Mudra and Bandh in Dhyan

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,

  1. Maha Mudra
  2. Jalandhar Mudra
  3. Yoni Mudra
  4. Khechari Mudra
  5. Mool Bandh

Mahamudra –

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.

Mudra and Bandh in Dhyan

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.

Mudra and Bandh in Dhyan

When you do the Jalandhar Mudra/Bandh, you are doing two things with your Sushumna.

  1. 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
  2. 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.

Yonimudra – 

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.


Mudra and Bandh in Dhyan

How to do Dhyan

I have written about doing Dhyan as the first step towards self-realization or Moksh. I have put up a small 10min audio on youtube. However it seems that I will have to write a proper post on it detailing the process. So here goes this technical post.

Dhyan is not ‘meditation’ , it manipulates the movement of pran/vital energy in your body, specifically it manipulates the pran and the apan.

There are 2 steps in Dhyan, first is more of a Pranayam phase and the second is the actual Dhyan. Dhyan is a Sanskrit word so has lots of meanings but at the simplest it means focus.

The physical requirements will be

  1. A silent dark room, no sound and no light, pitch dark. In modern cities it may not be possible, so manage the best you can with curtains and closing the windows etc. Do not use ear-plugs or eye masks. You should be alone in the room.
  2. Your asan, this is a four layered mat, have written about it in this post. This asan is the foundation of all your spiritual practice and energy work. As the 4-layered mat may not be available at least use a wool blanket with a piece of silk. It should be about 3ft X 5ft in size. It should be set up facing the east or north east or north.

How to do Dhyan

Your preparation will be to get ready by going to the toilet, having a bath/washing hands, legs, face/sprinkling Ganga-jal on yourself as per what is available. Then wear loose fitting cotton clothes. Men should ideally wear a dhoti and women a sari, but it may be too much. So men can tie a cotton lungi around their waist and women can use a light coloured loose cotton nightie (but then don’t wear this for sleeping!). You should be barelegged, no socks/shoes. Do not eat a heavy meal for about 2hrs before Dhyan else your energies will be engaged in digestion and you will derive limited benefit. A small snack or tea is ok.

lungi.jpg  cotton nightie

  • Now sit on your Asan with all your body parts/dress tucked inside the mat.
  • Fold your legs in the Padmasan or Siddhasan (or if cannot do either then at least Ardhpadmasan). You need to perfect only one of these yogic postures. You are doing Sadhana/spiritual exercise not physical exercise.

How to do Dhyan Padmasan

ardh padmasana Ardhpadmasan

Siddhasana Siddhasan

  • Your hands should either be in the Gnyan mudra or the Bhairav Mudra.

How to do Dhyan Gnyan Mudra

bhairavi-mudra-7456.jpg Bhairav Mudra – right palm on left

  • Now first put your hands in Namaskar position and think of your Guru or favourite deity. Request help and guidance.

How to do Dhyan

  • Recite Om aloud, three or more times as you feel. The sound should come from your belly and resonate inside your body. Drag the ‘mmm’ part of Om.
  • Now stretch your body in the Mahamudra. First stretch out the right leg, fold the left leg inwards, with your left heel touching the joint of your legs and inhale. Bend down in the Mahamudra posture and count to 12. Straighten up and exhale. Then similarly stretch out your left leg, fold in your right leg and inhale, bend down and count to 12, straighten your back and exhale. Repeat this three times for each leg. Remember while doing the Mahamudra, your legs should not stretch outside the mat/asan. Thats why you need a 5ftX3ft asan.

How to do Dhyan

  • Now settle back in your chosen yogasan posture and set your hands in your chosen mudra.
  • (If you can do the Mool Bandh, start doing it now onwards, it is optional but if you can do it, it would help. I have written a detailed post on all the Mudra/Bandha mentioned in this post)
  • Your neck should be very slightly lowered. (The young woman in the Padmansan posture above is doing it perfectly, try to copy her neck angle. This is called the Jalandhar Mudra. There are some sites/images where they show the neck literally drooping, that is incorrect.)
  • Deep breathe a few times, and relax. Remember when you breathe in and out your abdomen should also move not just your chest.
  • Now breathe in, focus your attention on your (greenish colored) Anahnata chakra/energy vertex in the center of your chest, and breathe out in a sharp exhale. This fixes your Dhyan posture in the energy sense.
  • (If you know how to do the Khechari mudra, start doing it now onwards. It is optional, but would help if you can do it.)
  • Now focus your complete attention on the Third eye chakra, Ajnya chakra, in the center of your eyebrows. You will now be focussing your entire concentration here, do not waver from this point.
  • Now breathe in and in your mind recite the sound ‘so’. Breathe out and in your mind recite the sound ‘hum’. This is one set of ‘so-hum‘. This set will be recited in your mind 108 times on 108 breaths.
  • (You can also mentally recite one single ‘Om’ as you breathe in and one single ‘Om’ as your breathe out.)
  • (Or you can mentally recite ‘ham’ as you breathe out and ‘sa’ as you breathe in.
  • (There are just these 3 options Soham, Om or Hamsa, as the Dhyan mantra. These are the safest, mildest and yet the most powerful.) (Do read the posts on Soham for details.)
  • To keep count of the mantra, you can use a Jaap-mala of Rudraksh. But better would be to learn to count on your fingers.

How to do Dhyan

  • This is how you count on your fingers. Refer to the diagram above. When you do your first ‘so-hum’ set, you will have your left thumb placed on the ‘1’ position and your right thumb placed on the “1-10′ position. When you do your second repetition, your left thumb will move to ‘2’, right thumb will remain steady on ‘1-10’. Thus you will count to 10. When you have to count to 11, your left thumb will touch ‘1’ again and your right thumb will move and touch ’11-20′. So you count the ‘units’ with your left thumb and the ‘tens’ with your right. So when you reach 100, your left thumb will be on ’10’ and the right thumb on ’90-100′. Now shift the right thumb to ‘gnyan mudra’ by touching it to ’70-80′ again. And continue counting 8 more ‘so-hum’ with your left thumb. You will complete 108 with the left thumb also coming into gnyan mudra at ‘8’. Thus you have counted 108 breaths – 108 ‘so-hum’ and your pranayam phase is complete. (Initially you might finish this phase in 20 mins, it will later extend and will keep on extending, till you will sit for hours!)
  • After you finish the pranayam phase, you will now continue sitting in this pose and attitude of ‘attentive relaxation’ (no other way to describe it) for some time till you feel your body getting stiff. During this phase you will not recite any mantra in your mind or think of anything. Try to be blank as possible concentrating at your third eye.
  • Then you should perform the Mahamudra again, right leg stretched out first, stretching your back for 12 counts, then with the left leg stretched out. 3 sets.
  • After you finish the Mahamudra, again sit in relaxed attention for as long as you can. Do not recite any mantras in your mind and do not think of anything, focus on your third eye.
  • When you feel that it is time, you will open your eyes, think of your Guru/favourite deity, feel gratefulness and love for the Parabrahma (your own higher self) and slowly get up. (Release your Khecharimudra and Moolbandh if you have been doing them.)
  • Do not eat anything heavy for 30 mins at least after this and do not go to sleep for 30mins after this either.

This was just the bare-bones on how to actually do the Dhyan. There are several points here where you move the energy/pran in specific ways. I may write on it in a later post.

This is based on one of the techniques given in the Vignyan Bhairav tantra, and have written more about some of the experiences during Dhyan in this post.