How It Works | Steps | Ashwini Mudra Benefits | Precautions & Contraindications | Difference – Moola Bandha, Vajroli Mudra & Ashwini Mudra
In yoga when we talk about Kundalini, attention automatically goes to the pelvic floor. The perineum is the exact place of the pelvis where this energy lies inactively. Ashwini mudra is an easy practice that works on stimulating this inactive energy.
How Does It Work?
Ashwini, having root term ‘Ashwa’, is the Sanskrit transliteration of ‘horse’. A horse is a powerful animal in terms of strength, reason? The horse usually contracts anal muscles after the evacuation of the stool and many other times in a day. This makes a horse hold and pulls up energy instead of flowing down. Using this same analogy, Ashwini mudra works.
Ashwini mudra is a type of Mana Mudra where we contract anal sphincter muscle rhythmically to strengthen the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, and cervix, vagina, and rectum). Unlike most of the hasta mudras, in this mudra, there is no active involvement of hands or fingers occurs.
The contraction action of anal sphincter muscle in Ashwini mudra reverse the energy flow direction. It’s the same as exerting pressure at the lower end of a pipe to pull the water upward. Therefore, the energy that normally flows down and out of the body (Apana Vayu) now starts flowing up into internal organs. When Apana Vayu filled with the full capacity in lower organs, the pressure developed at the bottom of Sushmana Nadi which makes Prana starts flowing through it. Obstacle free flow of Prana through Sushmana Nadi makes person enlightenment and it’s the sign of awakened kundalini.
Ashwini Mudra Steps
- Come in a seated meditative pose like Lotus pose, Easy pose, or Thunderbolt pose and take a few deep breaths to fill air into the stomach. Other postures can be adopted for Ashwini mudra that brings hips together, like the upward facing dog.
- To begin, inhale fully and hold the breath in, then contract your anal sphincter muscles.
Contracting anal sphincter muscle will feel like as you’re holding in poop (but not actually holding here).
- Now as you contracting anal sphincter muscles, apply a little more pressure from inside of anus to lift this system of muscles up.
Here you should be able to feel muscles being pulled away from the floor. Usually contracting and lifting action takes place simultaneously.
- Contract and pull up muscle in this manner for 5 seconds and then release the pressure.
- Again contract, pull up and release slowly. Do it for 10 to 15 rounds in the beginning.
- On completion, firstly release the seated posture and then come out of the pose slowly.
Ashwini Mudra with Pranayama & Bandha
Advanced practitioners can also incorporate Pranayama, bandhas, and other mudras with this mudra.
- Inhale, hold the breath in, bring your chin down to the chest and perform throat lock.
- Inside your mouth, touch the tip of the tongue at the palate. It’s also called Kechari mudra.
- Now perform the Ashwini mudra, contract anal sphincter muscle, and pull it up. Hold it for 5 seconds and then release it.
- To come out of the pose, firstly release the chin lock, then flat your tongue and slowly relax the anal sphincter muscle.
The perfection in this mudra considered when you feel a shivering wave-induced from bottom to the top. This shows you successfully have stimulated the Prana by this practice.
Ashwini mudra can also be done in an inverted yoga pose like salamba Sarvangasana (supported shoulder stand). From supported shoulder stand, bend your knees and drop it forward, then perform the Ashwini mudra the same way as described before.
Ashwini Mudra Benefits
- Ashwini mudra practice lets you consciously control your unconscious activity of the body and hence, you better control your autonomic nervous system.
- Urinary incontinence, a common problem in females, and bed-wetting in children or nightfall can be prevented by doing Ashwini mudra daily. It strengthens the weak muscles of the pelvic floor.
- Effective exercise in the case of piles (hemorrhoids). It increases blood circulation in the anus and treats any swollen veins in the lowest part of your rectum. For piles patient, Ashwini mudra should be performed in an inverted pose to get relief from the piles’ irritation.
- It helps in the regulation of the Prostate gland and avoids any symptoms of Prostate Problems. Prostate is a small gland in men that helps make semen 1.
- In the case of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Ashwini mudra is very helpful, especially when done in Vajrasana. It treats common problems like pain in the stomach, wind, diarrhea, and constipation.
- As Ashwini mudra cures almost any related problems with belly and a healthy belly is considered the answer of glowing skin. Therefore, Ashwini mudra brings a glow in your skin.
- To diminish much sexual desire this mudra should be practiced regularly. Also, in males having sexual dysfunctions, Ashwini mudra proved a helpful remedy 2.
- In spiritual benefits, Ashwini mudra purifies the Nadis (energy channels) that help in the awakening of kundalini energy.
- After and before pregnancy, Ashwini mudra can be performed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscle that gives support to the growing weight of the fetus.
- In Ashwini mudra, stagnant blood from the legs, thigh, or abdomen is pulled up to the heart, on the purification of which heart pumps fresh blood to these parts of the body.
Precautions & Contraindications
- Pregnant women should avoid breath holding during this practice or it’s better to do under the personal attendance of an expert.
- Not advised this mudra if having recent abdominal surgery.
- Don’t hold or contract anus muscle when you feel bowel is full of stool or gas.
- Ashwini mudra isn’t recommended while walking. Other than this, it can be done in sitting, lying, or any standing pose.
Difference Between Moola Bandha and Ashwini Mudra
Moola bandha (root lock) procedure and muscle involvement is very similar to the Ashwini mudra but in fact, Ashwini mudra is just a preparatory exercise of moola bandha. You can understand it in this way:
- While in Ashwini mudra we engage a larger area of pelvis muscles, in moola bandha we focus on a small area of pelvic muscles that need to be contracted only. Obviously, focusing on a small area of muscles need much awareness of the pelvis area so we master Ashwini mudra before practicing moola bandha.
- Another major difference is, in a bandha (lock) practice, our intention is to lock energy at a certain part of the body (here at root chakra) while mudras create a circuit that flows the energy to do the cleansing.
- Whereas Ashwini mudra is a dynamic process of contraction and releasing back to back, in moola bandha, more emphasis is given to contraction to hold the muscles.
Other than this, in Vajroli mudra, contraction of the genital area is done in place of anus sphincter.
Ashwini mudra – the horse gesture is a powerful exercise for many ailments related to the lower abdomen. It’s very simple to perform and any person of any age group can do this mudra.
- Prostate problems https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/prostate-problems
- A Comparative Clinical Study on Efficacy of Amalaka Yoga and Ashwini Mudra in Klaibya http://www.journalijar.com/article/30418/a-comparative-clinical-study-on-efficacy-of-amalaka-yoga-and-ashwini-mudra-in-klaibya/
Can ashwini mudra be done during shirshasana?
Yes, perineal mudras such as Ashwini mudra can be done in shirshasana. Upside down position in shirshasana assists the sphincter’s contraction action of Ashwini mudra.
Well explained in an understandable way it’s strange
How this is not given due importance in yoga classes When practicing ashtanga form of yoga, moola bandha Was adviced to be done all along the performed postures, which I found difficult to do but since having Prostate enlargement bothering me in the night, I was happy to be reminded of Ashwini mudra
Thanks for this most interesting article
Patrick. Auroville Iyengar practitioner