Think of yoga and Hatha yoga is what will come to your mind. Hatha yoga is the best way to introduce yoga into your life. It balances the sun and moon components present in you and prepares the body for future possibilities. As an introductory form of yoga, Hatha yoga is very important to any practitioner. It includes 84 asanas, 9 kumbhakas, 8 cleansing techniques, and 10 mudras. Of these 10 mudras that are practiced in Hatha yoga, the Khechari mudra is extremely important.
What is Khechari Mudra?
The practice derives its name from two words – ‘khe/kha’ meaning ‘space’ and ‘chara’ meaning ‘to move’. Together they mean ‘one who moves the sky’. In theKechari mudra, the tongue is rolled back deep into the mouth. This locks the tongue in nasal cavity which is why the Khechari mudra is also known as the tongue lock mudra.
As the tongue moves deep into the throat, it massages against the pituitary gland which is synonymous with the Third Eye. The massaging of the gland activates it, in turn, activating the Third Eye which helps the practitioner rise to a higher level of consciousness.
When a practitioner puts the tongue in nasal cavity, drops of ambrosial nectar are released into the body which liberates the person from pangs of hunger and thirst. Only very advanced practitioners can achieve this goal and they can drink the nectar or Amrit.
How to do Kechari Mudra?
Practicing this yoga for tongue may seem very easy, but it isn’t. It takes months and years to achieve perfection. If you are new to this, you can follow these Khechari mudra steps to achieve your ultimate goal:
- Start by positioning yourself in a comfortable posture or asana.
- Close your eyes and mouth and concentrate on the Third Eye chakra.
- Now roll your tongue up to touch the mouth palate.
Note: Most beginners will be able to touch their hard palates initially. With time and practice, they may be able to touch the soft palate, uvula, and then, beyond it. People with long tongues may be able to begin with their soft palates and move further in.
- Maintain this position as long as you feel comfortable and experience no pain.
- As soon as you feel a twinge, release the tongue and allow some rest.
- Practice it again. Over time, you will be able to practice this yoga for tongue for a longer duration without any pain.
- As the tongue gradually moves further back in, you should be able to put the tongue in nasal cavity.
- As you do this, your breathing rate will drop significantly.
- As the tongue moves within the nasopharynx following the above Khechari mudra steps, it triggers certain points that secrete the ambrosial liquid or nectar that nourishes the body.
5 Khechari Mudra Benefits
- Stimulates the thyroid gland
Hormones secreted from the thyroid gland regulate body functions like metabolic rate, growth, development, body weight, body temperature, menstrual health, brain development, digestive functions, etc. An imbalance in these hormones may affect these body functions. The practice of Khechari mudra along with Ujjayi Pranayama helps in the normal secretion of the thyroid hormones, thus promoting overall good health. An optimal level of thyroxin in blood also improves skin health.
- Improves personality
The Khechari mudra benefits are not limited to physical health, but spiritual and emotional benefits as well. Regular practice of this tongue yoga can help maintain an emotional balance that changes your personality for good. With time, you can improve personality traits like courage, sensitivity, confidence, communication, creativity, independence, temperament, leadership skills, etc. This helps in developing a balanced personality that is ideal for growth in life.
- Boosts the parasympathetic nervous system
The Khechari mudra triggers the parasympathetic nervous system or the PNS. Also known as the rest and digest system, the PNS helps to slow down the heart rate and thus, calm you down. As such, the activation of the PNS helps switch from the fight or flight mode and combat stressful situations. The release of dopamine during the tongue mudra can soothe you down and make you feel good about yourself. This creates a feeling of profound satisfaction that can calm you down even more.
- Aids digestion
As the tongue is pressed against the salivary glands during the Kechari mudra, the glands receive the much-needed massage. This not only helps in the release of salivary juices that aid in digestion but also helps in fighting against disorders of the salivary gland. The PNS also enhances the activity of the intestines and various glands present in the body which improves various body functions including metabolism and digestion.
- Activates energy chakras
The seven chakras of the human body form a junction at the throat. This junction acts as a valve and prevents the flow of Prana or life-force into the higher chakras. When the tongue presses against the throat during the tongue mudra, it locks this valve so that the Prana can flow into the higher chakras – the Third Eye Chakra and the Crown Chakra without any obstacle. The free flow of life force awakens the mind to various spiritual experiences.
Although the Khechari mudra has no known side-effects, one should be aware of the following before practicing the mudra:
- You must not self-teach the mudra. Only a yoga expert can teach you the correct Khechari mudra steps.
- Do not do the tongue mudra in haste. You may face several complications.
- You should master each stage before moving on to the next.
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As the Khechari mudra activates the pituitary or the Third Eye, it is also referred to as the King of all mudras. As a new practitioner, you may be able to get only as far as the hard palate or soft palate of the mouth, but you will still experience many physical Khechari mudra benefits.