Shambhavi Mudra – Meaning, Procedure, Benefits

By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S

Shambhavi Mudra is called as ‘the eyebrow center gazing gesture’.

It is one of the highly regarded and practices gesture in Yogic and Tantric texts. It is very powerful gesture used in meditation. It is used to bring the mind into a state of balance and experience higher states of consciousness. It is mentioned in the yogic text named Gheranda Samhita. This gesture involves gazing at the eyebrow center.

There is another gesture named Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya which is taught and preached by Isha Foundation. Some people tell that both are same. According to some, Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya is a development over the traditional Shambhavi Mudra and is used by the foundation as a course. It activates your third eye chakra. Shambhavi Mudra too has the same impact in energizing your third eye chakra. When this is achieved you gain insight into the true nature of the things. You tap into your intuition and your psychic insight.
Read – Chakra – Kundalini: Introduction, Meaning, Types, Location, Ayurveda View

Procedure

  • Sit in any comfortable position. You can prefer sitting in meditative poses like Sukhasana i.e. easy pose, Siddhasana i.e. accomplished pose or Padmasana i.e. lotus pose.
  • Assume Jnana mudra or Chin Mudra in your fingers.
  • The palms rest on the knees or thighs.
  • Make an attempt to focus your vision between the eyebrows. Roll your eyes upwards and try to gaze at the eyebrow center.
  • It may be difficult at the beginning of the practice. But you may be able to see the two eyebrows as two curved lines meeting at the center of the forehead. It forms a kind of V- shaped line having a dip at the center.
  • Concentrate your eyes on this dip at the junction of the limbs of V. Meditate on this point. Let go off all the thought. While maintaining the focus chant OM. Meditate on the sound of OM reverberating around the spot you are gazing at.
  • Maintain this gesture as long as possible. Initially you may experience pain in the eyes. If there is discomfort relax your eyes and bring them back to the normal position. Take rest for short duration and once again try gazing at the dip. With practice you can maintain this gaze for longer period of time. Do not over strain your eyes. They should be relaxed at all times.
  • While practicing the gesture breathe normally.
  • This gesture will take you into deep meditation state.

Note – This gesture can be done with your eyes closed. For this you should have mastered the art of gazing the mentioned point with open eyes. Then you can visualize the dip between the lines of the eyebrow with closed eyes.
Read – Jnana Mudra (Gyan or Dhyana Mudra) Posture, Benefits

Release –

  • Release the chin mudra.
  • Remove your gaze from the dip in between the eyebrow lines. Relax your eyes.
  • Release from chin mudra.
  • Bring your hands on the top of your thighs / knees.
  • Breathe freely and relax.

Benefits

  • It is one of the most important mudras for meditation
  • Helps to transcend the mind and reach higher states of consciousness, can help you to reach the state of Samadhi
  • When you fix your eyes at the point in between your brows, the mind will settle down. With this, the thought process gets arrested.
  • When you master this gesture, you become equal to the divine trinity i.e. Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma (Gheranda Samhita)
  • It is a good exercise to your eyes and strengthens the eye muscles. The eyes water when you do this gesture. This cleanses your eye and lets out the toxins.
  • This gesture activates and energizes Ajna Chakra i.e. the third eye chakra
  • It will create heightened level of insight
  • Improves interpersonal communication skills
  • Establishes good communication and balance between the left and right hemispheres of the brain
  • Relaxes the brain and mind
  • Develops psychic power
    Read – Muladhara Chakra – The Root Chakra, Features, How To Activate?

Side effects

Shambhavi mudra gesture might cause you a headache. It may also cause eye strain and pain when overdone or not done properly. If you keep your gaze relaxed you will not get headache.

Time and Duration

You may spend about 6-10 minutes doing this gesture. You can gradually extent the duration as you get comfort into doing it.

You should do this gesture on empty stomach. If you are doing after meal, you should practice it at least 1-2 hours after food.  

For obvious results and good benefits you need to practice it for at least 2 months.
Read – Mudra – The Science Of Gesture: Benefits, Types, How To Practice

Impact on Chakras

As already said, Shambhavi Mudra has immense balancing effect on Ajna Chakra i.e. the third eye chakra. The gesture also energizes it. But this doesn’t come easily. It needs constant practice. It is probably easily achieved in those who already have balance of the lower chakras.

Impact on Doshas

Seeing the immense balancing effect of Shambhavi Mudra on the body and mind, it can be inferred that it has a strong impact in balancing all the physical and mental doshas. Therefore it is tridosha balancing. It also balances raja and tama doshas of mind. It has a good balancing effect on the prana vayu – udana vayu – sadhaka pitta – tarpaka kapha axis. It mainly balances the alochaka pitta located in the eye. This pitta has two components; one limited to the functions of the eye and the other to the intellectual and thought processing level.

Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya

It is a protocol within the Isha Yoga lineage. It includes both pranayama and meditation based techniques. A kriya is a yogic action or inner technique, such as breath control. This mahamudra is an integrative system of several breathing techniques. This incorporates multiple limbs of traditional Raja Yoga or the yoga described by Patanjali in Yoga Sutras. The practice is performed for 21 minutes daily. In this multiple deep, controlled breathing techniques and the engagement of bandhas or muscular locks in the abdomen and pelvic floor are applied for 15 minutes. The practice concluded with about 5 minutes of open monitoring meditation. Thus, Shambhavi Mahamudra is a Yogic breathing practice and thus different from Shambhavi Mudra. (read)

Research

  • Studies have shown that cortisol awakening responses are higher in people who have practiced Shambhavi
  • Constant practice of this mudra also increases BDNF, i.e. Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor
  • There will be improvement in inflammatory markers
  • After a constant practice for 90 days, you are 6.4 years younger than what you were, on the cellular level
  • The level of calmness of the mind multiplies manifold while the brain is still active
  • Unlike other Buddhist meditations, studies have shown that in Shambhavi Mahamudra people become very peaceful, pleasant and at the same time their brain activity goes up

Read Related Research Article –

Effects of Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya, a multi-component breath-based Yogic Practice (Pranayama) on Perceived Stress and General Well-Being

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