By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Kha or Khe in Sanskrit means space or the supreme reality i.e. the Brahman. Khechari Mudra helps the practitioner to move in the blissful infinite consciousness of the supreme reality.
It is considered to be the king of all gestures. It is also an advanced practice that enables the yogis to reach higher states of consciousness.
Read – Mudra – The Science Of Gesture: Benefits, Types, How To Practice
Khechara = Khe / Kha – space + Chara = to move
Mudra = gesture / mark / seal / posture
Gheranda Samhita, Hatha Yoga Pradeepika and various other yogic and tantric treatises explain this gesture and consider it in high regards.
It is a practice wherein the tongue is rolled up to touch the roof of your mouth i.e. palate initially. With practice, the yogi will be able to insert his tongue into the nasal cavity, behind the palate. Therefore it is also called as ‘the tongue lock’. In this gesture, when practiced regularly and on mastering it, the practitioner is said to overcome his thirst, hunger, decay and death. It is a highly advanced practice and it may take months to years to master the art. Eventually when he becomes successful, the yogi will be able to taste the Amrita i.e. nectar which flows from the roof of the nasal cavity. This nectar is said to energize the body and help to overcome the need for thirst and food.
There are two ways of performing the gesture.
- The first practice includes cutting the frenum beneath the tongue. This is advised to be done in Hatha Yoga method of practice. The frenum membrane below the tongue is cut bit by bit. This enables extension of the tongue backwards and its easy entry into the nasal cavity. This is only for advanced yogis. It should not be tried alone and should be practiced under the guidance of an expert yogi who has mastered the khechari gesture.
- In the second way of practice the frenum is not cut. Cutting the frenum is not advised in the Raja Yoga method of practice. With certain practices like Talabya kriya, the tongue can be made long enough to enter the nasal cavity.
Read – Hatha Yoga and Shat Karmas: Benefits, Precautions
Khechari Mudra can be practiced in conjunction with other yoga practices like Ujjayi Pranayama, Shambhavi Mudra and other meditation techniques.
It can be practiced with pranayama and shambhavi mudra by gazing at the eyebrow centre. All these gestures are symbolic of turning the mind inwards. It is said that when we enter deeper states of meditation, khechari prevents the air from coming out of the lungs, thus acting in the same way as jalandhara bandha. Thus it enables oxygen retention in the lungs.
Read – Types Of Pranayama – Effect on Health – Through An Ayurveda View-Point
- Sit in a comfortable position. Take to any comfortable Yoga asana.
- Close your eyes and focus on the Ajna Chakra.
- Close the mouth.
- Roll the tongue up so that it touches the palate. Try to push your tongue as far back as you can. Initially you may just be able to touch the hard palate. Some may touch the soft palate also. Keep your tongue in position where it touches the palate for as long as you are comfortable. Initially you may just be able to manage this for a minute or less. Once your tongue starts to pain, release the tongue and bring it back to the normal position. Rest for some time and give a try again.
- This process should be continued until you will be able to hold the tongue in touch with the palate for considerably a longer duration.
- With practice you will be able to carry your tongue further back in position. Some day you might just touch the uvula at the back of your throat with your tongue. With further practice your tongue can reach a point beyond the uvula.
- Next, the tongue should be able to enter the nasal cavity. After achieving this, one should be able to hold it there for at least few minutes. While doing this, one can maintain normal breathing. One will observe as he masters this gesture and progress ahead that the breathing rate will go down to 5-8 breaths per minute or even lesser.
- Once in the nasal cavity, the tongue can stimulate certain points and centers which are connected to the brain. Constant churning of the tongue in the nasal cavity will produce a liquid that emanates from its roof. Its taste varies. Initially it may taste salty. In this case one can spit it out. Later on, the juice turns sweet in taste. Finally the nectar is produced. It is consumed by the yogi and it nourishes the body.
Read – Chakra – Kundalini: Introduction, Meaning, Types, Location, Ayurveda View
Related Video – Technique and benefits
- It helps overcome thirst, hunger and laziness
- The practitioner / yogi doesn’t suffer from any disease, decay or death
- It builds up a strong immune system and makes the body divine
- According to Gheranda Samhita and Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, the yogi becomes immune to the poison and snake bites
- Helps the practitioner to attain Samadhi i.e. a state of super consciousness
- The secretions i.e. nectar has anti-ageing effect and is highly beneficial to the body
- The yogi can use this gesture for astral traveling. The gesture helps the practitioner to detach the astral body from the physical body and travel in the astral planes.
- It stimulates all the chakras and helps balance of the energetic pathways throughout the body. The entire body of the practitioner will be revitalized as the nectar of the gods is released and flows from the third eye chakra throughout the body.
- It enables one to raise the Kundalini energy and access various stores of amrita in the head. This subsequently floods the body. (Kecharividya – a Hathayoga text)
- It will propel a devotee / yogi into a state of universal awareness of God
- It probably stimulates the release of neuro-transmitters like dopamine. These are calming and soothing. With this, the practitioner experiences profound state of calmness and well-being.
- It gives control over the speech
- Do not jump into the practice of this mudra. With slight mistake, the tongue can get injured. You may face other complications too.
- Do not practice this gesture in the absence of an expert Yoga / Mudra teacher.
Related Video – tongue lock
Effect on the Chakras
The tongue lock gesture is said to awaken the kundalini energy and enable its upward movement. This in turn enables stimulation of all the chakras up to the ajna chakra. Thus this gesture has a balancing effect on all the chakras and their energies.
Effect on the tissues
Seeing the benefits of the tongue lock gesture, we can infer that it has a balancing effect on all the physical and mental doshas. It also enriches all the tissues and ojus, the immune component of the body. This enables one to attain an optimum state of body-mind-sensual and spiritual health.
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