Maha Mudra, also known as Great Gesture is one of the most ancient yogic practices known to man. It is the first Mudra that is mentioned in Hatha Yoga Pradeepika as well as Gheranda Samhita. Maha Mudra can work as a technique for raising the consciousness of the practitioner to higher levels. It also helps in improving the health which is why it is strongly recommended by yogis.
Here are the steps associated with Maha Mudra.
Sit on the floor surface in Dandasana or Staff Pose. Make sure that you feel comfortable as you keep the spinal cord perfectly straight. Place both the hands-on floor by your side.
Take one deep breath and gently pull the left foot close to your left thigh. Bring down your knee as you breathe out. Keep your toe close to your thigh’s inner section as you complete one breathing cycle.
Gently press your palms against the floor and bring your shoulders somewhat back and down. It is going to open up the chest and lift the crown of the head point straight upwards.
Breathe deeply once again and pull the arms up. Bring your arms right above the head as you align your fingers in one straight line. Once you are done, breathe out and proper engage into ‘Moola Bandha’ at this time.
As you exhale, roll to the front section of the sitting bones. Keep your back and the spinal cord perfectly straight as you do so.
Next, bring down the arms and then latch them on the plane of the foot as you perform Jalandhara Bandhas and Uddiyana Bandha in the movement. This whole posture is going to will create a new ‘space’ within your mind and body. You must feel conscious about it so that it shifts your focus from breathing completely.
As you get back to the previous state of the asana, you will once again feel like breathing. Allow foot and bandhas gently go off while you take one deep breath.
Without moving the body in any way, close your eyes and take one deep breath as you spread out your left leg.
Tips for performing Maha Mudra
Maha Mudra should be ideally practiced during the early hours of the morning in empty stomach. It gives rise to a pleasant ambiance that is ideal for meditation practices. Therefore it should be performed before starting meditation.
In Sanskrit, ‘Mudra’ stands specific hand gestures and ‘Maha’ denotes ‘great.’ Therefore the literal meaning of Maha Mudra refers to Great Gesture which actually implies the numerous benefits of this yoga. Maha Mudra is widely regarded as a primitive form of yoga that focuses on controlled breathing and meditation. In ancient yogic scripture, Maha Mudra is widely held to be among the greatest postures since it includes the three Bandhas. By practicing this yoga persistently, you can achieve greater control over your physical and mental constitution.
Maha Mudra offers numerous physical, mental and spiritual benefits.
Maha Mudra helps to remove leprosy, consumption, and colic as well as other diseases that are caused by indigestion.
Maha Mudra also helps to remove Kapha disorders, constipation, tuberculosis, prolonged fever, enlarged spleen, and various other diseases, thus helping the body to attain good health.
It helps to balance the sympathetic as well as parasympathetic nervous systems, thus helping the practitioner to achieve inner peace. Sensory excitements can be reduced greatly with Maha Mudra which helps a person to achieve a perfectly tranquil and relaxed state of mind.
By practicing Maha Mudra on a regular basis, it is possible to make the spine perfectly straight. This, in turn, facilitates pranic energy to move smoothly and clearly between the Mooladhara chakra and Vishuddhi chakra. It helps to charge the whole body with pranic energy. During this mudra, the holding the breath leads to the contraction of the throat. This pushes prana down towards the Apana. The two then merge at Manipuraka Chakra or the navel center which helps to awaken Prana Shakti.
As this mudra is performed along with Shambhavi Mudra or eyebrow gazing, it helps to relax the mind. This makes it a great practice before starting meditation.
With the awakening of Prana Shakti, the activity of Pingala Nadi and Ida largely subside. This helps to activate the Sushumna Nadi or the central channel.
The Maha Mudra helps a person to become compassionate and loving. It also removes self-centeredness from consciousness.
The mudra also strengthens various muscle groups, such as lower back muscles, upper back muscles, abdominal muscles, and shoulder muscles.
Here are the contraindications that you need to keep in mind while performing Maha Mudra.
The Mudra is also contraindicated for medical conditions like eye disorders, glaucoma, hypertension, chronic back inflammation and abdominal inflammation among others.
So now that you have learned about the steps and benefits of Maha Mudra, go ahead and start practicing it for a healthy body and mind.