What do you know about the power of the hum? Yep, that sound we all make where the breath makes a sound as it leaves our body without us opening our mouths. Have you given it much thought before? Read on to learn about how valuable it can be.
What is humming?
You might know humming as Bhramari (bee breath) in yoga. Or, if you’ve never explored yoga, it might just be that thing you do when you’re not sure of the words to the song you’re listening to. It can be a powerful aid to meditation, or simply a jolly thing to do when you’re feeling happy. It can be a particular tune, a simple tone, or with more vibration like a bee. After you’ve read about the power of the hum, you might just want to include it in your life in a more purposeful way.
What is the power of the hum?
It’s very well documented that humming can have lots of health benefits. Here are a few;
- It can help slow down sympathetic nervous system activation and help to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This means that it can help us feel relaxed with calming brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin whilst helping to slow down brain chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol. Over time, this can have a big impact on how our bodies operate at even the basic level such as digestion and reproduction.
- It can help lower our blood pressure and decrease our heart rate.
- It can create vibrations which activate the vagus nerve which helps our rest, digest and restore functions
- Can often act as a way of managing anxiety, fear and perceptions of loss of control.
- Making the sound of ‘om‘ can be particularly effective (said to be the sound of the universe at the time of creation)
- Using the ‘bee breath’ Bhramari can be a great place to start if you don’t have time to meditate today.
Demonstrating the power of the hum.
This is particularly for you if you are around horses or ride. But, don’t be put off as it’s just as effective with any other animals including people! This is how I used the power of the hum.
Some of you will know that my horse, Snoop, can be a bit sharp when the mood takes him. He’s super affectionate and sweet, but sometimes other things are just a little bit more exciting than me. It can be tricky to redirect his attention back to me. This is whether I’m leading him to and from the field, working him in-hand, or riding. But, I’ve discovered humming!
This might not be new for you – I’ve long advocated singing with clients whilst they’re riding as it makes sure we keep our breath coming evenly. It can help to manage the horse’s pace and can have many of the benefits of humming (including distracting ourselves). This morning, we ventured out for a ride around the hay fields (don’t you just love this time of year when the fields become more accessible to walkers and riders alike?).
I could tell that this was very exciting for him. His posture, and short intakes of breath told me that he wasn’t really on-side and couldn’t wait to get ‘out there’ with little or no input from me.
What would you have done?
So, I began humming. No idea what the tune was, but I did it loud and long, making sure I emptied my lungs each time before taking the next breath. This allowed me to ride with a looser rein and activate all the benefits above. And whilst I was making a sound behind his ears, he had something very physical to tune in to rather than the imagined gremlins in the fence, grass, trees etc.
Imagine my delight when I heard and felt him take a huge breath in, drop his head and relax his ears. It meant that he had released some of his stress and that I had reentered his world. This allowed me to be more influential in terms of where we went and how fast (always a bonus I feel!!)
We had a lovely ride, tho I was conscious that I had to reinstate the humming at several places as I could feel him getting tense again. And, it really helped me breath deeply, relax and look around me, rather than staring intently at his ears. (you’ll know what I mean if you ride – never worked out why we do it, but it’s a common practice!!)
What are your stories about the power of the hum?
This can be super effective when around any animals (including people). I’ve seen so many examples where dogs have shown softness and relaxation when their person is humming And it’s a brilliant way of casually lowering stress levels when around young people. If nothing else, they’ll laugh which has its own benefits (the subject of another article??)
You must have your own stories of the power of the hum. Whether you’re a yogi or yogini, hum along to all those songs you’ve forgotten the words to. Maybe you simply hum as you go through your day; what have you noticed? If you’ve not noticed it yet, pay attention over the next few days. Where can you purposefully build in some humming to watch the effect? Whilst walking your dog, taking your children to school or simply taking five minutes out of your day. What’s the impact on you and the other animals around you?
As always, comment below to share your experiences with other. Look forward to hearing from you.