Hathayoga Nādi Purification and Mudra Techniques Lesson

This is my self-study of a particular combination of alternate nostril pranayama and mudra exercises as taught by Yoga Therapist Leigh Blashki at the Yoga Australia 2012 conference, which I attended. If you would like to try these advanced hathayoga nādi exercises, please be aware that the efficacy of psychic healing from practicing simple movements with breath cannot be validated, except by one’s own personal experience. Do practice mindfully with gentle intention.

In the yogas of hathayoga and Tantra, it is believed that pranic energy flows through a complex maze of tributaries called nādis in the subtle, or energy, body. The pranayama method of nādi śodhana restores balance to the flow of prana in the subtle body, by using alternate nostril breathing to bring awareness to both left (ida) and right (pingala) polarities of the nādis, while each round of breath engages the Autonomic Nervous System.

The word nādi comes from the Sanskrit root nād, meaning “channel” or “flow”.

Mudra represents a technique for directing vitality to particular behaviours/humours of the subtle body by closing the circuit of the pranic current in the body.

In the esoteric study of the pancha mahābhūta, the subtle or energy body is divided into five Tattvic alchemical phases or humours, which are represented externally in the Universe (tat – macrocosm) as it is internally (tvam – microcosm). Prana, or life force, is said to be composed of the five Tattvas, flowing from spirit to Air, to Fire, to Water, to Earth. Psychic healing is based on the belief that it is the flow of the pranic currents that revitalizes the energy body, which is the subject of this study/lesson.

Each digit on a hand represents one of the five humours or Tattvic phases:

Fire: tejas or agni

Air: vāyu

Ether (Void): ākāśa (or śūnya)

Earth: pṛthvī

Water: āpas or jala

Nādi śodhana is usually practiced with mrigi/nasikagra/nasagra mudra (deer seal), but in this exercise, we replace that mudra with one of the five Tattvic mudras, each of which has an influence on one of the five Tattvic phases:

Jñāna mudra: Thumb to index finger, increases the Air Tattva in the body

Ākāśa mudra: Thumb to middle finger, balances the space within the body

Pṛthvī mudra: Thumb to ring finger, increases the Earth Tattva in the body

Varuṇa mudra: Thumb to little finger, increases the Water Tattva in the body

  1. Begin in a comfortable sitting pose and centre yourself. Check that your seat is the right height. To avoid experiencing groin pain, maintain your hips higher than your knees. Be mindful of your lower back (Check that your lower back is not leaning forward or your upper body is rounded forward).
  2. Calm your breath. Take long, slow, gentle breaths.
  3. Inhale, circle arms from the sides, over your head, and bring palms to touch. Pause. Exhale, bring palms to heart centre.
  4. With both hands, adopt Jñāna mudra.
  5. Imagine that you are holding on to an invisible thread and you can feel the line of energy between the fingertips, as you separate your hands.
  6. Rest left hand on left knee. Hold right hand up, palm facing forward in mudra, and place the mudra over the nose cartilage for one round of nādi śodhana.
  7. Lower the hand. Inhale, circle arms from the sides, over your head, and bring palms to touch. Pause. Exhale, bring palms to heart centre.
  8. Imagine that you are holding on to an invisible thread and you can feel the line of energy between the fingertips, as you separate your hands.
  9. Rest right hand on right knee. Hold left hand up, palm facing forward in mudra, and place the mudra over the nose cartilage for one round of nādi śodhana.
  10. Lower the hand.
  11. Repeat the exercise with ākāśa, pṛthvī, and varuṇa mudras.
  12. To teach this exercise to students, add progressions to what is essentially the same, repetitive exercise that combines nādi śodhana with Tattvic mudras.
  13. Contemplate (and share) your individual experience at the time.

“With the inhalation, imagine drawing in pure, cleansing, relaxing energies. And with each exhalation, imagine expelling all obstacles, stress, and negative emotions.”

– Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep, 2004

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