Sound & Immunity Part IV: Breath, Intention and Resonance
This series of blogs has been on how to enhance our immunological system. In particular, I have focused on conscious humming as an activity to assist with this. There is so much more to write, but for the moment, I’m simply going to delve a little deeper into the world of humming for those of you who have been reading the past 3 blogs and are perhaps intrigued by humming. In the last blog, I suggested 10 steps that were useful suggestions for facilitating Conscious Humming.
I’m going to add a few more very specific aspects of Conscious Humming that are more advanced. When I use the term Conscious Humming, I referring to the activity of really focusing our consciousness on the activity of humming. This involves deep breathing, focused intention, (concentration and awareness) as well as resonance. Each of these subjects deserve book length chapters and indeed, they receive this in THE HUMMING EFFECT. For brevity, I’m going to attempt to deal with each of these topics in a brief, but concise (and I trust, hopefully helpful manner) in this blog—mostly with thoughts and phrases. I cannot encourage your enough to read the book. But in the interim.
Deep breathing is really important in humming. Breath is sound. Breath is life. Diaphragmatic breathing means breathing into your diaphragm in a slow and deep manner. It is whole body breathing and incorporates taking deep and complete breaths into your body. This activity alone is enough to be truly therapeutic. In India, Pranayama is the study of life energy through breathing. For your personal health and development, learn to do diaphragmatic breathing. It is really mandatory. There are numerous books and video on the subject. Just the simple act of breathing in a slow and deep manner will have powerful physiological effects including lowering heart rate and respiration as well as helping oxygenate your cells. There are many other beneficial effects. Deep breathing is a key ingredient in reducing stress.
Intention is the energy behind the sound we create. When we make sound, our consciousness can be projected upon the sound. Many years ago, I created the formula: “Frequency + Intent = Healing”. This means that the sound we make as well as the intention we encode upon the sound are equally important. (note: when using the word “Intent”, you can also substitute visualization. Another formula I work with which is nearly the same is: “Vocalization + Visualization = Manifestation.” Ultimately, I think that intent, visualization and belief are very similar). First postulated in my book HEALING SOUNDS, this concept of adding visualization or intent to whatever sound being made is actually at the basis of most sacred and magical traditions that work with sound.
As you practice your humming activity, begin to experiment with encoding different intentions upon the sound. Do you want the sound to resonate a particular part of your body? Before you actually begin making any sound, take a few deep breaths to determine what your intention is. Then, encode it onto the sound. If you want the hum to be resonating your brain, focus this intention on the sound. If you want the hum to be resonating your throat area or chest area, project this intention onto the sound. Check yourself out during and after you’ve hummed with this intention to determine if it has been effective. I’ve found that you can make the same sound with different intention and have very different effects. And you can also change the pitch when doing this. It depends on what works for you.
Resonance is the frequency or pitch of the sound and how it vibrates with you. Changing your pitch will also affect where the sound is vibrating in your body. Deeper sounds will often naturally vibrate lower in your body than higher pitched sounds. Just a slight variance of the pitch can truly affect the resonance of the sound. We all seem to have slightly different pitches. Experiment with the pitch and determine what resonates best with you. When pitch is coupled with intention, these two variables can make all the difference in how the sound—in particular, the hum—affects you.
Remember to keep your lips closed when you hum. If you open your mouth, some of the sound energy will escape through your mouth and is lost. Therefore, in order to potentiate maximum resonance, keep your lips closed.
For a more nasal hum—to resonate the sinus cavity, try making a nasalized humming sound—a HNNN. If you change this to a HMMM, you will probably feel the hum resonate a bit lower—possibly in your throat or chest. Either is good depending upon which area you want to resonate and as always, what works for you. As an added technique for maximum nasalized resonance, touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, just behind your front teeth. Try this for yourself, keeping your tongue down and then touching the roof of your mouth with your tongue and note the difference.
When you add all these ingredients together—breath, intention and resonance, you will find some truly amazing experiences through sound.
Remember, the more your practice the activity of humming, the greater and more profound your experience of humming will be. I’d like to suggest that you take at least ten minutes a day (five minutes to hum and then five minutes to be in silence) to begin to initiate your journey into humming.
Please review the previous 3 blogs. There’s a lot of good information in there. I have only skimmed the surface of all the aspects of humming. The more you discover, the more amazed you will be. For the time being, if you want to resonate your nasal cavity to produce Nitric Oxide or Melatonin—focus on the frequency and intention for that to occur. If you want to experience deep relaxation and stress reduction, you might experiment with different intention of resonance and consciousness.
I trust this blog has been helpful for assisting your Conscious Humming activity. During the challenging times we are currently encountering, it’s more important than ever to begin the practice of Conscious Humming. Learning Conscious Humming can be a beneficial lifetime practice. I know it has become that for me.
Next blog, we’ll look at the importance of the vagus nerve with regard to our health and sound.