maha mudra

by julee snyder


In Maha Mudra, we put the three core bandhas together. We draw up through the central tendon of the pelvic floor in mula bandha. We continue the upward flow of the energy, by drawing the abdominals in and, on an exhale retention, the diaphragm upwards. And simultaneously we bow the head forward, chin toward chest, keeping the width through the diaphragms above and below. Some people choose to swallow in this moment and hold the breath out. Maintaining that position until breath is needed again. Then we release the bandha ‘locks’ staying easy in the throat, allow the air to flow back into the body, breathing normally, and soaking in the surge of energy through the body.

Maha mudrjanua can be performed in standing, sitting or in this head-to-knee pose (janu sirasana).  I enjoy integrating it into my pranayama practice as a way to warm the tissues and build energy before meditation. From there, I prefer the subtle energetic expression of maha mudra, drawing the energy like a whisper upwards from the base through the palate to the crown as I settle. Sometimes, I’ll even turn the tip of my tongue back to the soft palate to create a suctioned lift that helps close the circuit. Softening into that energetic alignment and resting into a sweet stillness that emerges.

As always, happy practicing!