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What Is Mudra? 9 Most Powerful Mudras Explained

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In the tradition of Yoga Tattva Mudra Vigyan or Yoga Mudra, mudras are performed along with the practice of asanas, pranayama, concentration, and meditation. Mudras strengthen the connection of internal organs with their corresponding centers in the brain. The correct practice of mudras will help you to restore the correct work of organs, improve health, fill your body with vital energy, and receive other benefits. If you’re asking yourself: “What is mudra?” and want to learn more about it then this article is for you!

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 Do Mudras Work?

Mudras image

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.

There are about 180 different finger positions. Obviously, it is not necessary to know all the mudras in order to start performing Yoga Mudra. It would be enough to start with a couple of basic mudras of your choice.

Mudras are 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 in the mind by pressing on particular acupuncture points.

Each finger of the hand corresponds to certain energy. And each phalanx of each finger is responsible for a specific part of the body.

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

The middle finger is responsible for patience and the ability to control feelings. This finger is connected to the heart and Anahata chakra.

The ring finger is responsible for health and vitality. This finger is connected to the respiratory and nervous systems.

The pinkie is associated with a creative component of the personality and the ability to see beauty. This finger is responsible for the pelvic organs.

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

In addition, each finger is connected with different parts of the body and internal organs. For example, the upper phalanx of the thumb is a “projection” of the head. The ring and middle fingers correspond to the right and left foot, and the pinkie and index fingers correspond to the right and left hand.

By performing mudras with your hands, you definitely stimulate those parts of the body and organs that are directly connected to the energy channels that pass through the palms and fingers.

5 Fingers And 5 Elements

Did you know that each finger is associated with one of the 5 elements?

Thumb represents the Fire element (Agni).

The index finger is associated with the energy of the Air element.

The middle finger is responsible for the Ether.

The ring finger connects us to the energy of the Earth.

The pinkie represents Water.

Fingers Corresponding to the 5 Elements image

Thus, by performing mudras, you redistribute the energy in your body. You regulate its flow through the opening and closing of energy channels as you do when practicing Hatha yoga. The only difference is that in Hatha yoga you achieve this effect by taking different body poses whereas in Yoga Mudras you do the same but with your fingers.

The thumb, representing the element of Fire, is considered the main finger in Yoga mudra. With whatever other finger the tip of the thumb comes in contact, it will strengthen the element that this finger or a combination of several fingers represents.

It turns out that if you connect the tips of the thumb and ring finger, the element of Air will increase through the Fire element. This is how Gyan Mudra (Mudra of Knowledge) is created.

When you connect the thumb and the middle finger then you activate the cosmic energy or ether. This is how Aakash mudra is created.

If you connect the pads of the thumb and ring finger you will activate the energy of the Earth. This is how the Prithvi mudra is performed.

The combination of the thumb and the pinkie increases the Water element in our bodies. This is how the Varun mudra is performed.

How To Perform Mudras?

Many mudras are quite simple to perform. Once you have mastered the basics, you can move on to more advanced finger combinations in mudras if you want it.

No special preparations are required to perform the mudras. You just need to take a meditative pose, choose one of the asanas (Sukhasana, Vajrasana or Padmasana) and while you are meditating, you can easily hold the mudra.

If you are not in the mood to meditate in one of the yoga asanas, you can simply relax and sit comfortably and begin to perform the mudra.

You can perform mudras anywhere: when you’re riding in public transportation, when you are listening to music or watching a movie, etc. Mudras have one very attractive factor: whether you are focused on their performance or not, whether you deeply believe in their healing power or not – they will work anyways (regardless of the situation and your mood).

Mudras are recommended to be performed daily. The duration of the practice should be 30-45 minutes so that you can feel its therapeutic effect. For convenience, you can divide this time period into several sessions of 15 minutes.

Usually, mudras are performed with both hands, as this activates the work of both hemispheres of the brain. You not only work to correct the problems that have accumulated in your physical body but also stimulate the work of the mind, which, in turn, has a positive impact on the emotional state.

9 Most Simple And Effective Mudras

Enough theory! Let’s start our mudra practice! Let me share with you 9 most simple yet very effective mudras you can start practice today!

Prana Mudra (Mudra of Life)

Mudra of life Prana mudra image

This mudra is designed to increase energy, restore energy potential, give strength, inspiration, increase endurance and even improve vision. It provides energy and health. Also, it reduces hunger pangs during fasting and gives you a good night’s sleep.

