more isolated to the region of the soft palate in the naso-pharyngeal space. You can find this space by turning your tongue back and seeing the point you can touch with your tongue. Or, if adventurous, open your mouth, put one finger directly in and back and it should touch the back end of the soft palate. Bhramari’s vibration happens just beyond that on the pharynx’s muscular wall. When sitting silently with soft breath it is also the first space you feel the touch of the breath inside after having entered the nostrils. Or open anatomy book, or online, and look for this “naso-pharyngeal” region.