Maha Mudra is the 6th Kriya in this series of 20 Tantric Kriyas.
Maha means “great,” and mudra is “seal.” According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, maha mudra destroys our sufferings from the obstacles we encounter on the path to enlightenment. Classically, Maha Mudra is done in conjunction with Maha Bandha and Maha Bheda. In this series of Tantric Kriyas, we will learn three similar techniques that flow together with this Maha Mudra practice.
You begin by sitting in janu sirsasana, except that you will sit on the left heel so it is pressing into the perineum to activate mula bandha. The right leg with be extended forward. Your breathing will be with ujjayi and amritpan khechari mudra (the tongue curled back into the soft palate). And when you reach to grab your toes as in janu sirsasana, it is important to keep the spine straight – there is no need to round the back to have the head to touch the knee.
This practice integrates our previous practices of rotating our consciousness up the arohan (front psychic passageway), and down the awarohan (back psychic passageway). When the head raises at the bindu, the eyes gently gaze up toward the ajna chakra in what is known as shambhavi mudra. You will keep your eyes softly open during this practice.
So let’s begin. Sit on the left heel and stretch out the right leg. Lower the head and engage mula bandha and repeat “muladhara” three times. Engage mula bandha and inhale slowly with ujjayi breath and khechari mudra, moving your consciousness up the front passage (arohan) to bindu. Your head moves up as you pass through each chakra with your inner vision.
Retain the breath and stretch forward to grab the toes of the right foot with both hands. Be sure to hinge at the hips and keep the spine straight. Perform shambhavi mudra by lifting your gaze to the third eye. Repeat mentally “bindu, bindu, bindu.”
Exhale slowly, descending down the back passage (awarohan) and release mula bandha. Inhale and sit upright and repeat “muladhara” three times.
Repeat this process four times with the right leg extended, then four times with the left leg extended, then four times with both legs extended, for a total of twelve times. Below is a video to help guide you through the practice. You can read more about it on page 151 in Letters from the Yoga Masters.
If you are just joining us here, I recommend you refer back to the SOYA blog learn the practice of Arohan and Awarohan and the previous kriyas. Remember, these practices are intended to thread one into the next, until eventually all 20 kriyas are completed in one sitting. Of course many of us do not have time to do this, so they are still very beautiful practices completed on their own. Enjoy!
Marion Mugs McConnell is the author of Letters from the Yoga Masters: Teachings Revealed through Correspondence from Paramhhansa Yogananda, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Sivananda, and Others, published by North Atlantic Books copyright © 2016 ISBN 978-1-62317-035-6. This is an excerpt of the book, and reprinted by permission of North Atlantic Books.