How to perform:

Touch the tip of the thumb with the ring finger and the pinkie finger together, while keeping the other two fingers straight. Take a regular breath, breathe in and exhale for a few seconds. Perform this mudra for 30-40 minutes daily.

Padma Mudra (Lotus Mudra)

Lotus mudra image

The Lotus Mudra opens the Heart Chakra (Anahata). It is a symbol of purity, light, and beauty emerging from the darkness.

The message of the lotus mudra is to stay connected to your roots, open yourself to the light and realize that the greatest sense of steadiness in life is an open heart.

The Lotus Mudra helps to heal a “broken heart”, strengthens unconditional love for all living beings or for a particular person, opens the heart, helps to attract a soul mate, drains out the misunderstanding, helps to release tension. It is also practiced to enhance the fire element in the body.

How to perform:

Take a cross-legged position. Bring the base of the palms together at the heart center, touching the thumbs and pinky fingers together. Spread the rest of the fingers out like the lotus flower opening toward the sunlight. Close your eyes and take several deep and long breaths.

Apana Mudra

Apana mudra image

Apana Mudra is a Cleansing – Energy Gesture. The Sanskrit word “Apana” refers to a cleansing form of subtle energy in our bodies that moves downwards and outwards.

Apana Mudra is especially beneficial to women, helping to regulate the menstrual cycle and easing childbirth.

This mudra strengthens the immune system on all levels, detoxifies the body and balances the elements of space and earth within.

Apana Mudra improves digestion and helps clear the skin. It can help you to feel grounded and process difficult emotions.

Most importantly, it helps to harmonize the flow of Qi.

How to perform:

Take a comfortable seated position, stand or lie down. You can also hold the hand gesture whilst performing a walking meditation. Using both hands bring the tips of your middle and ring fingers to the tip of your thumb, keep your other fingers extended and relaxed. This Mudra can be held for up to 45 minutes a day. the time could be broken down into 15-minute sections. To feel the benefits it would be helpful to hold the position for at least 10 minutes a day.

Gyan Mudra (Mudra of Knowledge)

Mudra of knowledge image

The Mudra of Knowledge evokes the most expansive version of the self, so you can flow through your life lessons with ease and calm. It stimulates wisdom and knowledge.

This beautiful mudra helps to eliminate stress, sadness, and sorrow. It gives hope and confidence in the future. In addition, the Mudra of Knowledge improves concentration and helps those who need to process large amounts of information, memorize and concentrate. This mudra improves memory and attention.

The Gyan Mudra:

  • stimulates the Root chakra;
  • eases tension and depression;
  • calms down;
  • brings spiritual openness and ease in meditation;
  • boosts the air element;
  • stimulates the brain;
  • empowers the mind, nervous system and pituitary gland;
  • helps enhance concentration;
  • prevents insomnia.

How to perform:

Lightly touch the tip of the thumb with the tip of the index finger, keeping the other fingers straight but relaxed. Do this with both the right and left hand and hold for at least a few minutes. In Kundalini Yoga, this mudra is usually practiced with the hands resting on the knees and the elbows straight.

Varun Mudra (Mudra of Water)

Varun image

This powerful mudra helps to improve kidneys and liver health. It helps to remove excess fluid from the body, accelerates metabolism and improves health. Also, it reduces the dryness of the skin and helps to improve its luster and softness.

The Mudra of Water is known as a seat of mental clarity. It encourages openness and fluid communication and balances the water element in the body.

How to perform:

Sit in a cross-legged position. Slightly touch the tip of the thumb with the little finger, then put some pressure and see the difference. There is no time limit for doing this Mudra and can be done anytime and anywhere.

Mudra of Earth (Prithvi Mudra)

Prithvi Mudra Image

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

The mudra of Earth can provide emergency assistance in moments of nervous breakdown, hysteria or severe stress. With regular performance, it helps to achieve inner harmony and improve self-esteem.

The Prithvi mudra increases the earth element within the body while decreasing the fire element. The earth element is a vital component of bodily tissues like bones, cartilage, skin, hair, nails, flesh, muscles, tendons, internal organs, etc.

Also, by performing the Mudra of Earth you’re balancing your Root chakra.

