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Murcha Pranayama: Essence and Benefits of the Swooning Breath

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Murcha Pranayama is one of the eight types of pranayama. “Murcha” is commonly known as “fainting” in Sanskrit. It is believed that through this pranayama you experience “conscious unconsciousness”. The purpose of this pranayama is to expand consciousness and accumulate and preserve prana. People who are successful in completing this breathing exercise experience prolonged euphoria and semiconscious swoon. Therefore it is recommended to perform it only if you are well advanced in all other branches of pranayama.

In this article, I will share with you the benefits of the Murcha Pranayama and the techniques of its performance.

What Is Pranayama?

Pranayama for Beginners Image

Pranayama is a system of breathing exercises that can significantly increase your energy level.

Prana‘ is the Sanskrit word for breath, “life force”, or “vital principle”. ‘Ayāma‘ can be translated as “the suspension of breath” or “control”. Thus, “pranayama” can be translated as “control over vital energy”.

According to Patanjali, pranayama is the length of time between inhalation and exhalation. During this period, the time of assimilation of prana increases, the fluctuations of the mind decrease and the perception expands. But how is it possible to reduce the excitation of the brain by holding the breath? This is due to the fact that nerve impulses in some parts of the body are suspended, and the structure of brain waves is harmonized. Therefore, pranayama is one of the most important elements of Hatha yoga.

Murcha Pranayama

Murchha pranayama can only be performed by advanced practitioners who have already purified their bodies and who have good training in holding their breath. As you learn this breathing practice, the number of cycles may increase. The time to complete it may increase from five to ten minutes. However, if you feel that your head has become light, stop practicing.

The feeling of loss of consciousness during Murcha Pranayama occurs for two reasons. First, continued breath retention reduces the concentration of oxygen in the blood entering the brain, that is, causes hypoxia. Second, by squeezing large blood vessels in the neck, Jalandhara Bandha affects the pressure receptors on their walls, and in response to this, the pulse and blood pressure change.

Benefits of Murcha Pranayama

Murcha Pranayama is a very powerful breathing technique that has many benefits! Here are some of them:

  1. provides mental tranquillity and a sensation of euphoria;
  2. gives a blissful experience where the mind becomes free from negative emotions;
  3. increases mental efficiency by providing energy and removing distractions;
  4. effective in the cure of headache and muscle weakness;
  5. raises the level of prana by energizing ida, pingala, and Sushumna;
  6. helps to create a state of unconsciousness where your mind is calm, and the body is relaxed, yet you are alert (a state of ‘conscious unconsciousness’);
  7. brings steadiness and contentment by infusing joy and happiness;
  8. reduces body fats;
  9. helps to prepare the body for deep meditation.

Precautions

Murcha Pranayama is not meant to be practiced by everyone and it’s best to find a competent teacher for guidance. Murcha breathing practice requires a competent teacher’s help if you have:

  • mental disorder;
  • high blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure (hypotension);
  • heart disease;
  • epilepsy;
  • brain disorders;
  • glaucoma.

If you get wholly fainted or unconscious during your practice, discontinue it immediately!

Murcha Pranayama should not be practiced after meals, and a minimum of 3-4 hours gap should be there.

How To Perform Murcha Pranayama?

Murcha Pranayama Benefits Image

There are two ways to perform Murcha Pranayama.

Technique 1

Sit in Padmasana or Siddhasana. Place your hands on your knees and close your eyes.

Count till 5 and at the count of 5, slowly and deeply inhale through your nose. Perform Kumbhaka with Jalandhara Bandha and Shambhavi mudra.

Hold your breath for 5 seconds or as you feel comfortable.

Keep your eyes closed. Relax the Jalandhara Bandha. Slightly lift your chin. Exhale while closely monitoring the exhalation.

Before starting the next cycle, breathe normally for a minute or two.

Concentrate on the feeling of emptiness.

Technique 2

Sit in Padmasana or Siddhasana. Place your hands on your knees and close your eyes. Make sure that the body is firmly fixed in its position.

Slowly inhale through both nostrils, raising your chin and tilting your head back, but not so far that it requires tension and effort.

Perform Kumbhaka with your arms straightened at the elbows, your shoulders raised, and your Shambhavi mudra fixed. Hold your breath a little longer than is comfortable for you.

Then close your eyes, slowly lower your head and shoulders, and exhale in a controlled manner.

Before starting the next cycle, breathe normally for a minute or two.

Concentrate on the feeling of emptiness.

Duration

Practice until you start experiencing a fainting sensation. Length of Kumbhaka (breath retention) is very important. The longer you can hold the breath, the better it is.

One inspiration and expiration makes one cycle. Repeat until you feel faint. It should be performed after asanas and before meditation.

It is very useful and provides additional benefits when practiced before going to sleep.

