Yoga Meditation Prep Closing The 7 Gates Mudra
Meditation Prep: Closing the 7 Gates posture (Shanmukhi Mudra) is to be performed at the end of the yoga posture practice. Closing the 7 Gates Mudra supports effort made in Pratyahara, the 5th limb of 8 in Yoga involved with drawing the senses in. Pratyahara practice precedes Breath-work (Pranayama) and Meditation (Dhyana). “Closing the 7 Gates” posture is called a mudra because it is a seal or ‘short cut’ to access the brain and brain stem and influence impressions there in. The purpose is to intercept unconscious habits, refine awareness and build ease in the command of one’s mental, emotional and physical faculties. The individual spirit will begin to shine through, helping to eliminate negative chatter while strengthening the cosmic consciousness.
How to perform this mudra: Sit in a comfortable meditation pose such as simple cross-legged Pose, Lotus Pose or Adept Pose (Siddhasana). Breath in slow and deep while elongating the spine, then exhale completely and feel the abdominal region contract in toward the spine; on a slow inhalation bring both hands up to the ears, press the pads of each thumb to seal the ears closed; spin the hands to bring the index & middle finger to press gently over the eyes, at the full inhalation press the nostrils closed with the ring fingers and rest the baby finger on the upper lip of your closed mouth. Jaw is relaxed. While holding the breath, draw your awareness deep into the body, observe with the mind’s eye. When you can no longer hold the breath in a relaxed and calm fashion, release the breath slowly and comfortably. Repeat 3-5 times. With practice the mudra can be held for longer in a peaceful state. Many who practice “Closing the 7 Gates” or external openings of the head experience seeing colors, geometric shapes and movements, as well, a wonderful sense of well-being and harmony within the self.
Benefits: sharpens the senses of perception, especially hearing, sight and smell; clears the mind, increases relaxation, assists in building a quiet accepting relationship with the self, raises awareness of the breath and one’s relationship to it. Reduces fear, anxiety and improves concentration, rests and massages the eyes.
Precautions: those with schizophrenia, bi-polar during the low stages or those with depression should avoid this pose.
Modifications: This pose can be performed sitting on a chair, bolster or blankets. A dimly light room or practice during darker hours before dawn or at the end of sunset can help at the beginning to reduce visual distractions. May all beings be at peace and prosper, namaste.