Shanmukhi Mudra, also known as Yoni Mudra or Looking Within, works on the subtle aspect of the yogi by stimulating the senses, improving attention and also prolonging the spiritual personality.
In this mudra, when you block your senses, it cuts off your consciousness from the outside world for some time. Such an approach gives the seeker a deeper insight into himself. All the awareness gained through shutting off the outside world is essential for meditation to take root.
Among the different types of yoga mudras, Yoni Mudra is a part of the mind posture that usually sees active participation of the ears, nose, eyes, tongue and lips.
|Known as:||Shanmukhi Mudra, Padmasana With Shanmukhi Mudra, Looking Within, Six Faces Goddess, Yoni Mudra, Sanmukhi Mudra|
|Sanskrit name:||शान्मुखी मुद्रा|
|Type:||Sitting, Hip opener, Mana mudra, Meditation posture|
|Total time:||3 to 10 minutes|
|Focus:||Energise body, mind, treating eye, throat and nose infections|
|Counterpose:||Dandasana (Staff Pose)|
|Preparatory mudra:||Unmani mudra|
|Follow-up mudra:||Bhoochari mudra, Akashi mudra|
|Contraindications:||Corneal disease (place fingertips gently on eyelids instead of applying pressure), Glaucoma, Hearing aids (do not restrict ear canal while wearing)|
Meaning + Origin
The Shanmukhi Mudra is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of three words — Shan + mukhi + mudra:
- “Shan” = “six”
- “mukhi” = “face”
- “mudra” = “gesture or mark or seal or posture”
Shanmukhi Mudra is said to be the Six-faced Goddess, Nagaraja (Serpent deity).
In terms of posture, this Mudra is referred to as the six openings through which we perceive the outside world or through which our awareness spreads.
The six openings, two ears, two eyes, nose and mouth, are the doorways of understanding the external world using the five senses of the body. In this mudra,
- Ears: Through the ears, we block the sense of hearing
- Eyes: Through the eyes, we block the sense of sight
- Nose: Through the nose, we block the sense of smell
- Mouth: Through mouth, we block the sense of taste and touch
Benefits of Shanmukhi Mudra (Looking Within)
Padmasana With Shanmukhi Mudra is practiced to support the body and mind for deeper meditation, drawing the practitioner towards gross awareness.
Along with this main benefit, the physical and mental benefits one can get from this Yoni Mudra (Looking Within) are listed below:
- Physical Benefits:
- Opens the hips
- Calms the nervous system
- Treat eye, throat and nose infections
- Balancing Five Elements (Panchatatwa)
- Awakening kundalini Shakti
- Mental Benefits:
Step-by-step Benefits of Yoni Mudra (Padmasana With Shanmukhi Mudra)
Start in Lotus Position (Padmasana). Use your hands to widen the base of your pelvic floor; That is, rotate your thighs and hips inward one by one, as you extend them outwards. Keep width in your pelvic floor as you press the tailbone up and down so that the buttocks flow down. Move your shoulders down the floor of your body. Slide your shoulder blades backward. Extend from your lower abdomen up through your head.
Put your fingers on your eyelids, applying light pressure; Continue to breathe deeply, even through your nose. Allow your facial muscles to soften. Root your sit bones into the floor and distribute your weight evenly. Lengthen the sides of your body from your hips to your shoulders.
If desired, start closing your senses one by one, going deeper into yourself. Place your thumbs in your ears to cut out extraneous sounds. Place your first and second fingers on your eyes, distributing gentle pressure evenly. Allow your index finger to gently pull your eyelashes toward your eyebrows as the other fingers close the lids. Close both the corners of your eyes. Use your third fingers to pinch your nostrils, and place your pinky fingers on your upper lip to gauge the rhythm of your breath. Apply light pressure on the upper lip. Press evenly on the sides of your nostrils, narrowing the nasal passages.
When ready, lower your hands and release your feet. Begin to become aware of your body and external sounds before you open your eyes again.
Sit in Siddhasana variation and follow Step-2 through Step-4.
Precautions and contraindications
Padmasana With Shanmukhi Mudra should always be practiced under the guidance of a yoga teacher/instructor until you master it or become comfortable with the practice. There are a few precautions and contraindications to keep in mind in this mudra:
- Individuals who new to yoga should never attempt this yoga mudra. It takes time to connect and then separate from the body and the senses, and this can happen only when you have learned to get to know the body better through asana practices.
- Individuals suffering from glaucoma should avoid the practice of Yoni Mudra due to strain on the entire muscles of the eyes and face.
- Try to go slow, and don’t push or press the eyes and ears too hard. Pressing the ears without knowing what to feel initially and what to sense can only cause damage. This can cause ear pain, headache, and irritation, so go slow and be aware of the sensations.
- Someone who has had a history of depression over the years should take it easy and slow. It should be practiced for about 2-3 minutes in the beginning and gradually extend up to 10 minutes. Slowly progressing without any side effects.
- If you have heart problems, high blood pressure, migraines, asthma, or anything that can cause discomfort and irritation, your breathing may stop.