How to perform:

The Prithvi Mudra is created by touching the ring finger to the thumb, with the rest of the fingers extended. It is recommended to begin by holding this mudra in 10-minute increments, slowly building up to 45 minutes a day.

Vajra Arrow Mudra

Vajra Arrow Image

This mudra helps to heal the cardiovascular system. If the body has accumulated too much energy or if the mental tension has reached its peak, perform the Vajra Arrow Mudra. This powerful Mudra can help you to accumulate more energy in your body.

How to perform:

Put your right and left index fingers together. Cross the rest of your fingers. Press your thumbs against your index fingers.

Anjali Mudra (The Mudra of Gratitude)

Anjali Mudra Image

Anjali Mudra stabilizes the lower chakras and opens the heart chakra.

It is a mudra of devotion and offering, of balance and composure, of returning to the heart. It connotes gratitude for self and others. This is a very peaceful and safe gesture, and you will often see it come out unconsciously. It is often used alongside the word Namaste in salutations.

How to perform:

Taking your two hands in front of your chest, press the palms together. Extend the pressure up through each finger and the thumbs to the very tips. Keep the sides of your fingers touching. There will naturally be a little hollow of space between the centers of your two palms. Relax your shoulders away from your ears.

Bringing the joined hands to your Anahata chakra with the forearms parallel to the floor stretches the wrists and directs your awareness to your heart center.

Bringing the mudra in your Third eye (Ajna chakra) focuses your attention on your intuition.

Perform the Mudra of Gratitude at least 10 minutes a day.

Kashyapa Mudra

Kashyapa Mudra Image

This is a powerful protection Mudra you can use anytime you face toxic people, energy vampires, or people with bad attitudes. Also, if you are an empath, this mudra will protect you from absorbing the negative energy of people around you. In other words, this is the mudra you need to protect your energy. It balances and grounds you while creating a seal against negative energy.

How to perform:

Place the thumb underneath the index and middle fingers, letting the tip of the thumb poke out, and make a fist.

Conclusion

Start by mastering the basic mudras and practicing them in your daily meditations. Then you can pick more advanced ones. Your fingers will eventually get used to new positions, and the daily mudra practice will bring not only positive results to improve your health, but also the quality of your life. Be patient, be consistent, and the rest will follow!

Sometimes our bodies give us clues. If at some point you feel like you want to fold your hands and fingers in a certain way and stay in this position – just let it happen. Observe and accept what will happen during this practice. Your body intuitively knows what you need at the moment!


Katya Ki is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Feng Shui Master, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Yoga

Aparigraha: An Essential Step In Your Spiritual Evolution!

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Aparigraha is one of the moral rules described in the ancient philosophical text, ‘The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’. In this ancient text, they are called “Yamas” and help regulate your relations with society, gain self-awareness, transform negative energy into positive, and cultivate a deep sense of inner peace.

In this article, I will share with you the essence of aparigraha, different ways to practice it and will explain why it is so important to practice it for your spiritual evolution (especially if you practice yoga asanas).

8 Limbs Of Yoga

Each of the eight limbs of yoga is not easy in their own way. The first two of them, perhaps, are the most important, because they teach psycho-hygienic rules of life. If there is not enough desire, discipline and willpower to make them your way of life, moving on to the next stages is simply meaningless.

8 Limbs Of Yoga Image

The first limb: YAMA

Yama is a set of ethical norms that teach us to communicate with others in the right way. To be brief, it means one thing: treat people the way you want them to treat you.

Second limb: NIYAMA

The limb of forming the self-discipline and uplifting spirituality. This limb involves regular visits to temples, meditative practices, a study of nature, thinking and walks.

Third limb: ASANA

Asana means ‘posture’ or ‘pose’. So by saying ‘asanas’ we mean body poses.

Fourth limb: PRANAYAMA

Pranayama is the ability to control your breath. It is a set and a system of special techniques that make it possible to establish a relationship between breath, mind, and emotions.

Fifth limb: PRATYAHARA

‘Pratyahara’ means ‘gaining mastery over external influences’.

The purpose of this limb is to achieve a state of the distraction of the senses from the surrounding reality and the circulation of the gaze and consciousness inside of you.

Sixth limb: DHARANA

Dharana means ‘concentration’ or ‘single focus’. By concentrating and abstracting, we get distracted from external ‘noise’.  This is how we can calm down our minds, which distracts us from knowing more than we are able to understand.

