By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Kaki Mudra which is called as crow’s beak gesture is a form of controlled breathing. It is a beneficial gesture which promotes health, digestion, immunity and longevity. It is called so because in this gesture, the practitioner keeps his lips rounded so as to imitate the beak of a crow. Simultaneously he breathes through his pursed lips. The breath is taken in through the pursed lips and exhaled through the nostrils.
Kaki = crow / crow beak
Mudra = gesture / seal / pose / mark
Here we can observe that the pursed lips act as a tube through which air is sucked slowly and deeply into your lungs as you keep your tongue relaxed.
- Sit in any comfortable position. Prefer taking a meditation asana like Sukhasana i.e. easy pose, Padmasana i.e. lotus pose, Vajrasana i.e. diamond pose, Siddhasana i.e. accomplished pose or Swastikasana i.e. the auspicious pose.
- Sit on a mat preferably and not on the floor directly. This gesture can be done even sitting on a chair.
- Keep your spine straight. Keep your hands on your thighs or knee such that the palms face upwards. Alternatively you can keep your hands in chin or jnana mudra gesture.
- Close your eyes. Breath easily with your concentration diverted and focused on your inhalation and exhalation.
- Now purse your lips to make it rounded and projected like a crow’s beak.
- Focus your attention on the tip of the nose.
- Now slowly breathe in and deeply through your mouth i.e. pursed lips. When your lungs are full, close the mouth.
- Hold the air inside for few seconds.
- Bend the head so that the chin touches your throat.
- Hold the breath as long as possible.
- When you are ready to exhale, lift the neck upwards.
- Close the lips and breathe out slowly through your nose.
- Repeat this for at least 2-5 minutes. You can practice this gesture for longer duration if you wish and can.
- Ease your lips.
- Open your eyes slowly.
- Breathe easily and relax.
Other method –
In this gesture you can use your hands to close your nostrils while you hold the air inside you for few seconds. For this, join the corresponding finger tips of both hands. Take the hands to the nose. With the help of right thumb close the right nostril and with the help of left thumb close the left nostril.
- As said above you need to breathe in the air through your pursed lips.
- Puff out your cheeks.
- Close your nostrils with the thumbs of both hands.
- Retain the air for few seconds, as much as you can.
- When you are ready to exhale, release the thumbs and breathe out through your nose while closing the mouth.
- Strengthens the mouth and cheeks
- Strengthens the facial muscles, tones the face, increases facial luster
- The inhaled air stimulates the wall of the mouth and pharynx, activates digestive secretions
- Cleanses the mouth, gums and the entire upper digestive tract
- Improves sense of taste, stimulates saliva secretion
- Strengthens the nasal passage
- Strengthens the respiratory system,
- Calms the nervous system
- It is a therapeutic breathing technique since it helps people who have a tendency to hyper-inflate their lungs. This includes those who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, panic attacks and broncho-spasms. It is beneficial for patients having respiratory rehabilitation and for those who tend to over-breathe during exercise. It is highly effective in slowing and controlling the breath because the air flow is restricted during both inhalation and exhalation.
- Has coolant effect on the body
- Calms the mind and releases the tensions
- Relieves high blood pressure
- Bestows benefits of Nasikagra Dhrishti i.e. vision focused on the nose tip since in this gesture the attention is held on the nose tip
- Eliminates many illnesses, keeps the body healthy
- Good for skin, reduces wrinkles of the face, enhances complexion, natural outer beauty enhancer, refreshes and rejuvenates the skin
- Reduces skin blemishes
- Removes age related symptoms, will make you look young
- The person is said to live for many years with good health, just like the crows. Thus this gesture enhances longevity.
- Affects the thyroid and parathyroid glands and hence may be beneficial for those suffering from imbalances of thyroid hormones
- Balances the fifth chakra, i.e. vishuddha / throat chakra, which is related to thyroid gland and its functioning
Read – Chakra – Kundalini: Introduction, Meaning, Types, Location, Ayurveda View
- Avoid practicing this gesture if you are suffering from glaucoma, low blood pressure, cough or cold
- You may also avoid this if you have diabetic retinopathy or if you have had a recent eye operation. You can do it after getting a nod from an expert consultant.
- Take care not to strain your eyes during practice.
Time and Duration
- You can practice this gesture for 3-4 minutes at a stretch. With expertise you can stretch the duration of practice and do as much as you can.
- It may be performed at any time of the day but doing it early in the morning is highly beneficial.
- It should not be performed in cold weather.
- Preferably you should practice this gesture on empty stomach, for better results.
Read – Muladhara Chakra – The Root Chakra, Features, How To Activate?
Relation with the Chakras
As already said, this gesture stimulates, balances and energizes the fifth chakra i.e. throat chakra. Therefore it is good for throat and thyroid functions.
Impact on doshas and tissues
Seeing the benefits of kaki gesture we can derive the below mentioned impact of it on doshas and tissues of the body.
- Stimulates and motivates bodhaka kapha, keeps its balance
- Controls prana vayu – udana vayu axis and enables proper breathing mechanism
- Balances avalambaka kapha and supports the respiratory system
- Balances tarpaka kapha and prana vata and calms the nervous system
- Since it has coolant effect on the body, it balances pitta, relieves high blood pressure and other high pitta disorders
- Balances high pitta in the gut, suitable remedy for digestive disorders related to high pitta
Coming to tissues –
- Balances rasa tissue, keeps it healthy, enables good supply of nutrition to the body, especially skin and hence takes care of skin health
- Strengthens the smooth muscles of the face and oral cavity, throat and nasal passages, also strengthens chest muscles