Mana mudras utilize the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and lips, and are often used in meditation and kriya/kundalini yoga practices. Practicing such gestures have an array of benefits, from boosting concentration and quelling stress or anger, to strengthening the muscles of the eyes.
Shambhavi Mudra, or Eyebrow Center Gazing
This mana mudra, which is also called bhrumadhya drishti (direct translation: eyebrow center gazing), strengthens the eyes muscles and releases accumulative tension in this area. It calms the mind by removing emotional stress and anger, and develops concentration and mental stability.
This gesture should be avoided if you have glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, or just had eye surgery.
Important note: Do not practice eye mudras while wearing contact lenses or glasses, as they are corrective. Remove and then practice.
Sit in a comfortable meditative posture. Maintain an upright spine and close the eyes. Begin to deepen the awareness of breath, body, and mind.
Relax all the muscles of the face, including the forehead and eye area.
Slowly open the eyes and look at a fixed point in front of you.
From here, look upward and inward, focusing the eyes at the eyebrow center. Keep the head still.
As Swami Satyananda Saraswati stated in his book Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha, “When performed correctly the two curved eyebrows will form a V-shaped image at the root of the nose. This point is the location of the eyebrow center. If the V-formation cannot be seen, the eyes are not converging as they should.”
At first, hold the gaze for just a few seconds. Release the instant you feel strain.
After releasing, close the eyes and relax them. Focus on the dark space in front of the closed eyes. This is one round.
Once you’ve mastered the eye movement, coordinate it with the breath.
As you raise the eyes, slowly inhale through the nose.
Hold the breath while maintaining the mudra.
Length of Practice
Start with 5 rounds and gradually increase to 10 over a one-month period.
Next week: Stay tuned for more mana mudra.
Sophie Herbert is a yoga teacher, contributing editor to Whole Living, singer and artist. She has lived, studied, and volunteered extensively in India; teaches yoga in Brooklyn and Manhattan; and recently released her first full-length album, "Take a Clear Look." Please visit her website at SophieHerbert.com.