Naumukhi Mudra is the 10th Kriya in this series of 20 Tantric Kriyas
This is the first of the Dharana Kriyas, focussing on concentration. I particularly enjoy this practice as a meditation just on its own. It reminds me of an incredible experience I had when my Mantra teacher, the late Namadeva Acharya, initiated me into the Gayatri Mantra. During the initiation he was whispering the Gayatri mantra over and over into my left ear. Behind my closed eyes I “felt” a green stalk starting to rise up from my feet, through my spine, with green branches expanding throughout my body and beyond. When I was filled to overflowing with this growing green stalk it suddenly turned golden, like all my astral nerves (nadis) had turned to gold. Amazing! But enough of that… on to this kriya.
Naumukhi Mudra is a process to seal or close the “nine gates”. The nine gates are openings in the body. These nine gates are the 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 nostrils, the mouth, anus, and urinary/sex opening. (Note: some say there are 10 gates for women since the urinary opening and sexual opening are two separate openings). These are openings to the busy outer world where we can potentially lose prana (our life energy). This occurs if we are, for example, distracted by what we hear or see. Our consciousness moves outward through these nine gates. When we want to shift our attention inward, it can be much easier if we close the nine gates.
To close the nine gates we use three mudras:
- Shanmukhi mudra* closes the openings in the face. The ears are sealed with the thumbs, the eyes with the index fingers, the nostrils with the middle fingers, and the lips with the ring fingers placed on the upper lips and baby fingers placed on the lower lips. *
- Mula bandha seals the anus with a muscular contraction drawing upward with on the anal and pelvic muscles as you would do to prevent going to the toilet.
- Vajroli mudra seals the urinary/sexual gate with a muscular contraction of the pelvic muscles as you would do to prevent urinating.
Practice applying these three mudras all together.
The other aspect of this technique is to use your mind’s eye for visualization. Let’s review this before we start. You will try to visualize at muladhara chakra at the base of the spine, roots going down into the ground. Visualize a stem rising up through the spine all the way to vishuddhi chakra at the throat. Visualize at the top of the stem, just above vishuddhi chakra, a trident that will pierce the bindu. (Remember, the bindu is a chakra above the Ajña chakra and below the Sahasrara chakra, deep in the middle of the upper head.)
Ok let's begin to practice the Naumukhi Mudra.
- Sit in siddhasana, or any comfortable seated position. Be sure to sit upright and tall with an erect spine.
- Close the eyes. Become aware of muladhara chakra at the base of the spine. Feel its roots extending downward into the earth.
- Repeat “muladhara” mentally three times.
- Inhale, using ujjayi and amritpan khechari mudra (curling the tongue back to touch the soft palate).
- Imagine the breath moving up the arohan (frontal passage) from muladhara chakra through each chakra to vishuddhi chakra at the throat, raising your head through the process where it is neutral at the throat.
- At vishuddhi, raise the head as your consciousness moves to bindu.
- Retain the breath and close the nine gates with your mudras. (You will retain the breath until we release the mudras).
- Hold your inner gaze at the Ajña chakra and imagine a stem coming up the spine from its roots at muladhara chakra up to vishuddhi chakra. The trident above vishuddhi chakra pierces the bindu chakra.
- Repeat mentally “bindu bhedan, bindu bhedan, bindu bhedan” and try to feel the electrical sensation as the bindu is pierced.
- Release the mudras to open the nine gates and exhale down the awarohan (back passage) from bindu to muladhara chakra.
- Repeat “muladhara” mentally three times.
Repeat this process five times. Take time to observe the effects the kriya has on you.
You can learn more about Shanmukhi mudra in pages 129-132 in Letters from the Yoga Masters. I have recorded this Kriya for you here on the SOYA youtube site to make it easier for you to practice.
*Shanmukhi mudra is also known as Yoni Mudra, and is used in several different yogic techniques, such as Sarva Dvara Baddha Pranayama on page 113 in Letters from the Yoga Masters.
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. All photos are used with permission.