Perhaps you have heard, yogis drinking nectar from inside of their head. In Hatha Yoga Pradipika, yogis consider Khechari mudra is a practice to taste the bliss of nectar.
What is Khechari Mudra?
Khechari mudra is a type of Mana Mudra (mudras involves head) in which the tongue is rolled up & back and draw deep to the nasopharynx (nasal cavity). Then tongue is locked back there into the nasal cavity, behind the palate (so it’s called ‘tongue lock’).
Because khechari mudra stimulates the master gland pituitary (situated behind the nasal cavity), it’s also king of all mudras. In spiritual language, the pituitary gland is the synonym of the third eye that is said to bring yogi to the higher stage of consciousness.
To do this mudra, a practitioner should first practice rolling of tongue.
- With consistent practice, the tongue becomes flexible and it can be elongated to the pit of the throat.
- This is the point which on stimulation begins flowing the Amrita – ‘nectar of Immortality’.
Kechari mudra is also a technique of kriya yoga where talavya kriya (tongue-palate exercise) practiced prior to it. In Talavaya Kriya, the tongue is stretched in & out repeatedly so that it becomes flexible and long enough to do Khechari mudra.
The easy version of Khechari Mudra is called ‘Nabho mudra‘ when a practitioner is not able to touch uvula (lower part of nasal cavity). In this mudra, the tongue is pressed against the soft palate only. It’s also called ‘small khechari mudra’.
Khechari Mudra Meaning
Khechari has two root words, Kha and Chara
- Kha means ‘Brahman‘ or ‘Space’ which is infinite
- Chara means ‘Obstacle free moving’ or ‘flying’
- Mudra means ‘a symbolic gesture’.
Khechari mudra means a symbolic gesture of moving freely in the infinite space of Brahman. How it’s so?
Because khecahri mudra lets the tongue to pierce to the top and stimulate the pituitary gland. When the secretion of this gland takes place, it makes practitioners feel the bliss of moving freely into the infinite space of brahman.
Here in this video kriya yoga master Swami Nityananda Giri has described and demonstrated the khechari mudra.
To practice Khechari mudra, Hatha Yoga Pradipika mentioned frenum (skin below tongue that links it with gums) should be cut in order to increase the extension of the tongue (ONLY recommended under the guidance of an experienced teacher).
But it can be achieved without cutting frenum, as mentioned in Kriya Yoga & Raja Yoga. In order to prepare for Khechari mudra, it can be done;
- By exercising tongue in talavya kriya
- Doing Nabho Mudra – tongue to the soft palate, for the first few months.
- The tongue can be stretched like any other muscle. To prepare the tongue for khechari mudra, milking of the tongue is done for a few months before actual practice begins.
Khechari Mudra Steps & Stages
- One should sit in a meditative pose and fix gaze to the center space between eyes i.e. Third eye chakra.
- Close your mouth, take a few deep breaths, and then do normal breathing.
(As a beginner you can keep your mouth open to be more aware of tongue movement.)
Khechari Mudra Stage 1 – Soft Palate to Uvula
- To begin Khechari mudra, extend your tongue up and then roll it back to reach as far as you can. Initially, the tongue may barely reach to the hard palate. Do fake swallowing to slide tongue up to the soft palate. Do it 3-4 times until your tongue rests comfortably at the soft palate.
- Now try to slide your tongue further into the mouth. If you can’t do it by simple means, you can push the back of the tongue with your clean finger.
- Reach with your tongue at the bottom of your mouth where it touches the Uvula (a punching bag like structure in your mouth hanging over your tongue).
- Once you reach this far, do it 3-4 times to get your tongue comfortable up to this point.
Khechari Mudra Stage 2 – Passing The Uvula
- Now as your tongue touching the uvula, open your glottis and mouth quickly to blow a bit of air inside the throat.
- This strong bust of air will push rolled tongue behind the uvula and your tongue will ready to enter into the nasopharynx.
Khechari Mudra Stage 3 – Slipping Tongue Into The Nasopharynx
- Once tongue makes its way behind the uvula, now its turn to find a place behind uvula from where the tongue doesn’t come to its previous position. This part will come naturally, the tongue will begin slipping but at this moment there would be a strong urge of throwing out tongue.
- Keep breathing slowly, observe what’s happening inside your mouth. One just needs to come over this urge by observing the situation.
- Eventually, your tongue will start slipping into nasopharynx behind the soft palate. This will take tongue to the upmost where it touches a bony structure called the pituitary gland.
Khechari Mudra Stage 4 – Pressing Pituitary to Secrete Nectar
- Up to this point, the tongue has reached beyond the top of the pharynx. You will feel an emptiness in the mouth on reaching up to this point.
