Dhyan is a process where you focus. You focus on your breathing, your mantra and the third eye chakra. The more steadfast you are, the more deeply you concentrate, the more fulfilling your Dhyan will be. In the post on how to do Dhyan (do read it) I have mentioned five Mudra or Bandh. Mudra means to ‘seal’. You use the energy of the yogic posture to seal the energies of your body in a particular way. Bandh means to ‘bind’, essentially it also means to bind the energies your body in a particular way so that you can use the body/tool better. These are,
- Maha Mudra
- Jalandhar Mudra
- Yoni Mudra
- Khechari Mudra
- Mool Bandh
This is an extremely important Mudra. When you bend down your lungs retain the inhaled air, this is the state of Antah Kumbhak. This is all that you will be doing initially. Breathing in, focussing on your third eye, bending down and reciting Om mentally 12 times. You will not be aware of what happens internally initially.
Later you might see bursts of color and other things.
By doing this Mudra all the naadi, major/minor, in the body are made to open. If there are any obstructions in any naadi, they are shaken and unblocked. Pran can flow freely in all the naadi further removing the subtle blockages. The body’s life-span in years increases. Deterioration of the body is checked. The Agni in the body, i.e. all forms of fire or the energes of conversion, are increased. The organs of senses and actions are checked and the ability to focus is enhanced. The flow of pran is enhanced towards the head, i.e. through the Sushumna. The Ajnya chakra is powered on and the other chakras too function smoothly. Even if you are not aware of what is happening inside you, this will happen.
During this Mudra, the apan vayu is brought upwards, the pran is brought downwards and these are linked to the saman vayu at the navel. Initially this happens unconsciously, later you will be aware of this movement and can consciously increase their flows.
Mahamudra can be practiced safely. It will work on the physical levels too, by stretching out the back and enabling you to sit for hours in one posture without tiring your body.
Jalandhar mudra –
I have seen so many ‘modern yoga’ websites giving photos of this mudra with the head literally hanging down on the chest! Doing it is not only silly, but will give you a neck-ache. It is so sad that people are doing things without understanding the energy/pran dynamics involved. You need to experience the energy movement within you first. And it is not ‘yogaaa’, it is Yog, योग, and you are doing a Yog-asan योगासन.
The correct way to do this extremely vital mudra/bandh, is to contract the muscles of the throat area and press the chin inwards. The head slightly moves downwards and backwards. The movement of the head using the neck muscles is in relation to the chest. You will feel a double chin forming at your neck. This young woman in the image is holding her neck perfectly.
When you do the Jalandhar Mudra/Bandh, you are doing two things with your Sushumna.
- The back remains straight, so the Sushumna in the back area is straight. The more straight your body parts are, the naadi in them will remain straight, the movement of pran through them will be better
- You are aligning the hollow at the back of your head with your third eye chakra. So the branch of the Sushumna (read this post, can’t repeat it all again), from the point of bifurcation, the pineal gland and the Ajnya chakra are in one line. This line is parallel to the ground and perpendicular to the lenght of the lower Sushumna.
For a beginner, this much is enough. Practice the Mudra and see what it will reveal about itself.
After the first phase of 108 breaths in Dhyan, you are supposed to do this mudra. In this, first inhale then shut both your ears tight with both your thumbs. Place your little fingers below the lips. Ring fingers above the lips. Close both nostrils with your middle fingers tightly. And press the index fingers to the point slightly above where the inner edge of your eyes meets the nose. Hold the breath for 12-20 counts. You might see darkness, colored clouds, burst of light at your third eye or whatever it is. Observe it maximum to the count of 20 no more. Take away your hands and release the Mudra, exhale. This much is more than enough as a general practice.
For actually doing it in the real sense, you will need a physical Guru sitting in front of you to guide you. It is the most important of all Mudras used in Yog. I have written a post on Yoni mudra earlier but then I felt it was too much information, so then I password protected it. In my opinion, this is the most dangerous mudra in all of Yog, so be very very careful doing it.
In this, you twist your tongue completely and push it upwards behind the nasal passage. You will then be able to access the fluid secreted by your pineal gland (some call it amrut/elixir of immortality). (I will not write more about this here. You will need to find a Guru for yourself who will teach you face-to-face.)
If you cannot do this (99.99% of my readers won’t be able to), you should press your tongue or the tip of the tongue as you feel comfortable firmly against the upper palate. If you can bend your tongue backwards to press against the soft palate it would give better results. This brings in pressure on the pineal in a very subtle way. It also links up with the energy flow entering in the third eye chakra and its movement in the Sushumna naadi. If you cannot bend your tongue back, press it straight up, against the hard palate at least. Make a pointed tip of the tongue and press hard until you feel the pressure inside your nose. Initially you will be able to do this for less than a minute as your tongue muscles will tire. This allows greater focus as the mind cannot entertain random thoughts. Do this throughout your Dhyan or for as much time as you can. Initially your tongue muscles will get tired but they will strengthen over time. If you have your tongue pressing on the palate, is impossible for the mind to wander, try it!
You can try this tongue posture in your daily life too, especially whenever you are stressed out. Pressing the tongue on the upper palate relaxes the body and increases the intake of pran from the Universe.
Mool Bandh –
A variation of this Bandh is actually called ‘Kegel exercise’ in modern medicine! However, when you use this Mool Bandh in Dhyan you are supposed to continuously contract the pelvic floor muscles. Initially you will be able to do it for maybe a few minutes. As you practice, the muscles will strengthen and you will be able to remain in the Mool Bandh for the entire duration of your Dhyan. You will not be able to sense the energy dynamics initially. But in this Bandh, you are changing the flow of apan vayu and bringing it upwards, towards the navel. This increases the vitality of the body and as you start consciously controlling the vayu, you will soon be able to sense its movement too. Then you can do more.
This post is to give a very very basic information on the most important Mudra/Bandh used in Dhyan, for generating interest. Even in their most basic forms these Bandh are very powerful and are used to manipulate the pran movement in your body. These are not just physical exercises. This much is the merest glimpse and more than enough for a beginner.
These are completely described in the Shiv Samhita. Always read the original Sanskrit and not the translations. You cannot hope to get into the technicalities of these things unless you understand Sanskrit and have a proper Guru. Shiv Samhita describes 10 Mudra/Bandha as the best possible, but the other Bandhas cannot be done without a proper Guru and I will not discuss them in general posts. This post is what my Guru taught me, my personal understanding, experience and practice.