Shanmukhi षण्मुख मुद्रा or Yoni Mudra योनि मुद्रा
Shanmukhi or Yoni योनि Mudra, "The complete gesture", "The closing of the six gates". It may also be called Yoni mantra योनिमन्त्र.
Shanmukhi, from षण्मुख (ṣaṇmukha), having six mouths or faces. The term is composed of two Sanskrit words – ‘shat’ ( ṣaṭ six षट्) and ‘mukhi’ (मूकी mūkī mouths or gates; मुख mukha mouth). So the full name means the ‘six-gated mudra’. The six gates refer to the two eyes, two ears, nose and the mouth. The purpose of the Shanmukhi Mudra is to symbolically shut the mind from the five senses so the mind can maintain an inward focus in the state of pratyahara (sense withdrawal) and get ready for meditation.
This is a technique of sensory isolation. The elbow are raised, shoulders backward and the following gestures are executed:
- Closing of the ears with the thumbs
- Closing of the eyes with second fingers resting on the eyelids
- Closing of the nose with the third finger
- Closing of the mouth by encircling it with the fourth and fifth gingers
The focus is on light and sound, by adopting Maddya Drishti in the inner vision. Breathing is the link, the orchestrator.
In this technique, one opens and closes the nostrils alternatively by slightly moving the third fingers during breathing and breathing retention. The difficulty of the gesture is to maintain a coherent coordination of the fingers and of the breathing cycles. The third fingers must always be in touch with the nostrils.
While exhaling, imagine the air descending to the root, close the nostrils, pause and imagine the energy moving in the base as if doing three loops from front to back and top to bottom. Upon completion of each loop, stimulate the root center through Ashvini Mudra while enunciating silently the Bija "OM". The simultaneous visualization, contraction, and enunciation at the level of the root are done three times.
Then, inhale through the nostrils, and visualize the air ascending to the heart, close the nostrils, halt half full, three times, again establish Ashvini Mudra, Bija 'Om', and the visualization of the loops in the heart.
Then, inhale through the nostrils, and visualize the air ascending to the forehead, close the nostrils, halt half full, three times, again establish Ashvini Mudra, and the visualization of the loops in the forehead.
Then, exhale through the nostrils, and visualize the air descending to the heart, close the nostrils, halt half empty, three times, again establish Ashvini Mudra, and the visualization of the loops in the heart.
Then, exhale through the nostrils, and visualize the air descending to the root, close the nostrils, halt half empty, three times, again establish Ashvini Mudra, and the visualization of the loops in the root.
Proceed in this way, without hurry, focus on the pathway of the movement, on the count of each loop on the contractions. Finally, when possible increase the count (loops and contractions) to 4 and then to 5, and more in an even way for each center. Increase the breathing in the half-breathing, without hurry, while feeling the vibration and light as well as the condensation of the energy in the spine.
If the practice is correct, it must generate intense heat and vibration as well as an enhancement of the perception of the sound and light. It is normal, in the beginning of this practice to feel uneasy or out of breath, or even to have to interrupt the exercise. In such cases, allow the breathing and focus to return, and start over, without hurry. However, do not practice less than three loops per center.