By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Ashwini Mudra is called as horse gesture. It is a beginner’s yoga technique that involves contracting the anal sphincter in a rhythmic way. This is to direct the prana i.e. life force energy upwards along the spine through the sushumna nadi, the body’s main energy channel.
Read – Mudra – The Science Of Gesture: Benefits, Types, How To Practice
Ashwini – horse
Mudra – gesture / seal / mark / pose
It shall not be confused with mula bandha or vajroli mudra which also involves contraction of muscles below the abdominal region. This is said to improve the health of colon and conserve the pranic energy.
- Take any comfortable sitting position. The yoga meditation poses like Padmasana i.e. lotus pose, Siddhasana i.e. accomplished pose, Vajrasana i.e. diamond pose or Sukhasana i.e. easy pose shall be preferred. It can also be practiced in an inversion pose like Salamba Sarvangasana i.e. supported shoulder stand with knees bent and dropped forwards. You can also prefer doing it sitting on a chair.
- Relax the body and breathe normally. Be aware of your breathing by focusing on the mechanism.
- Now contract the anal sphincter muscles and hold it for few seconds.
- Next release the anal muscles and breathe normally for few seconds.
- Repeat this practice, for as long as you are comfortable doing.
Variant 1 –
- This gesture can be practiced in tandem with the breath.
- Contract the anal sphincter muscles while breathing in and hold it for some seconds
- Breathe out while releasing the sphincter muscles
- Repeat this process for as long as you can do it
Read – Tips To Enhance Effect Of Mudra, 5 Mudra Groups, Rules Of Hasta Mudra
- Sit on your heels on a rolled up towel or tennis ball. The pressure is felt on the Muladhara Chakra i.e. root chakra.
- Breathe in. Fill the lungs for about one third of its total capacity.
- Contract and relax the anus for 15 times, roughly twice per every second.
- Next exhale gradually.
- Again inhale as said above.
- Exhale yet again.
- Once again inhale as said above.
- Contract and relax for about 15 more times.
- Hold the breath. Pull the shoulders forward and press the chin against the chest for a moment.
- Feel the heat and pressure which builds up in the process.
- Take a sniff of air. Exhale through the nose as you release your tension.
- Feel the energy throughout the body. Visualize the energy moving up the spine.
Related Video – Ashwini Mudra – how to do
Variant 3 –
- Lie down in supine position and exhale.
- While inhaling, contract the abdomen and slowly raise both the legs to 90 degree angle from the floor.
- While exhaling raise the waist and hips from the floor and take the legs backwards over the head.
- While inhaling, raise the back and the legs up into a vertical position, placing the hands on the upper back for support.
- Rest your chin against the chest creating the chin lock.
- Inhale now.
- While exhaling bend both the legs.
- Lower the legs from the hips. Bring the thighs towards the abdomen.
- Keep your knees together or slightly apart.
- In this position begin contracting and expanding the anal muscles while breathing normally.
Read – Chakra – Kundalini: Introduction, Meaning, Types, Location, Ayurveda View
- Stop the contraction and expansion of the anus.
- Straighten the legs from the hips while inhaling.
- While exhaling, bend in the waist and slowly lower the legs over the head.
- Release your hands from the upper back.
- Slowly lower the back to the floor while slowly inhaling. Lower the back vertebrae by vertebrae keeping the legs at 90 degree angle from the floor.
- Slowly lower both your legs back to the supine position while slowly exhaling.
- Relax your body and breathe normally.
- Bestows the control of anal muscles, just like a horse
- Cures all diseases of the rectum and anus
- The gesture can also be done in an inverted pose. In this case it helps in cure of piles. It also provides cure for rectal and uterine prolapse.
- It is a cure for constipation
- Regular practice makes the walls of the large intestine firmer
- Conserves the prana that tends to move down and escape from the body, turns the prana upwards. With each contraction prana raises to a certain level. In order to pump the prana energy to the top of the head, women need to complete 5 contractions of anal muscles. Men should complete 4 contractions to achieve the same. Once you achieve mastery over it, the prana can be pumped with a single contraction.
- Awakens the dormant Kundalini Shakti (Gheranda Samhita)
- Provides strength and vigor, prevents premature death
- Slows down the ageing process, wards off wrinkles, graying of hair, baldness and joint pains. When you perform it daily, it keeps you young. It keeps your skin healthy and makes you look young.
- This is one of the best mudras to conquer stress and depression
- Ideal remedy for hair fall
- Has good effects on the empty spaces in the stomach, the functions of stomach improves due to the pressure created in the gesture
- It is good for uterine health in women
- Tones up the muscles of the pelvis and the nerves surrounding the anal sphincters
- It is an important exercise for preparing the mother for childbirth. It supports the growing weight of the fetus. It strengthens the uterine muscles.
- It is a preparatory mudra for practicing mula bandha and maha mudra
- It helps in the process of increasing the awareness and also brings peace to your mind. It is one of the best gestures for anxiety.
- It makes the blood circulation proper and eases the muscles of your posterior region
- Improves your sexual health by improving the strength of the muscles of the pelvis and improving blood circulation therein. It awakens the sexual energies and sense of pleasure that come from the earth and water chakras to rise up to the higher chakras.
- It is good for heart health. It is one of the best practices to control high blood pressure.
Related Reading – https://www.healthnwellnessmantra.com/ashwini-mudra/
Philosophy behind the gesture
It is called as gesture of the horse because the anal contraction here resembles the movement a horse makes with its sphincter immediately after evacuation of the bowels.
This gesture generates intense energy in the lower body while keeping it contained. Increase in energy levels builds up the pressure in the energy channels. Once the containment is released, the pressurized energy shoots up the spine. The energy travels upwards breaking through all blocks, barriers and restrictions.
This is a powerful technique to pump the energy up into the Manipura Chakra. This is a powerful gesture which involves the contraction and relaxation of the butts, muscles, sphincter, perineum and pelvis.
Read – Yogasana – Spiritual, Physical And Mental Benefits, Classification
- Women suffering from severe uterine problems should not practice this gesture.
- Avoid this during pregnancy and menstruation.
- Those having high blood pressure and brain diseases shall avoid this gesture.
- It should be avoided by patients who are suffering from enlarged thyroid, spleen or liver, cervical spondylosis, slipped disc, headache and weak blood vessels in the eyes.
Effect on Chakras
It awakens the Kundalini Shakti energy. It pumps the prana energy upwards and probably activates all the upper chakras. It mainly pumps the energy into the Manipura Chakra i.e. solar plexus. It also balances muladhara chakra and swadishtana chakras.
Impact on Doshas and Tissues
Seeing the benefits of the Ashwini Mudra, we can infer that this gesture has a balancing effect on apana vayu, samana vayu and prana vayu. It also balances the prana-apana axis. The coordination between these two vayus is responsible for many activities to be accomplished in a smoother way in the body.
This gesture strengthens the mamsa dhatu i.e. muscle tissue. It is also good for circulation of rasa and blood tissue.