What is Maha Mudra?
Also referred to as Mahamudra or the Great Gesture Pose, this is an advanced asana of Hatha Yoga.
Unlike other yoga mudras, which are usually gestures performed using your hands, Maha Mudra is a lock gesture that is a combination of all the three Bandhas used at the same time. These include Jalandhara (throat lock), Mula (root lock) and Uddiyana (diaphragm lock) that are used as body locks to lock and gain control over your prana (life force) and direct it to whichever part of the body that you desire it to go.
Since the Mahamudra asana involves a combination of several yoga practices and their individual benefits making it one of the most important yoga asanas.
Who should do Maha Mudra?
Maha Mudra can be done by several categories of people. These include:
- People who want to improve their digestion.
- Those who want to reduce their stress and anxiety.
- People who want to improve their focus.
- Those who are suffering from thyroid.
- Those who want to improve their respiratory disorders.
- Women who want to cure their menstrual disorders.
Who should avoid Maha Mudra?
In case you suffer from any of these conditions, you should not do the Maha Mudra yoga pose without speaking to your doctor. These conditions include:
- Eye disorders such as glaucoma.
- Pain or injury in the legs, spine, or arms.
- Inflammation in the spine.
- Abdominal inflammation.
- Cardiovascular disorders.
How is Maha Mudra done?
Just like any other stretching yoga pose, you need to be mindful of the pose of Mahamudra asana. Here is a detailed step-by-step explanation of the asana:
- Sit comfortably in Dandasana with your legs extended in the front.
- Straighten your spine and place both your hands by your side.
- Take a deep breath in and fold your left leg while drawing your left heel towards the perineum.
- Rotate your left knee to let it touch the floor while you breathe out.
- Inhale and bend your torso to grab the big toe of the right leg. Ensure that your spine and head are stable and erect.
- Inhale deeply and tuck your chin in and pull in your navel.
- Hold your breath for 8-10 seconds or for as long as you can.
- At this moment in the asana you practice all three bandhas. Uddiyana bandha by holding your breath, Mula bandha by contracting your pubic bones, and Jalanndhara bandha by constricting your throat muscles.
- Stay in this pose for 20-25 seconds.
- Inhale deeply and bring your head up.
- Exhale deeply and bring your hands to the ground.
- Inhale and straighten your left leg.
- Repeat the Maha Mudra yoga asana on the other side.
How can you modify Maha Mudra?
In case you have a limited range of motion or have pain in your hamstrings or hips, there are several ways in which you can modify the Mahamudra Pose:
- You can use a yoga strap and attach it to the ball of the stretched feet. So, instead of having to hold the toe, you can hold the strap to slip into the mudra avoiding excessive strain on your spine.
- Place a blanket, block, or cushion under your folded knee. This helps in supporting your knee and is beneficial for people who have stiffness or pain in the knees.
- You can practice Maha Mudra Pose by sitting on a folded blanket or cushion. This is a great way to ease back pain.
What are the benefits of Maha Mudra?
Mahamudra has tremendous benefits not just for your body but also for your mind. Here is why you should include this gesture in your workout regime:
- One of the best benefits of the Mahamudra yoga pose is that it strengthens several groups of muscles such as those in your hips, upper back, shoulders, legs, and thighs. This not just improves your workout performance but also makes your daily activities easier.
- This gesture is a great way to activate your abdominal organs and improve your digestion. Better digestion prevents digestive disorders such as constipation or flatulence.
- Maha Mudra Pose stimulates your endocrine system and regulates the secretion of hormones, which in turn helps and prevents thyroid problems.
- This asana is a great way to activate and strengthen your internal organs including the spleen, liver, pancreas, gall bladder, etc. Regularly doing this asana improves your immunity and saves you from infections and diseases.
- Since in the Mahamudra Pose your reproductive organs also get activated, it relieves menstrual or menopausal problems.
- This asana helps expand your lung capacity and efficiency. In the long run, this improves your respiratory system and prevents conditions such as asthma and COPD.
- By improving your circulation to your brain, the Maha Mudra yoga pose helps clear your mind by relieving anxiety and stress. This also prevents negative thoughts and improves your memory and concentration.
- Maha Mudra Pose lets you gain control over your sexual energy and helps you gain spirituality and raise your consciousness towards the higher power.
- Since this asana can be done with a minimal set-up that doesn’t require expensive studio space or equipment, you can easily include it in your home workouts.
How to practice Maha Mudra safely?
Though it may seem like a simple pose Maha Mudra needs to be practised carefully to avoid strain and injuries.
Here are some tips for practising this asana safely:
- Don’t start doing this asana on your own. Learn it from an experienced trainer or by joining online yoga classes. This is especially important while doing yoga for beginners.
- Don’t overstretch your body while doing Maha Mudra.
- If you feel pain or stress while doing Maha Mudra, stop immediately.
Mahamudra yoga pose is an extremely effective asana in strengthening and activating your mind and body. The key to gaining these spiritual and physical benefits is to be consistent with the practice of this asana along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
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