Brahmari Pranayama and Serotonin Benefits for Migraineurs


The Brahmari Pranayama – An Effective Technique To Stave Off Migraines (1)

This Pranayama imitates the sound of a humming bee during it’s exhaling phase. It thus channelizes breathing through a vibrating state. The Brahmari Pranayama is the most efffective of all the Pranayamas chalked out for migraineurs.

The Benefits:

  • The brahmari cures post delivery and menstrual migraines through higher serotonin release pre-menstruation,
  • It is extremely useful for Alzheimer patients and those with heart conditions,
  • The Brahmari also balances blood sugar and hormone secretion,
  • It’s practice increases the rate of metabolism and calms the mind,
  • It is proven to improve memory and concentration.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Sit on a mat on an even floor (Preferably in Vajra Asana or Sukha Asana).
  2. Close your glottis partially as you inhale through both nostrils, making a snoring sound.
  3. Exhale slowly emitting the buzzing sound of a humming bee.
  4. Humming while exhaling allows you to spin out your breath and make a longer exhalation.
  5. Repeat the process 5 – 10 times.

Personally, I recommend The Art of Living Foundation’s Basic Course where they teach you how to do the different Pranayama with precision. The Foundation’s chapters have presence in almost all the countries of the world and in all major cities. You may visit their website to to find out the location of their branch in your locality. Another trusted source would be to watch and follow or buy the DVDs of Baba Ramdev. His instructions are articulate and make them easy to follow. Information and YouTube demonstrations of asana and Pranayama are available on his website

Remember, any Pranayama done wrongly has the potential to be dangerous. It is recommended that you learn Pranayama through a qualified Yoga instructor.

As with aerobic exercises, benefits can be enjoyed with consistency. As with homeopathic medications, benefits are more forthcoming with regularity in timing of practice. In addition, as with aerobics and homeopathic programs a sensible diet, lean on fat, moderate on complex carbohydrates, high on high fibre, protein and water, along with a good dose of patience brings sustained results. As with all Pranayamas, they are best done on an empty stomach in the morning or evening.


  1. In Touch Yoga Byron Bay; Web December 2013;,r:53,s:0,i:251&iact=rc&page=3&tbnh=177&tbnw=236&start=45&ndsp=23&tx=91&ty=89

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The Bhastrika Pranayama – A Powerful Tool In the Migraineur’s Kit

The Bhastrika Pranayama is the most powerful of all pranayama techniques and combines the Kapalbhati and Ujjai systems in it. It is specifically prescribed by Ayurveds and Yogis to manage and prevent migraine attacks. The other pranayama that help in treatment, prevention and management of migraines are the Kapalbhati Pranayama, the Anulom Vilom Pranayama and the Brahmari Pranayama.

The best and the safest way to learn pranayamas is under the guidance of a qualified or certified Yoga instructor or a competent Ayurved or Yogi. Pranayamas done wrongly can prove to be very harmful with potentially serious outcomes. I have outlined below, the basics of how the Bhastrika Pranayama can be done. However, it is advisable that you learn the Bhastrika Pranayama in person and under the physical presence of a certified Yoga instructor.

1. Put a mat on an even floor.

2. Sit on it in the Lotus position

File:Tanumânasî en Meditacion Loto Padmasana.JPG

The Lotus position

(SOURCE: Wikipedia Commons:ânasî_en_Meditacion_Loto_Padmasana.JPG)

3. Keep your head, neck and body errect (in a straight line).

4. Close your mouth.

5. Inhale and exhale forcefully and in quick succession or rapidly 10 times. Both inhalation and exhalation should sound like the bellows of the blacksmith.

6. As you breathe in your lungs and abdomen should dilate and contract when you breathe out.

7. The 10 counts count for 1 set. 

8. Pause for 10 seconds after every set is complete. During this state of pause, breathe slowly and fully to the maximum lung capacity; pause for 3-5 seconds and exhale  slowly and completely.

9. Repeat the set 2 more times pausing between the sets.

10. The final expulsion should be followed by a deep inhalation. 

11. Pause after this inhalation for as long as it is comfortable.

12. Exhale slowly and completely.

The Bhastrika Pranayama should be done on an empty stomach with either very light snack or a glass of water half  hour before the session. Like all Pranayamas, the best time to do the Bhastrika is either morning or evening. The Bhastrika should never be done when a migraine attack is underway. 

Besides being a cure for migraines, the Bhastrika increases our BMR, cures asthma, sinus conditions, certain digestive ailments. It claims to purify blood, calms the mind and is proven benefecial in cass of muscular dystrophy and oxygen defeciency disorders. It balances the Vata, Pita and Kapha states of the body.

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Pranayama and Pain

Pranayama is a system of controlled breathing. Each one of us has a breathing pattern, which we evolve over the years, and is very different from what we naturally start out with. Breathing has a natural rhythm when we are infants. As we grow, this may become imbalanced due to the various situations and emotions we experience without our ever knowing it. Bringing the balance back through practicing controlled breathing is what Pranayama is about. Postpartum migraines are greatly helped through Pranayama practice.

Of note are :

·       Bhastrika Pranayama,

·       Anulom-Vilom Pranayama,

·       Kapalbhati Pranayama and

·       the Brahmari Pranayama 

among others that are effective in preventing post-delivery as well as any migraine from striking.

For techniques of each Pranayama, you may read my book, Migraines For The Informed Woman. 

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