Unmani Mudra – Meaning, Method Of Practice, Benefits

By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Unmani Mudra is one of the Mana Mudra i.e. head gesture practice. It points to the state which is beyond thought and all worldly and materialistic attachments are released. It is more of a mental practice than a physical practice. It is called as mindlessness mudra.

Introduction

Unmani = no mind / no thinking / beyond the mind / thoughtless
Mudra = gesture / seal / lock / pose / mark
Read – Mudra – The Science Of Gesture: Benefits, Types, How To Practice

This mudra describes a state of transition between two states of consciousness – waking and dreaming. In this gesture the practitioner is neither fully awake nor fully asleep. It can also be considered as the transition between conscious and unconscious thought patterns. It is not a state of meditation. Therefore it doesn’t need an awakened state. In this state the eyes perceive but one does not see.

The term unmani is also used to describe a state of Samadhi or one of its level.
Read – Samadhi – Meaning, Types, Effects, Views

It is a meditation practice. In this, the yogi attains a state which is free of all thoughts. It is called as ‘mediation on empty space’.

‘Without support for the mind, one should become thoughtless, then one will remain like a space which is both inside and outside ajar’ – Hatha Yoga Pradipika 4/61. This is the state of meditation – unmani.

‘Whatever there is in the world, animate and inanimate, is only the scenery of the mind. When the mind achieves a state of unmani then ignorance and duality cease’ – Hatha Yoga Pradipika 4/61.

Unmani implies that state which is beyond thought-meditation.
Read – Hatha Yoga and Shat Karmas: Benefits, Precautions

Procedure

  • Sit in any comfortable position. It is good to take to some yoga pose like Sukhasana i.e. easy pose, Vajrasana i.e. diamond pose or Padmasana i.e. lotus pose.
  • Keep your spine erect.
  • Keep your eyes wide open. Remember not to strain your eyes.
  • Try to bring your awareness to the Bindu Chakra located at the back of your head.
  • Gradually bring the awareness to the descending chakras i.e. Ajna, Vishuddha, Anahata, Manipura, Swadishtana and Muladhara. The awareness should gradually descend from the uppermost to the lowermost chakra.
  • The eyes slowly close with each chakra.
  • In spite of keeping your eyes open, your attention should be focused on the chakras and the awarohini i.e. descending nadi. This means to tell that you should be looking inside of you even when you have kept your eyes open.
  • When the awareness reaches the Muladhara chakra i.e. root chakra, your eyes shall be completely closed or slightly open.
  • This is one cycle. Repeat the same procedure for 11 rounds.
    Read – Chakra – Kundalini: Introduction, Meaning, Types, Location, Ayurveda View

Other way of doing –

  • Select a small point of focus, the target point in front of you. Center your look on it.
  • Continue looking that point of attention as you breathe gently.
  • After sometime reduce the gap between your eye lids gradually until they are more than half closed. Maintain this position.
  • Gradually transfer your concentration into a gazing look.
  • This procedure will help you attain a level that you are ‘lost’ and are just aware of the spot.
  • Finally you will not see and realize anything. You will merge with the spot.
  • By doing so, you go beyond the mind state of consciousness.
    Read – Tips To Enhance Effect Of Mudra, 5 Mudra Groups, Rules Of Hasta Mudra

What is the person trying to do in this gesture and what he gains?

The person, in this gesture is trying to fix his attention or consciousness on a point or idea. By doing this, he makes the mind blank for certain duration. The person tries to make self void. This enables influx of divinity. The divinity fills the void. In this gesture one can direct the pranic energy anywhere he desired to do in the body. This can be achieved by thinking self as hollow inside and sending the thoughts to the place where he wants the current to flow. The practitioner should abolish all thoughts. He should neither be inside or outside his mind. Thus, the mind will lose its identity, just as the oil disappears in the fire and salt disappears in the water. With this, the practitioner will be rewarded by attainment of siddhis such as clairvoyance and the ability to perceive and read the thoughts in other’s mind. The person contemplating the void / space while walking, standing and dreaming will become absorbed in the space.

The practitioner will experience something extraordinary unlike anything he has experienced before. He will feel like an entirely transformed person, devoid of faults and limitations. He feels as if he is living a new life. He becomes beloved to all and also acquires spiritual powers. This is one of the processes of emancipation.

The practitioner becomes fully saturated with goodness i.e. sattva guna by making the mind free and open.
Read –
Manasika Doshas – Satva, Rajas, Tamas As Per Ayurveda

Interesting points

Other interesting points about Unmani Mudra
Lord Krishna tells Arjuna about this Unmani Mudra.
It is defined as a blissful state of Rajayoga.

It manifests on its own when one gives up all prana-activities and mental activities and transcends one’s body and mind. It manifests when the practitioner attains the fourth stage of consciousness i.e. turya avastha. It is attained by complete amalgamation of prana and mind in the eternal self situated above and beyond the eyebrow junction i.e. bhru-madhya chakra in the sushumna nadi. The yogis call this as ‘nishpanna avastha’ i.e. state of fulfillment.

Lord Krishna tells – ‘Hey Arjun, in an accomplished yogi, the unmani mudra manifests by itself whenever he does asanas, pranayamas and hatha yoga mudras. Yoga shastra refers to these yogis as the liberated yogis or jeevan muktas’.
Read – 24 Stress Management Tips: Pranayama, Meditation, Lifestyle Changes

Time and duration

  • This mudra shall be practiced for a period of 5-10 minutes.
  • It is preferable that you do this mudra in the earliest hours of the day and on empty stomach. This will give you optimum results of the gesture.

Precautions –
Do not practice this gesture if you have glaucoma, have undergone a recent eye surgery or suffering from diabetic retinopathy.
Read – Diabetes: Ayurvedic Treatment, Remedies, Prevention Tips

Benefits

  • Reduces stress and agitation
  • Gives peace of mind
  • Enables one to achieve the state of Samadhi
  • Unfolds the inner glories of the spirit through Samadhi
  • Helps in focusing away from the disturbances and deviations and mental chatter
  • The practitioner will always be carefree and cheerful
  • It establishes total harmony in the body and mind
  • The practitioner enjoys supreme health in his body and mind throughout his life
  • The mind functions without the hindrance of conflicting thoughts and analysis

Effect on Chakras This mudra energizes and creates awareness in all the 6 chakras.

Impact on doshas –
Unmani Mudra is one of the highly praised gestures. It is beneficial for overall body-mind-sensual-spiritual health and well being. It can be inferred that this gesture has a balancing impact on all three doshas and all tissues.
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