Concentration

It is very important to know what to concentrate on while performing Murcha pranayama. You should have a dual focus while performing this practice: physical and spiritual.

For achieving physical awareness, focus on your breath. Bring your attention to the head movement and also to the center of eyebrows.

For achieving spiritual awareness focus on the void behind the eyebrow center called ‘chidaksha‘. Direct your awareness to this void.

Conclusion

Pranayama is one of the most important yogic practices. It provides different responses in the cardiovascular and autonomic nervous system. Murcha pranayama acts as the bridge between the mind and the body. It brings balance to our breathing, calm down our mind and creates inner peace.

When the mind becomes thoughtless and still, we become more relaxed and calm. We feel the bliss that makes us feel like floating. We are floating away from the worldly affairs and start moving inside. By drawing our minds inward we achieve the ultimate pleasure.

Yoga

Vayu Mudra: Yogic Remedy for Stress and Anxiety

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In Sanskrit, “Vayu” means air, and in Ayurveda, it refers to the Air element and is associated with the Vata dosha in our body. Therefore, Vayu mudra is designed for balancing the Air element in our bodies. Vayu mudra helps to reduce anxiety and nervousness, boosts immunity, helps to overcome gastric problems, recovers peace of mind, and has many other benefits. In this article, we will introduce you to this powerful mudra, will explain how to practice it, and will share with you the benefits of practicing this mudra.

Read on.

What Is Mudra?

Mudra‘ can be translated as ‘gesture’. Hence mudras are symbolic gestures practiced with the hands and fingers.

Connecting the fingers in certain combinations, we can activate the meridians and direct energy throughout the body. Different positions of the fingers can close or clear the energy channels. In addition, performing this or that mudra, we affect the biologically active points of the palms and fingers.

Mudras help us to correct the direction of energy in the body, to control prana, and to improve the psycho-emotional state. Also, with their help, we can eliminate problems in the body and the mind by pressing on particular acupuncture points.

What Is Vayu Mudra?

The term Vayu Mudra is originated in Sanskrit: ‘Vayu‘ means Air and ‘Mudra‘ means gesture. Thus, Vayu Mudra is a hand gesture that represents the Air element. By practicing this mudra, we can reduce and balance the Air element in our body.

The Air element in our body is responsible for managing the different types of pain and various mental disorders. Therefore, by practicing Vayu mudra, we can decrease or alleviate problems related to an imbalance of the Air element. Moreover, this mudra also helps in creating a balance within the Nadis (subtle energy channels) to maintains the air influx and efflux.

Each of the fingers has symbolic significance:

The index finger is associated with knowledge, wisdom, and self-confidence. It is connected to our life force.

The thumb is responsible for our ego, will, and logic. Also, this finger is associated with wisdom, mind, and awareness.

Also, it is important to know that each finger is associated with one of the 5 elementsThumb represents the Fire element (Agni). The index finger is associated with the energy of the Air element (Vayu). Hence, when we put the index finger under the thumb in Vayu mudra, we make the Fire element suppress the Air, thus, reduce and balance it.

Fingers Corresponding to the 5 Elements image

Vayu mudra is associated with the Ayurvedic Vata dosha because Vata is associated with the Air element. Thus, this mudra can be helpful for those who suffer from aggravated Vata or who are of the Vata dosha constitution.

Vayu Mudra Benefits

The regular practice of Vayu mudra provides the following benefits:

  • Balances the element of air in the body
  • Reduces the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
  • Helps to overcome gastric problems
  • Reduces anxiety, stress, and nervousness
  • Soothes the mind
  • Helps with arthritis, sciatica, gout, knee pain
  • Relaxes the muscles
  • Stimulates the endocrine glands
  • Helps with pain management
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Recovers peace of mind
  • Supports skin and cartilage

How to Perform?

Mudra practice image

Vayu mudra is one of the easiest mudras to perform. To practice Vayu mudra, follow these simple steps:

  1. Bring your body into a comfortable sitting position (cross-legged position, Padmasana, etc.).
  2. Relax and calm your mind.
  3. Now, place the tip of the index finger inside the base of the thumb.
  4. Then gently press the base of the thumb into the tip of the index finger.
  5. The rest of the fingers should all remain straight.

While performing this mudra, you can repeat mentally or aloud the following affirmation: “I am calm and serene at any time and in any place”.

Perform Vayu mudra daily for 15-20 minutes. Over time, you can increase the time to 45 minutes a day.

Precautions:

  • Stay away from the electronic gadgets and turn them off while you’re practicing the Vayu Mudra.
  • Do not try to overbend your index finger. Also, do not apply big pressure on your index finger by your thumb.
  • Keep your back straight during the practice – this will ease the prana flow.

