The previous post we had discussed on “What is a Mudra?” and 5 common types of Mudra. This post we shall see the Mudras for Pranayama.
Nasikagra or Nasagra-Mudra (Nose-Tip Mudra)
This mudra is used to control the flow of the breath in one or the other of the two nostrils. The right hand is used for this purpose. When one does alternate nostril breathing in a kind of pranayama such as nadi-shodhana, the nasikagra-mudra only should be practiced. In pranayamas in which the control of the nostrils is not necessary, the other mudras can be used, depending upon the necessity and suitability.
The Technique: Place the tip of the right thumb by the side (the soft part) of the right nostril and tips of the right little and ring fingers by the side of the left nostril. Only the tip of the right ring finger may be placed on the left nostril, with the right little finger remaining idle by the side. Maintain the right index and middle fingers in an erect position so that their tips are close to the eyebrow center.
Both these fingers should be relaxed. The right nostril is closed by pressing the right thumb and opened by releasing the pressure. Similarly, the left nostril is closed by pressing the tips of the right little and ring fingers and opened by releasing the pressure. Exert just enough pressure on the sides of the nostrils so that the nasal septum dividing the two nostrils is not distorted to one or the other side. Keep the right arm out of contact with the chest, the right elbow pointing downwards and the arms and shoulders relaxed.
This mudra is practiced while sitting in any of the meditational asanas. Both the hands are used. The tips of the index finger and thumb of each hand touch each other. The index finger and the thumb may make a circle, or they may form an acute angle. The hands are placed on the respective knees, with the palms facing upwards. The other three fingers should be straight, but relaxed. In a variation of the chin-mudra, the tip of the index finger is placed at the root of the thumb.
Chinmaya-Mudra (Psychic Gesture of Pervading Consciousness)
Fold the index finger to touch the tip of the thumb. Fold the other three fingers so that their tips touch the palm or point towards the palm. Place the hands on their respective knees with the palms facing either upwards or downwards.
Adi-Mudra (Primal Gesture)
Fold the thumb into the palm of each hand. Then make a fist of each hand by curling the fingers over the respective thumb. Place each hand on the respective knee with the palm facing either upwards or downwards.
Brahma-Mudra (Psychic Gesture of All-Pervading Consciousness)
Turn the thumb of each hand inwards across the palm. Fold the fingers over the respective thumb. Bring the knuckles (the knuckles adjoining the palms, the proximal phalanges) of the fingers to be juxtaposed and place the hands on the lap at the level of the pelvic bone, with the dorsal sides facing downwards and the clasped ventral sides facing upwards.
The little fingers should be close to the body and the inserted thumbs away from the body. Keep the fingernails visible by the contact of the finger tips with the rear parts of the palms rather than the middle depression.
Bhairava and Bhariavi-Mudra
Khechari or Nabho-Mudra (Tongue Lock)
The word khechari literally means ‘roaming through space’. Sit in any meditational asana. Roll the tongue back. In this rolling process, the lower surface of the tongue touches the upper palate. Close the mouth.
Without straining, try to bring the tongue tip backward and upwards as far as possible to touch the roof of the pharynx.
Perform this mudra as long as you feel comfortable. You may feel discomfort after a short time. In that case, relax the tongue for a few seconds and then repeat the mudra.
Precaution: Khechari-mudra should not be practiced in lying down position.
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