Rotation of awareness through these centres must be done with retention of breath. A reasonably long retention is required in order to complete 12 rotations, therefore we suggest that beginners rotate their awareness through these centres 3 times. Gradually they can increase this by 1 rotation every week or so according to individual capacity, until they can do 12 rotations. Under no circumstances should you hold your breath for longer than is comfortable. In the practices of kriya yoga never force or strain the body in any way. Also bear the following points in mind:
• The eyes tend to droop during rotation of awareness. Take care to focus both eyes towards the eyebrow centre in shambhavi mudra.
• Try to be aware of the three centres at the same time; this may be difficult in the beginning but it becomes easier with practice and effort.
The sitting position is called utthanpadasana (stretched leg pose). It has three positions: 1. Right leg straight in front of the body and the left leg folded so that the left heel presses against the mooladhara chakra (see figure 1).
2. Left leg straight and the right leg folded so that the heel presses the mooladhara chakra.
3. Both legs straight in front of the body. Each of these positions is used in maha mudra alternative 2. In positions 1 and 2 it is important that the side of the heel firmly applies pressure on the mooladhara chakra. For men, the pressure should be applied midway between the anus and sexual organ; for women, against the inside edge of the vagina.
Sit in utthanpadasana with the left leg folded and the right leg straight.
Adjust your body so that you feel comfortable. Place both hands on the right knee. Hold the back straight. Do khechari mudra. Open the eyes.
Bend your head forwards and become aware of the pressure at the mooladhara chakra (see figure 2).
Follow exactly the same instructions as given for alternative 1 as far as reaching awareness of the bindu.
Then mentally repeat 'bindu' 3 times: 'bindu - bindu - bindu'.
Lean forward and grasp the big toe of the right foot with the fingers of both hands.
Keep the right leg straight.
Practise shambhavi mudra and moola bandha.
Repeat 'shambhavi - khechari - moof from 3
to 12 times, passing your awareness through the seats of these practices as you repeat their names (figure 3).
Release shambhavi mudra.
Raise the spine to the upright position and again place the two hands on the right knee. Again fix awareness on bindu and descend through the spinal passage as described for alternative method 1 (see figure 4). The first round is completed when your awareness reaches mooladhara chakra. The whole process of 1 round is shown in the accompanying pictures. Immediately start the second round. Repeat mentally 'mooladhara' 3 times and then ascend the frontal passage.
Do 4 complete rounds.
Then change to sitting position 2, that is, with line left leg straight and the right leg folded under the buttocks.
Make sure that the side of the right heel is firmly pressing against the mooladhara chakra. Do 4 more complete rounds. Then sit in position 3; that is, both legs straight in front of the body. Do 4 more complete rounds. This is the complete practice of maha mudra, alternative 2.
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