You can include this mudra into your meditation or pranayama practice for better results.

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Ganesha Mudra for Relieving Stress & Lifting Your Spirits

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Ganesha mudra is named after the Hindu elephant God Ganesh who is known for his ability to remove obstacles, give wisdom, and bless with abundance and prosperity. In this article, we will introduce you to the Ganesh mudra practice that is designed to help you relieve stress, lift your spirits, and give you the confidence and courage to overcome anything that is holding you back.

Who Is Ganesh?

Ganesh, also known as Ganapati and in the Hindu traditions represents wisdom and prosperity. He is the patron of wealthprosperity, good luck, and trade. The offspring of the Supreme God Shiva and his second wife Parvati, Ganesh has a rather strange appearance: he has a human body, a big belly, four hands, and an elephant head.

Who Is Ganesha Image

Ganesha is potbellied and generally depicted as holding in his hand a few round Indian sweets, of which he is inordinately fond. His vehicle (vahana) is the large Indian bandicoot rat, which symbolizes Ganesha’s ability to overcome anything to get what he wants. Like a rat and like an elephant, Ganesha is a remover of obstacles. Ganesha mudra is believed to invoke Ganesh energy as the remover of obstacles. As such, practicing the Ganesha mudra is said to enhance self-confidence and provide the courage to overcome anything that is holding one back.

According to the Vedic tradition, Ganesha is the embodiment of the mantra “Om”. The elephant’s head crowning the body of the deity resembles the symbol “Om” in its shape. Its large size symbolizes wisdom. Big ears are called to listen carefully and to separate good from evil, truth from lies. They hear everything, but at the same time, they perceive only good and true.

What Is Mudra?

“Mudra” can be translated as “seal”, “mark”, or “gesture”.

Mudras are symbolic gestures often practiced with the hands and fingers.

Connecting the fingers in certain combinations, you can activate the meridians and direct energy throughout the body, restore the flow of energy and eliminate “breakdowns” in diseased organs. Thus, each position of the hands has its own meaning and can benefit us if we learn to use this knowledge correctly.

How Does It Work?

Different positions of the fingers have the ability to close or clear the energy channels. In addition, performing this or that mudra, we affect the biologically active points of the palms and fingers.

Mudras were invented for the correct redirection of energy in the body, for the control of prana, and for changing the psycho-emotional state. Also, with their help, you can eliminate problems in the body and the mind by pressing on particular acupuncture points.

Connecting the fingers in certain combinations, you can activate the meridians and direct energy throughout the body, restore the flow of energy and eliminate “breakdowns” in diseased organs. Thus, each position of the hands has its own meaning and can benefit us if we learn to use this knowledge correctly.

The acupressure points located on the tips of all five fingers can influence the proportion of the corresponding element within the body. 

The practice of Ganesha Mudra activates and stimulates the fire element in the body that further helps with better digestion and metabolism. In addition, this mudra is also associated with the Anahata chakra (Heart chakra) and contributes to its activation. Some practitioners say that they experience a strong feeling of warmth and light in the heart area when they perform this mudra.

Ganesha Mudra Benefits

This powerful mudra helps:

  • helps to open the Heart chakra
  • improves the upper body strength
  • boost self-esteem and self-confidence
  • cultivates a sense of inner power
  • develops the courage to approach life with an open heart
  • helps relieve heartache, depression, and feelings of heaviness and sadness
  • strengthens the muscles of the arms, chest, and shoulders
  • releases stress and tension
  • help to open the bronchial tubes and lungs
  • stimulates the metabolism
  • improves digestion
  • lifts mood
  • strengthens the heart muscle
  • boosts creativity
  • helps to settle quarrels and build trust in your relationship
  • calms down
  • helps to deal with life challenges

How to Perform Ganesha Mudra?

Ganesha Mudra For Love Image
  1. Bring your palms to touch in Anjali Mudra.
  2. Swivel your hands so that your fingertips point toward opposite elbows, with your right palm facing your heart.
  3. Bend your fingers and lock them in the heart area (Anahata chakra). The elbows are directed to the sides.
  4. Close your eyes, inhale, pull your elbows to the sides while exhaling, trying to uncouple your fingers, then exhale and relax. Repeat this process six times, then repeat on the other side six more times.
  5. Disconnect your fingers, put your hands on your knees, relax and focus on your breathing, stay in this position for a while.

Additional instructions:

  • Remove any jewellery or watch from the arms before practicing Ganesha Mudra.
  • To deepen your practice, combine Ganesh mudra with Ganesh mantra practice. When performing the mudra, chant Ganesh mantra: Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha.
  • Make sure you practice Ganesh mudra on an empty stomach – keep a gap of at least 4 hours between your last meal and the time of practice. 
  • For maximum benefits, perfrom Ganesh mudra 5-6 times a day.

