Khechari Mudra is a very simple practice that is also known as nabho mudra. Actually there is a far more difficult form of khechari mudra that involves various surgical operations to the tongue, lasting over a period of months. The practice we give here, however, can be done by everyone without any preparation or practice.
Khechari Mudra (Tongue Lock) Technique
Roll your tongue upwards and backwards, so that the lower surface lies in contact with the upper palate.
Stretch the tip of the tongue backwards as far as is comfortable. Don’t strain, for you will be required to hold this position for the duration of ujjayi pranayama. At first you will feel almost immediate discomfort, but with practice you will find that you can perform khechari mudra for longer periods of time. When you feel discomfort, release the tongue for a second or so and then again repeat the tongue lock. This mudra should be incorporated into ujjayi pranayama.
Awareness in Khechari Mudra (Tongue Lock)
This will depend on the meditational practice being performed. However, part of one’s awareness should be on the sound emerging from the throat and the corresponding inhalation and exhalation.
Reasons for the practice of Khechari Mudra (Tongue Lock)
In the neck there are two remarkable organs called the carotid sinuses situated on each side of the main artery supplying the brain with blood, in front of the neck and just below the level of the jaws. These small organs help to control and regulate blood flow and pressure. If there is any fall in blood pressure, it is detected by these two sinuses and the relevant message is sent directly to the brain centre. The brain responds immediately by increasing the heartbeat and contracting the arterioles (tiny blood vessels), thus raising the pressure to its normal level. Any rise in blood pressure is also detected by the carotid sinuses, which inform the brain and the opposite steps are taken to rectify the situation.
Tension and stress are associated with high blood pressure. Ujjayi pranayama by applying a slight pressure on these sinuses in the neck causes them to react as though they have detected high blood pressure, with the result that the heartbeat and the blood pressure are reduced below normal. One becomes physically and mentally relaxed. This is the reason why ujjayi is so important in many meditational practices. It induces overall relaxation, which is essential for success in meditation.
Khechari mudra accentuates this pressure in the throat region and consequently on the two carotid sinuses. The reader can experiment for himself by doing ujjayi firstly without khechari mudra and then with, and compare the difference in pressure.
Ujjayi pranayama is a simple practice but it has many subtle influences on the body and brain, both physical and mental as well as bioplasmic. The slow and deep breathing results in immediate calmness of the mind and body, as well as bringing the bioplasmic body into harmony. Furthermore, the sound at the throat tends to soothe one’s whole being. If one remains aware of this sound for a reasonable period of time to the exclusion of other thoughts, then one will feel immediate benefits.
Khechari Mudra (Tongue Lock) Benefits
As we have said, this practice is mainly used in conjunction with meditation techniques, and it is usually practised in this way. However, those people who merely want to relax themselves can do ujjayi in conjunction with a meditation practice or shavasana.
People who suffer from insomnia will find it especially useful. Those who suffer from high blood pressure will find that ujjayi helps to reduce the pressure, even if only for a short period of time at first. However, during this period the body and mind will gain some much needed rest.
In general we can say that ujjayi is helpful for all ailments that originate from nervous-ness or chronic stress.