Breath Length Matters: Research Reveals Bhramari's Impact on HRV


Past research has shown that Bhramari breathing (or humming bee’s breath) has multiple positive benefits, including a decrease in heart rate, an increase in attention and sleep quality, an enhancement of autonomic and lung function, and an increase in heart rate variability (HRV).

Heart rate variability is an effective means of measuring heart health and the body’s ability to adapt to stress. A higher HRV generally indicates a well-functioning heart and autonomic nervous system, while a lower HRV is often associated with stress or underlying health issues. 

Until recently, there was a gap in understanding how different lengths of respiration contributed to variations in HRV during bhramari breathwork.

New Research

A recent study published in The International Journal of Yoga explored the effects of four different breath lengths—8, 10, 12, and 14 seconds—on the HRV of 118 participants practicing Bhramari pranayama over a three minute period. The breath lengths were divided into the following inhalation and exhalation ratios:

  • 3-second inhale, 5-second exhale (total of 8 seconds)

  • 4-second inhale, 6-second exhale (total of 10 seconds)

  • 4-second inhale, 8-second exhale (total of 12 seconds)

  • 5-second inhale, 9-second exhale (total of 14 seconds)

The results indicated that maximum HRV during Bhramari pranayama occurred with breath lengths of 12 to 14 seconds. These longer breaths effectively increased several HRV parameters compared to the 8- or 10-second breaths.

“It is a unique finding since most earlier evidence indicates an optimum breathing length of only 10 seconds” the researchers concluded.

Studies like this one may prompt further research into the benefits of humming and how different breath lengths during mantra practices impact HRV.

So What Does This Mean For You?

Properly practicing any type of Bhramari breathing can help you adapt to the daily stresses of living with more agility and tranquility. If you'd like to improve your HRV and ability to manage stress, consider trying the 12-14 second breathing ratio outlined in the study.  In addition to improved heart health, you might also enjoy these benefits:

  • Sleep Better

  • Healthier Lungs

  • Handle Stress Better

  • Stay Focused and Present

As this study demonstrated, it only takes three minutes to start experiencing the benefits of bhramari breathing.Ready to practice? Try this short session with Anisha Chirmule or delve deeper into yogic breathing with our Fundamentals of Pranayama course.

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