- Tongue touching at the topmost point here is nothing but space between your third-eye, where you asked to focus on at the beginning of this practice. Physiologically, this is the seat of the ‘Pituitary gland’, the master gland of the body.
- When the tongue pressed against this, it gets stimulated.
- Some fluid will start accumulating in your mouth but saliva wouldn’t be swallowed as long as your tongue remains up.
- Slowly, bring your tongue down to natural position and you will found the taste of saliva accumulated inside your mouth.
- In the beginning, the taste of it would be bitter, is a sign of detoxification of your bodily system. But with practice, you will realize the bitter taste becomes sweet like honey, strawberry, and butter taste. It’s called ‘Amrita – the bliss of nectar‘ in Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
Working of Khechari Mudra
The throat in our body is the junction point between the first five chakras (associated with the five elements) and the last two chakras (beyond the earthly elements). Because of this junction, Prana flow at the throat level gets interrupted and our brain centers don’t get enough ‘Prana – vital energy’. Therefore, our minds distract often when we try to focus it on one thought or one place.
In khechari mudra, when the tongue is extended up to the pit of the throat, it creates a lock at this junction point. Hence, it’s also called tongue lock mudra. Now Prana can easily travel through this bypass to the higher chakras (Ajna and shahsarara chakra). In this way, Prana starts flowing freely and the mind becomes relaxed & focused.
Khechari Mudra Benefits
One who accomplishes this khechari mudra is neither troubled by diseases, nor death, lassitude, sleep, hunger, thirst, or unconsciousness.Hatha Yoga Pradipika, 3.39
- This mudra opens up blocked salivary glands and prevents painful symptoms of salivary gland disorders 1.
- As khecahri mudra stimulates the pituitary gland, It activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). On PNS activation, your body conserves energy by slowing down the heart rate – low breath rate (5 to 8 breath/minute) and you feel relaxed.
- Khechari mudra with bhramari pranayama is a very effective practice in case of hearing impairment and forgetfulness (dementia) 2.
- Tongue rolled inside is a symbol of restraining our senses to go outwards. Also, if we fixed the tongue in one place (like in this mudra), it’s very difficult to talk to yourself 3 – eventually, thoughts get reduced. This way, khechari mudra is very helpful to draw mind inwards that makes meditation much easier.
- The regular practice of khechari mudra removes symptoms of aging. It stimulates the pituitary gland that secretes growth hormone, also called anti-aging elixir.
- Khechari mudra with ujjayi breathing balances the secretion of the thyroid gland. Balanced secretion of the thyroid gland is very important to have a better metabolism, optimum body weight, growth, and development.
- Khechari mudra brings many spiritual powers like third-eye chakra awakening, precognition, and extrasensory perception.
- It’s a cleansing practice also that on the secretion of nectar detoxifies the body, clears the tongue gag, and prevents bad breath (halitosis).
- Khechari mudra meditation is an effective technique to be in a tranquil state of mind. This mudra locks the air inside the lungs and prevents exhalation in deep meditation, which doesn’t let our awareness to be scattered.
- It makes the tongue more sensitive to taste an individual element. Hence, panch tattva (5 elements) dominancy or deficiency can be addressed easily by mastering this mudra.
5 tastes relation to the 5 elements: sweet – earth, sour – air, salty – water, pungent – ether, bitter – fire.
However, there are no side effects of khechari mudra but one can notice blood sticking to the tip tongue while managing the tongue to reach the end of the nasal cavity. There is nothing to fear in this, one should keep following precautions in mind;
- This mudra is not advised to do without any guidance from an expert teacher.
- A low protein diet should be taken while preparing for this mudra.
- Mastering stage 1 & 2 only itself can take around 6 to 7 months of practice, so it’s not advised to practice all stages the first day only. A beginner should practice stage 1 until it gets comfortable.
- Cutting of frenum is done at an early age and strictly advised to do under the guidance of Guru.
Khechari mudra is called ‘King of all mudras’ because of its capability to stimulate the master gland of the body. Even if you as a beginner isn’t able to do full khechari mudra, small khechari mudra (nabho mudra) brings many benefits at the physical level.
You can do this mudra anytime, but it’s highly recommended during the meditation sessions. So whenever you sit for meditation, hold your tongue against the soft palate and you will see, it becomes easy to control your thoughts, minimal thoughts.
- Relevance of yoga in dental education http://www.ym-kdham.in/article.asp?issn=0044-0507;year=2018;volume=50;issue=1;spage=10;epage=15;aulast=Deshpande
- Frequency-modulated Bhramari Pranayam in tinnitus and deafness http://www.indianjotol.org/article.asp?issn=0971-7749;year=2018;volume=24;issue=4;spage=209;epage=213;aulast=Taneja
- Thinking With Your Tongue https://thebestbrainpossible.com/thinking-with-your-tongue/