The Bottom Line

This powerful mudra stimulates the Anahata chakra (Heart) and can, therefore, be considered a heart-opening practice. With regular practice, Ganesh mudra may evoke strong feelings of warmth and brightness in the heart area. As a result, you become more open and gain self-confidence.

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Prithvi Mudra For Confidence, Grounding & Stability

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In this article, we will introduce you to the Prithvi mudra practice that is designed to reconnect you to Earth, ground you, and help you attain harmony and balance.

What Is Prithvi Mudra?

Prithvi is the Sanskrit name for the Earth (one of the five gross elements of which the entire universe is made of) as well as the name of a goddess in Hinduism and some branches of Buddhism.

Prithvi mudra is a symbolic hand gesture to promote healing and spiritual balance within the body.

Earth element governs our confidence, physical and mental stamina, sense of stability, and grounding. A healthy body needs to have a balance between all of the five elements. Any imbalance created between these elements can cause disease. Regular practice of Prithvi mudra helps to balance the earth element, which resides primarily within tissues, such as skin, hair, and bones.

How Does It Work?

Different positions of the fingers have the ability to close or clear the energy channels. In addition, performing this or that mudra, we affect the biologically active points of the palms and fingers.

Mudras were invented for the correct redirection of energy in the body, for the control of prana, and for changing the psycho-emotional state. Also, with their help, you can eliminate problems in the body and the mind by pressing on particular acupuncture points.

Connecting the fingers in certain combinations, you can activate the meridians and direct energy throughout the body, restore the flow of energy and eliminate “breakdowns” in diseased organs. Thus, each position of the hands has its own meaning and can benefit us if we learn to use this knowledge correctly.

The acupressure points located on the tips of all five fingers have the ability to influence the proportion of the corresponding element within the body. The tip of the thumb is linked to the fire element, the tip of the index finger to the air element, the tip of the middle finger to the ether element, the tip of the ring finger to the earth element, and the tip of the little finger to the water element.

Fingers Corresponding to the 5 Elements image

The tip of the thumb when brought in contact with the tip of any one of the other four fingers fires up the augmentation of the corresponding element inside the body. Thus, in Prithvi mudra, we bring the tip of the ring finger (which represents the earth element) in contact with the tip of the thumb (which represents the fire element) so that the proportion of the earth element can be balanced by enhancing its proportion within the body.

Prithvi mudra helps balance both the elements – earth and fire – as it increases the element of earth and decreases the element of fire within the body.

Prithvi Mudra Benefits

This powerful mudra helps:

  • heal chronic fatigue, osteoporosis, weight loss, convalescence or paralysis, burning sensations throughout the body, ulcers, and nail, hair or skin issues
  • grounding
  • increase mental stability
  • build and invigorate bones, nails, skin, muscles, and hair
  • enhance the kapha in the body
  • reduce the pitta in the body
  • stimulate the Muladhara chakra
  • prevent hair loss
  • reduce cholesterol
  • maintain healthy digestion
  • boost confidence
  • enhance the sense of security and stability
  • calm the mind and uplift the spiritual experience
  • boost the immunity
  • balance an overactive thyroid
  • heal cuts and wounds, bone fractures, and brittle nails faster
  • increase the density of the bones
  • restore equilibrium and trust

Moreover, Prithvi is the mudra of protection. If you suffer from the strong pressure of the surrounding world, if events or specific people take away your peace, perform the Prithvi mudra and you will feel under the protection of the natural forces. It helps to relieve stress quickly.

This powerful mudra can also provide emergency assistance in moments of a nervous breakdown, hysteria, or severe stress. Regular practice of this mudra will help you to achieve inner harmony and improve your self-esteem.

Who Shouldn’t Practice Prithvi Mudra?

Prithvi mudra is not recommended for:

How to Perform?

Prithvi Mudra Image

Sit in any comfortable and stable seated meditation posture, such as padmasana (Lotus Pose) or sukhasana (Easy Pose). Then connect the tips of the ring fingers with the tips of the thumbs on each hand, whilst extending the other fingers straight.

Additional instructions:

  • Remove any jewellery or watch from the arms before practicing Prithvi Mudra
  • Begin with practicing this mudra for about a minimum of 10 minutes to 30 minutes every day in the morning or in the evening. For therapeutic benefits, practice Prithvi mudra for a minimum of 30-40 minutes every day.
  • In order to reap maximum benefits from practicing Prithvi mudra, perform it in the early morning between 4 am to 6 am.
  • Prithvi Mudra can be combined with the pranayama practice for better results and can also be done in standing position or while sitting in a chair.
  • Make sure you practice Prithvi mudra on an empty stomach – keep a gap of at least 4 hours between your last meal and the time of practice. 

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