Seventh limb: DHYANA

Dhyana means ‘contemplation, reflection’ and ‘profound, abstract meditation’. This is the stage of the full development of the properties of meditation and concentration. 

Eighth limb: SAMADHI

Samadhi is the highest stage of meditation, in which a person experiences oneness with the universe. In samadhi, the mind becomes still. You become totally aware of the present moment.

In western modern society, we usually associate yoga just with asana practice. We call people ‘yoga instructors’ although all they teach is asanas during their classes. It would be more appropriate to call western yoga instructors ‘asana instructors’ because physical exercises – asanas – are only one of the 8 limbs of yoga. Asanas are the third step of yoga. And before starting the practice of asanas (and other limbs of Ashtanga yoga), it is recommended to establish yourself in compliance with moral and disciplinary regulations (Yama and Niyama), including aparigraha.

This recommendation has an important reason behind it. You see, in the process of performing yoga asanas, we increase the amount of energy. And if we have not learned how to control it, if we do not understand what’s the right way to invest this energy in, then we risk building negative karma.

What Is Yama?

What Is Yama image

Yama is the second limb of yoga. The 5 Yamas represent a series of “right living” or ethical rules. It means “reining in” or “control”. These are restraints for Proper Conduct as given in the Holy Veda. The 5 Yamas are a form of moral imperatives, commandments, rules or goals.

The 5 Yamas are:

  1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): nonviolence, non-harming other living beings.
  2. Satya (सत्य): truthfulness, non-falsehood.
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): non-stealing.
  4. Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): non-avarice, non-possessiveness.
  5. Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): chastity, marital fidelity or sexual restraint

Mastering these 5 Yamas is necessary in order to practice niyamas, asanas, pranayama and all other stages of the “eight-step path of yoga”.

Now let’s dive deeper into the essence of aparigraha and why it is so important to follow this principle.

What Is Aparigraha?

What Is Aparigraha Image

Aparigraha is the virtue of non-possessiveness, non-grasping or non-greediness. ‘Aparigrah’ is the opposite of ‘parigrah’, and refers to keeping the desire for possessions to what is necessary or important, depending on one’s life stage and context. The precept of aparigraha is self-restraint from the type of greed and avarice where one’s own material gain or happiness comes by hurting, killing or destroying other human beings, life forms or nature.

What’s your real Worth?

We live in an era of hyper-consumption. And we never have enough. It’s not enough to have 2-3 pairs of shoes. We are no longer satisfied with a simple phone model, we need the latest one. We like to surround ourselves with cute (and seemingly necessary) trinkets. Many of us have closets full of clothes that we haven’t worn for several years. And many modern families today own more than one car, apartment, house, or even yacht!

We are not satisfied with public transportation or bicycles – we need cars! We are not satisfied with the suburban house – in addition, we need a vacation house! We can’t wear the same outfit for different special occasions, we feel embarrassed if someone sees us in the same outfit twice. Some of us even are not satisfied with driving and in addition to cars will start buying helicopters and jets. Do we really need all this? Or are we just trying to fill the emptiness inside? Or maybe we are trying to hide our insecurities behind the stuff we surround ourselves with?

People can’t see our souls, our hearts, our ‘shadows’ but they can see the stuff we own so we can make them think that we worth something. But what’s our real worth? Money, gold, success, cars, jets, homes… have nothing to do with who we really are.

We were taught that. We have to make money to fulfill our desires. But is it really necessary? How does the fulfillment of our desires affect us, our beloved ones, our planet, our collective consciousness? Is that new car you’re dreaming about a necessity or simply a way to feel better about yourself, to hide your insecurities, to make people notice you? Does your child need that video game or he’s just trying to escape from this reality? Were those leather shoes you’re dreaming about a product of someone’s death? Do you really want to invest your money in animal cruelty and/or sponsoring someone’s death? These are the questions that need to be answered before you decide to spend your money.

Don’t Be That Monkey!

monkey trap image

We all need to realize and accept the fact that our material possessions control us. To understand how this works, I will give an example.

Indian farmers use a special technique of catching the monkeys that were destroying their crops. Because they practiced compassion, shooting or killing the monkeys was not an option. They had to find a way to capture the monkey, and then return it to the jungle.

