9. Mudrás and Bandhas

Mudrás are almost the same thing as ásanas but incorporate more ideation. The rules for mudrás are similar to those for ásanas, but there is no restriction regarding the nostrils. The number of mudrás is also large. A list of a few necessary mudrás is given here.

(1) Ud́d́ayana mudrá: Standing, place the hands above the knees and bend forward a little. Gradually breathe out, to a state of complete exhalation. Keeping the breath out, draw the abdomen and lower abdomen inward as hard as possible, to touch the spine. Maintain this position for eight seconds. Then gradually inhale fully. Practise eight times.

(2) Bandhatraya Yoga –

(i) Mahámudrá: Sitting down, press the múládhára cakra with the left heel and extend the right leg forward. Breathe in deeply, and at the same time contract the urinary sphincter muscles. Grasp the sole of the extended foot firmly with both hands, and maintaining jálandhara Bandha (clamping the chin against the chest), hold the breath. Retain this position for half a minute. Then relax the hands and also jálandhara bandha, and, sitting erect, breathe out.

(ii) Mahábandha: Press the múládhára cakra with the left heel and press the svádhiśt́hána with the right. Breathe in and simultaneously imagine that the urinary sphincter muscles are being raised. Apply jálandhara bandha, and after placing the thumbs over the waist, press the sides of the genitary organ with the eight remaining fingers. Maintain this position for half a minute, and then, releasing the hands and relaxing jálandhara bandha, breathe out.

(iii) Mahávedha: Press the múládhára with the left heel and the svádhiśt́hána with the right. Contract both the anal and the urinary sphincter muscles hard while breathing out. Both the thumbs will rest over the waist. With the remaining eight fingers, try to raise the anal and the urinary sphincters. Jálandhara bandha should be held in the meantime. Retain this posture for half a minute. Release the hands and jálandhara bandha, breathe in, and at the same time relax the anal and urinary sphincters. Pressing the right heel to the múládhára in a like manner, practise mahámudrá, mahábandha and mahávedha.

(3) Párthivii mudrá: Lie on the back. Spread the arms on the floor beside the body. Close the eyes, and, concentrating the mind on the múládhára cakra, breathe in, [[then suddenly breathe out]]. Practise seven times.

(4) Ámbhasii mudrá: As in párthivii mudrá, but concentrate on the svádhiśt́hána cakra. Practise seven times.

(5) Ágneyii mudrá: As in parthivii or ámbhasii mudrá. Concentrate on the mańipura cakra. Practise seven times.

(6) Váyavii mudrá: Standing erect, press the nipples with the third joints of the middle fingers of both hands. The remaining fingers will stay in their natural positions on either side of the middle fingers. Now bring both the elbows backward while inhaling. After complete inhalation, exhale. The elbows should be relaxed a little when exhaling. Practise this mudrá with the eyes closed, concentrating the mind on the anáhata cakra. Practise seven times.

(7) Ákáshii mudrá: Practise this exactly like váyavii mudrá, but concentrate your mind on the vishuddha cakra. Practise seven times.

(8) Mánasii mudrá: Practise this in the same way as váyavii or ákáshii mudrá, but concentrating the mind on the trikut́i. This mudrá may be practised in a supine position like párthivii mudrá. If it is practised in a supine position, the hands should rest in relaxation on either side of the trunk. Practise seven times.

(9) Agnisára mudrá: Sitting in siddhásana, hold the waist on both sides with the hands. While breathing out, press the navel region with the middle fingers and contract it till it touches the spine. Stay in this position for a little while. Gradually resume original position. This constitutes one time. Initially practise three times and gradually increase to ten times.

(10) Kákacaiṋcu mudrá: Sit in the open air, preferably on the bank of a pond, facing it. Projecting the mouth like a beak, draw in air, producing a hissing sound, and swallow the air, imagining that the air is whirling around inside the stomach. Be sure that the hissing sound is produced during the act of inhalation. Now the air will escape from the stomach, but take no notice of it. Practise this seven times.

(11) Trimuńd́a mudrá: Sit extending both the legs together. Then pull the legs back towards the body and place the soles of the feet on the ground in such a way that the thighs form an angle of 15 degrees to 20 degrees with the lower legs. Thrusting both hands inside this angle, pass them outside the legs and grasp the opposite elbows. Both the hands should be kept below the knees. Pull both legs close to the trunk and place the chin between the knees. Duration – three minutes. To be practised four times.

(12) Ashvinii mudrá: Sitting in bhojanásana, contract and immediately relax the anal sphincter. Practise eight to ten times.

This mudrá can also be performed sitting in a pond or tub full of water. (13) Vajrolii mudrá: During urination contract the vajrolii nádii and hold it for some time. Then release the hold. Practise three times. This exercise can be practised when the urine is clear and its flow is normal. After urination, be doubly sure to wash with water.

1965, Jamalpur