Shanmukhi Mudra is a simple practice to inward the awareness (that usually flows out) by closing our sense of perception. On doing this, a seeker can see a clearer picture of their ‘thought patterns’ – That known as Vrittis in yoga.
Among different types of yoga mudras, this mudra is a part of Mana Mudra in which usually seen the active involvement of ears, nose, eyes, tongue, and lips.
A literal translation of Shanmukhi gives a better picture of what exactly is this mudra and what happens in its practice.
What Does Shanmukhi Mudra Means?
Shanmukhi is made of two root terms → Shan + Mukhi. Shan means ‘Six’ and Mukhi means ‘Face’. Shanmukhi is called to Six Faces Goddess, the serpent deity.
In the context of Mudra, Shanmukhi is referred to 6 openings through which we sense the external world or, through which our awareness scattered out. These 6 openings are 2 ears, 2 eyes, nose, and mouth.
These 6 openings are the doorways of perceiving the external world by the use of 5 senses of the body. In Shanmukhi mudra,
- Through ears – we block the sense of hearing
- Through eyes – we block the sense of sight
- Through nose – we block the sense of smell
- Through mouth – we block the sense of taste and touch
How to Do?
Follow the simple steps below to do Shanmukhi Mudra:
- Find a peaceful place and sit comfortably in a cross-legged posture. Padmasana and Veerasana is recommended if you want to add up meditation in this.
- Back erect and breathe normally. Let you feel the surrounding before you detached it.
- Now, raise your arms and elbow up at the shoulder level while palm facing you. Now one by one start closing your sense organ with your fingers.
- Block the ears by gently pressing the tragus (part of the outer earlobe) with thumbs.
- Roll eyeballs upward before you close eyes by forefingers.
- Partially block the nose by middle fingers.
- Afterward, place your ring and little finger around the upper and lower lip, where the lower lip is slightly pressed by the upper one (these two adds in a symbolic way).
- Inhale deeply through partially blocked nostrils and hold your breath. At this point, you are detached from the gross world and now try to bring focus on breathing.
- With every inhale and exhale you are diving deeper into the realm of your subtle inner being. You may hear very fine sounds or vibration. You may visualize the radiance of the spectrum as you focus on the Ajna chakra like a dark room with coloring rays.
- After a few minutes of practice, return back by exhaling and unblocking all the opening of senses. As you become consistent in the practice, you will begin to observe the delicacies of nature and the way it works, that lifts you up morally towards it.
How Shanmukhi Mudra Works?
In Yoga Sutra, Patanjali Says,
Yogah Chitta Vritti NirodhaYoga Sutra 1.2
Restraining the fluctuated thoughts of mind is the YOGA.
Shanmukhi mudra is such a technique that works on these fluctuated thoughts.
This Mudra works on the subtle aspect of a practitioner by stimulating sense organs, improving attention, and carving spiritual personality as well in the long run.
In this mudra, when we block our sense organs it makes our consciousness cut off from the external world for a while. Such an approach provides the seeker with a deeper insight into oneself. All the awareness attained through turning off of the outer world magnifies the gaze towards inside necessary to root meditation.
Withdrawing senses leads the practitioner to the state of pratyahara, which needs to implement for the higher practice of Dharana and Dhyana. Shanmukhi Mudra is an ultimate way to the experience of the spiritual journey.
Shanmukhi Mudra Benefits
- In Shanmukhi mudra, breath-holding after inhalation revitalizes the facial glow and enhances its natural beauty.
- Shanmukhi Mudra relaxes the nervous system, which makes numerous motor responses in a harmonious way.
- It also calms the feeling of moving sickness or vertigo through nervous relaxation.
- Presbycusis (age-related hearing loss) and dementia in old age can be corrected by adding Bhramari breathing with this mudra [efn_note] Bhramari (Shanmukhi Mudra) Pranayama in presbyacusis and dementia http://www.indianjotol.org/article.asp?issn=0971-7749;year=2016;volume=22;issue=3;spage=145;epage=147;aulast=Taneja [/efn_note].
- This mudra leads to Pratyahara, a state of withdrawal senses. On simulating real Pratyahara only a deeper state of meditation is possible.
- Shanmukhi mudra improves the hearing ability of the practitioner [efn_note] Improving Hearing Performance through Yoga https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mahendra_Taneja/publication/295478888_Improving_Hearing_Performance_through_Yoga_MK_Taneja/links/56cab9c008ae5488f0d95212/Improving-Hearing-Performance-through-Yoga-MK-Taneja.pdf [/efn_note]
- It upgrades the functioning of all the sense organs to a greater extent, which lets us observe the subtleties of surrounding delicately.
- Due to its resemblance to bhramari breathing, it enhances the attentional skills of the practitioner like motivation, self-esteem, sensory integration, practice, language difficulties, and any existing diagnosis. [efn_note] Effect of Yogic Breathing on Accommodate Braille Version of Six-letter Cancellation Test in Students with Visual Impairment https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5934945/ [/efn_note]
- Shanmukhi Mudra is also practiced under the kundalini yoga to awaken the dormant spiritual energy at the root (Muladhara) chakra. This further leads to deeper meditation.
- The calming effect that comes with Shanmukhi mudra reduces stress, anxiety, anger, and irritating behavior of various age groups. [efn_note] Shanmukhi Mudra with Pranayama Has a Significant Effect on Anxiety Level of Children Aged 12 to 13 Years http://www.indianjournals.com/ijor.aspx?target=ijor:ijpesmys&volume=6&issue=2&article=006 [/efn_note]
Precautions & Contraindications
- Beginners try to avoid intense practice or for longer periods. As it demands coordination between various organ systems simultaneously.
- Any practitioner with major surgery or injury in the past few weeks should refrain from practicing shanmukhi mudra.
- Do not press the tragus of ear forcibly, this could be harmful. Apply the forefingers gently over the eyes and the same should be followed in partially blocking of nose.
- Pregnant women are not advisable to practice this mudra alone. However, it can be practiced along with low pitch Bhramari pranayama.
- A practitioner with the condition of hypertension should avoid breath-holding for longer periods as it could lead to heart failure, cardiac arrest, etc.
- Respiratory conditions like bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma should also refrain from holding the breath for longer periods.