After observing the monkeys, one farmer found a way. He cut a small hole in a coconut, just big enough so that the monkey could slide its hand through. He put a banana inside the coconut, then tied it to the side of a tree. The monkey came up, smelled the banana, and stuck its hand into the coconut to grab the banana. When it tried to pull its hand out, because his hand was clenched in a fist holding the banana, it did not fit out of the small hole.  And because the monkey refused to let go of the banana, the farmer was able to capture it.  If the monkey just let go, it would be free.

Interestingly, just like the monkey with the banana, we have a tendency to hold on to things — things that don’t necessarily serve us. And it’s not just our material possessions but also our old habits, behaviors, relationships, the results of asana practice, pleasures, etc.

Unfortunately, attachment is a very natural part of modern people’s life. But sometimes those things that we’re attached to are the very things that hold us back, even causing pain in our lives.

This is What Happens When You Don’t Practice Aparigraha

Everything that belongs to us is supported by our energy. And this applies to anything, even the smallest thing that we own. Yes, you read it right – we basically give our energy to every little thing we own – books, statuettes, decorative items, shoes, clothes, cars, etc. Thus, when we don’t follow aparigraha principle we lose our vital energy.

If you’ve ever done decluttering in your house you probably understand what it’s about. Usually, after decluttering people start feeling happier, more inspired and energized.

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali points out that following the Aparigraha principle allows us to gain knowledge of past incarnations and the next rebirths.

How To Practice Aparigraha?

how to practice non-possessiveness image

Now that you realize how important it is to follow the Aparigraha principle you may wonder: “How can I practice Aparigraha living in modern society?”. Here are some ways you can do it!

#1 Get rid of unnecessary things

Start with decluttering! Get rid of everything you don’t use anymore. Give away the stuff that can be useful for someone, donate the clothes that don’t fit you or you just don’t like anymore, donate books to the libraries, etc. Make sure you give away the stuff that can be still used by someone in need and throw away the rest.

#2 Inner yoga practice

Yes, yoga is not just asanas but also a deep inner work aimed at self-discovery and self-transformation. Internal yoga practices will help clear the mind of ignorance, misconceptions, misunderstandings, incorrect knowledge (Avidya). Avidya is a state in which we take “the non-eternal for the eternal, the impure for the pure, evil for good and non-self as self”. It is not just ignorance, but ignorance of its true nature. It is Avidya that prevents us from achieving ultimate success in spiritual practice.

Therefore, it’s essential to make time for meditations and introspective work.

#3 Cultivate awareness

When inappropriate thoughts disturb the mind, you should focus on what is opposite to them. For example, a sudden desire to act rudely or encourage or accept rude actions should be restrained by awareness of harmful consequences. Very often such actions are reflections of our anger, greed, or biased judgment. Regardless of our motives, awareness of such consequences can prevent such actions.

#4 Always keep in mind the importance of Aparigraha

You should always remember the impermanence of all things. Nothing in this world belongs to us. Treat everything material that you have as tools that are given to us by Higher Powers to achieve the higher goals and complete our spiritual mission. At the same time, make sure you are not falling into extremes and fanaticism: a car, a house, a computer, a phone — all this can be used for the benefit of the development of this world. It is important not to be tied to these benefits of civilization but to use them as practical tools for accomplishing your higher goals. And if you lose something material make sure you’re easily letting it go.

#5 Trust the Universe

Trusting the Universe‘ means understanding and accepting the fact that we already have everything we need and we will have everything we really need. Be grateful for what you have even if you have very little.

The Bottom Line

Aparigraha is an essential yoga practice that should become a part of your life principle if you consider yourself following a yoga path. The practice of non-possessiveness will help you to examine your assumptions and will guide you back to healthy relationships with others.


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Naked Yoga: a Powerful Self-Discovery Practice

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Naked Yoga Image

Naked yoga is increasingly gaining popularity. Asanas are performed without any clothing. It can be practiced by either individual classes or in a group.

The practice of naked yoga is a total exit from the comfort zone. What could be more awkward than naked people around you performing the Cat-Cow pose? But the naked practice is aimed at getting rid of the psychological and emotional blocks, physical body attachments, insecurities, low self-esteem.

After naked yoga practice, most people notice the feeling of liberation. Many people also note that it is very comfortable to perform asanas without clothes that constrain the body. Of course, it may feel awkward at the beginning but the benefits of this practice are simply amazing and definitely worth trying it!

In this article, we will share with you what naked yoga is about and those amazing benefits that may inspire you to try this practice.

