A quick summary of drishti and mudra meanings for Kundalini Yoga practice
In Kundalini Yoga, drishti and mudras are important aspects of the practice that contribute to the flow of energy, focus, and transformation. Here’s a brief explanation of the meaning and significance of different types of drishti (gaze) and mudras (hand gestures) commonly used in Kundalini Yoga:
Drishti involves directing the gaze to a specific focal point while maintaining a posture or meditative state. This technique has a profound impact on the deeper brain glands due to the close proximity of the optical nerve to the pineal, pituitary, and hypothalamus glands. In Kundalini Yoga, the two most prevalent eye focuses are fixating on the tip or the root of the nose. These focal points serve as conduits to activate the gateway of the blue pearl, thus stimulating the pituitary and pineal glands and inducing a general sense of mental tranquility.
The blue pearl represents a distinct meditative realm that emerges and becomes visible during profound meditation. The pressure sensations experienced while holding these eye positions originate from the optic nerve, exerting pressure on the pituitary and hypothalamus glands.
Engaging in drishti during meditation is thought to aid the ability to influence and regulate the entire glandular system, thereby fostering a heightened sense of control.
Forehead Center (Third Eye Point)
In Kundalini Yoga, this serves as our fundamental focal point. Begin by gently closing your eyes and raising your gaze to the brow point. Your concentration will rest at the midpoint of your forehead, slightly above the eyebrows, approximately a quarter of an inch higher than the base of your nose, and at the same internal distance within your skull.
This internal shift draws your awareness inward, aligning with the Sixth Chakra, known as the Ajna Chakra. It also activates the pituitary gland and the shushmana (central spinal channel) and cultivates intuitive insight.
To practice, softly open your eyes, allowing them to rest on the tip of your nose. Avoid crossing your eyes. If any discomfort arises, release the gaze and attempt again once any discomfort subsides. This technique may require some acclimatisation.
This drishti invigorates the spirit, balances the ida, pingala, and shushmana nadis (left, right, and central channels of the spine), stimulates the pineal gland and the frontal lobe of the brain, and forges novel neural pathways and circuits within the brain.
Chin Center (Moon Center)
As you close your eyes, redirect your attention downward to the center of your chin. This particular focus corresponds to the Moon Center.
This drishti instills a soothing and cooling effect, harmonizes emotional responses, and enhances self-perception and clarity.
Crown Summit (Tenth Gate)
With your eyes gently closed, center your focus at the uppermost point of your skull, envisioning as if you had a skylight on your head through which you could peer outward. This zone corresponds to the Crown Chakra, also known as the Tenth Gate. Extend your awareness from this point.
This drishti stimulates the pineal gland and activates the Crown Chakra, cultivates a sensation of boundless expansion, and nurtures a state of universal or God consciousness.
1/10th Open, 9/10ths Closed
Begin by shutting your eyes, then cautiously open them to about 1/10th of their capacity, allowing a slight vision.
This drishti steadies the optic nerve, minimizing sensory input to enhance meditation and promotes tranquility and nurtures intuitive faculties.
Mudras (Hand Gestures):
Gyan Mudra (Seal of knowledge): Touching the tip of the index finger to the tip of the thumb, with the other fingers extended. This mudra enhances wisdom, knowledge, calmness and receptivity. It stimulates the air element and the root of the thumb corresponds to the universal consciousness. The index finger is associated with Jupiter, representing expansion.
Shuni Mudra (Seal of patience): Touching the tip of the middle finger to the tip of the thumb, with the other fingers extended. This mudra promotes patience, discipline, and commitment. The middle finger is associated with Saturn, which is the task master, low of karma and taking responsibility to hold to our duties.
Surya or Ravi Mudra (Seal of the sun, seal of life): Touching the ring finger to the thumb. The other fingers remain extended. This mudra is associated with energy, vitality, and activation of the fire element. It gives nervous system strength, good health and power to succeed. The ring finger is associated with the Sun (energy, health, sexuality) or Uranus (nervous system, intuition, change).
Buddhi Mudra (Seal of clarity): Touching the tip of the little finger to the tip of the thumb, with the other fingers extended. This mudra enhances communication, intuition, and clarity. It stimulates the ether element and represents the expansion of consciousness and psychic development. The little finger is associated with Mercury for quickness and the mental power of communication.
Prana Mudra: Touching the tips of the thumb, ring finger, and little finger together, with the other fingers extended. This mudra promotes vital energy, healing, and balance of the five elements within the body.
Apana Mudra: Touching the tips of the thumb, middle finger, and ring finger together, with the other fingers extended. This mudra supports elimination, detoxification, and grounding. It relates to the downward-moving energy in the body.
Dhyan/Buddha Mudra: Resting the hands on the lap, right hand on top of the left, with thumbs gently touching. This mudra encourages deep meditation, inner reflection, and balance of masculine and feminine energies.
Prayer Pose (Pranam Mudra): Bringing the palms of the hands together at the heart center, fingers pointing upward. The palms are flat together to balance the positive (right or masculine) and negative (left or feminine) sides of the body. The thumbs are separate from the fingers. This mudra signifies unity, humility, and the acknowledgment of the divine within oneself and others.
Bear Grip: Left palm faces out from the chest with the thumb down. The right palm faces the chest and the fingers curl together. Curl the fingers of both hands so the hands for a fist. This mudra stimulates the heart and intensifies concentration.
Venus Lock: Bring the fingers together and interlace them, creating a lock. This mudra connects positive and negative sides of the Venus mound (the fleshy area at the base of the thumbs). The thumbs are associated with the ego and Venus is the planet of energy, sensuality and sexuality. This allows for sexual energy to be channeled appropriately and promotes glandular balance. It also helps to bring clarity and focus if resting this mudra in your lap during meditation. For the masculine polarity, have the left pinkie at the bottom, and for the feminine polarity have the right pinkie at the bottom.
The practice of drishti and mudras in Kundalini Yoga can vary depending on specific exercises, kriyas, and intentions.
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