Bumblebee Breath (also known as Sounding Breath, Humming Breath, or Ommm!) involves an extended exhale which is especially effective at calming the parasympathetic nervous system. Producing a sound while closing the eyes and blocking the ears makes it easier for young children to bring their focus inward. And this particular breath is perfect for times when practicing 'Omm' is not appropriate or when you and you students simply want to try experimenting with other sounds.
Doing Bumblebee Breath in the progressive stages below introduces children to the importance of the senses and the idea that sometimes closing off our senses and finding a ‘quiet place’ can help to calm, soothe and focus – not to mention it feels really good! That is often a novel concept for a child, especially in this era of overwhelming buzzy-ness. I have also found using this progression keeps even the most active children engaged and involved in the process. These same children are the ones who look at me in awe after step 3 and say, "Wow, can we do that again?!". Try it with your children or students and let me know your experience!
1) Begin in Sitting Mountain Pose with a tall, straight spine. Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose before exhaling out to “Hummmmmm,” as long as possible.
2) Try it again, but this time with your eyes closed. Focus on the humming sound. Notice the vibration created in your lips.
3) Try the same breath again with eyes closed and ears blocked with your hands. Notice your focus go inward where there is peace and calm. Repeat this breath several times. Discuss your experience.
Here’s an idea!
Sound it out. Try breathing out other sounds such as ‘Zzzzzz’ or ‘Ohhhhh’ and ‘Shhhhh.’
Focus on the Sound. Instead of taking a mini vacation, try focusing on the humming sound. As you notice your thoughts drift off, try and bring your focus back to the sound of the hum. How was this a different experience than taking a mini vacation? Where did you ‘go’?
Remember to ask your child or students about their experience while practicing Bumblebee Breath. Helping children to tie-in what they've learned, whether it's a breath, physical pose or piece of yogic wisdom, to their experience in mind and body, will empower and inspire them over time to make yoga a part of their life.