Ancient Practice of Naked Yoga

Naked yoga practice image
https://www.instagram.com/nude_yogagirl/

We used to think that the naked body is related to sexuality and some people even find it vulgar. But we, modern human beings, should remind ourselves that nudity is a natural state of our body. Naked yoga brings us back to our nature and roots and allows us to work with what we have — with all our folds, flaws and shortcomings.

Despite the fact that naked yoga seems to be another marketing move (like goat yoga or cat yoga), in fact, nudity was present in many ancient practices to get rid of attachments to the material.

Naked yoga (Sanskrit: “nagna yoga” or “vivastra yoga”) has existed since ancient times as a spiritual practice. It is even mentioned in the 7th-10th century Bhagavata Purana and by the Ancient Greek geographer Strabo.

In the Bhagavata Purana (written c. 800–1000 AD) it says:

”A person in the renounced order of life may try to avoid even a dress to cover himself. If he wears anything at all, it should be only a loincloth, and when there is no necessity, a sannyasi should not even accept a danda. A sannyasi should avoid carrying anything but a danda and kamandalu.”

Alexander the Great reached India in the 4th century BC. Along with his army, he took Greek academics with him who later wrote memoirs about geography, people and customs they saw. One of Alexander’s companions was Onesicritus, quoted in Book 15, Sections 63-65 by Strabo, who describes yogins of India. Onesicritus claims those Indian yogins (Mandanis) practiced aloofness and “different postures – standing or sitting or lying naked – and motionless.”

The practice of spiritual nudity is common among Digambara Jains, Aghori sadhus, and other ascetic groups in the dharmic religions. The order of Naga Sadhus, conspicuous in the processions and bathing ritual at the Kumbh Mela, uses nudity as a part of their spiritual practice of renunciation.

Naked Yoga Benefits

This ancient practice has lots of wonderful benefits that you may find very inspiring. Here are some of them.

#1 It helps you accept your body

self love yoga image
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Unfortunately, in our modern world there are lots of people who are dissatisfied with their bodies, find them shameful and even ugly. If you feel like it’s not easy for you to see your naked body without judgment or desire to improve something in yourself, if you feel uncomfortable to get naked even in front of your partner, then a naked yoga class can be good therapy for you.

Practicing naked yoga will help you reconnect with your own body, stop being ashamed of it, learn to accept yourself, and increase your sense of self-worth.

The vulnerability of the naked body can help bring people together, make them understand that each of us feels insecure about something, but we are all beautiful in our own way.

Naked yoga can help you overcome the rejection and shame about your own body, cope with the psychological blocks associated with your body, and look at yourself in a new way. It will teach you to love your body the way it is, see your body as a beautiful temple for your spirit, and love your shortcomings.

#2 It boosts your confidence

The naked practice is a way to learn how to interact with your body, feel it, and become more confident. This is an opportunity to really see your body and stop taking it for granted.

#3 It motivates

body shaming healing image
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Nude yoga classes motivate you to master your yoga practice. This is due to the ability to see how each of your muscles moves and how it responds to each exercise. Practicing yoga naked, you are more likely to understand which parts of your body need to be worked out more. You can see and understand more clearly what muscles are too tight and what parts of your body need more stretching. Moreover, you will be able to see where your blocks are located. When you see what your body needs, you can change the content of your classes to suit your needs by targeting the right muscles and body areas.

#4 It makes your skin “breathe”

When you exercise and sweat in your clothes, it adversely affects the skin, because the clothes prevent it from being cleansed. When you sweat naked, your skin can breathe.

Wearing clothes during your yoga class may dry your skin and increase the appearance of wrinkles.

One way or another, clothing always restricts our movement. But when we are performing asanas naked it becomes so much easier for you to improve your practice and reach a new level of mastery!

The Bottom Line

nude yoga benefits image
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We should always remember that our body is a temple for our spirit. Therefore we need to treat it with love, care, and respect. Even if you want to change something in yourself, it should not be accompanied by self-torture and criticism. Treat your body with care and without excessive fanaticism in the pursuit of ideals.

Would you like to try naked yoga? If your answer is “definitely not”, then think about what kind of mental blocks stop you from doing this? We are all born and start this life without clothes, so why not to try to reconnect with our true natural selves?


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Murcha Pranayama: Essence and Benefits of the Swooning Breath

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Murcha Pranayama Image

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?

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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.


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