Bee Breath Meditation
Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun (1755–1842) had achieved great success as Queen Marie Antoinette’s favorite painter when the French Revolution broke out and changed her life’s course. She and her daughter fled France in 1789 with very little money and almost no experience traveling outside of their country. Despite these challenges, Vigée-LeBrun rebuilt her career and went on to paint the nobility of Europe and Russia. She painted this striking portrait of Theresia, Countess Kinsky in Vienna in 1793, four years into her exile. The Countess Kinsky was herself the victim of an ill-fated arranged marriage, but in this portrait we see a woman who, like Vigée-LeBrun, is self-possessed in spite of her circumstances.
Consider the trials both Vigée-LeBrun and Countess Kinsky experienced and overcame. Then take a moment to consider any challenges that you are facing. Bring a sense of calm to your mind using the practice of bhramari pranayama (Sanskrit for "bee breath").
- Sit comfortably, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
- Place your index fingers over each earhole and gently press down on your tragi, the little flaps of cartilage of each ear.
- Inhale and with lips lightly sealed, exhale and make a humming sound like a bee, "mmmm."
- Inhale and exhale "mmmm."
- Repeat a few more times until you feel a sense of calm.
*As an extension to this meditation, pair this with an Ocean Breath meditation.