Though this practise is called a pranayama, it is really more of a meditational practice. It is not directly related to controlling prana as are other forms of pranayama. The word bhramari means ‘bee’. The practice is so called because a sound is made which imitates the sound of a humming bee. It is a method of harmonizing the mind and directing awareness inwards in preparation for the second stage. The method is as follows: Sit in any of the poses that we have already described, with the ears plugged. It is important to make sure that the ears are firmly closed for best results. If necessary adjust your body to make sure that you are perfectly comfortable. Face forwards and hold the spine as straight as possible. Close the eyes. Relax the whole body. Keep the teeth slightly separated and the mouth closed throughout the entire practice. This allows the vibration to be heard and felt more distinctly in the brain. Breathe in slowly and deeply. Then while breathing out make a humming sound. The humming sound should be smooth and continuous, and should be done for the duration of the exhalation. The humming sound need not be very loud; the important thing is that you hear the sound vibrating within your head. The exhalation should be slow and controlled. At the end of exhalation, stop the humming sound and breathe in. Again repeat the humming with the next exhalation. Continue in this manner for a few minutes. You should be aware of the humming sound and the breathing process throughout the practice. Then proceed to stage 2.