- There is no reason why beginners should not place a cushion or folded blanket under the buttocks, because this will make the asana much easier to perform. Of course, when you become proficient then this aid should be discarded.
- Do not under any circumstances strain the legs and back. Immediately stop the forward bend if you feel excessive pain.
- Make sure that the breathing is perfectly coordinated with the physical movement.
- If possible, ensure that the heels (or fists in variation 3) press firmly into the abdomen. This will allow maximum efficacy of the asana.
- Try to remain as relaxed as possible, especially in the final pose.
Yoga mudrasana is a forward bending asana. Therefore, it is ideally preceded and followed
by a backward bending asana, such as ushtrasana5, bhujangasana6, shalabhasana7 as well as many other asanas that we have yet to describe. The counterpose will bend the spine in the opposite direction, and stretch and compress the associated muscles and nerves in the opposite sense. This will encourage the best possible health of the body.
Awareness can be directed to relaxation of the back, the abdomen and breathing. The last is preferred, especially in the final position, combined with awareness of the physical movement during the lowering and raising of the body.
Try to remain in the final pose for as long as possible. During your practice program, two or three minutes is a reasonable duration. Of course, beginners should not stay in the final pose for a long time; the duration should be slowly increased with practice. Beginners, especially those who are stiff, should do variation 1 for a few minutes, alternately raising and lowering the body to the final pose. If it is difficult to sit in padmasana for more than a few seconds then there is no reason why you should not unfold your legs, do the exercises given under the heading ‘Leg joint Re-alignment Exercises’, refold your legs into padmasana and repeat yoga mudrasana. This can be repeated a number of times. It is an excellent method of loosening up the legs for those persons who can sit, though uncomfortably, in padmasana.
After a long period of mental work, about fifteen minutes in the final pose of yoga mudrasana quickly brings revitalization and calmness to mind and body.
If you suffer from sciatica, high blood pressure, hernia or any other serious abdominal ailment, you should not attempt to do yoga mudrasana, unless you have sought expert advice.
Stiffness of the legs, particularly the knees, may initially prevent one from doing yoga mudrasana. Don’t strain, for the anatomy of the knee joint is such that it is designed specifically to move in one plane. Its design is simplicity itself and its strength and support comes mainly from ligaments. If used properly its strength is more than adequate for normal use, yet misuse can easily tear the ligaments. If this happens many months are required for full repair. So be careful.
Yoga mudrasana may be a little difficult at first, but the benefits it will give are well worth the effort. It is particularly useful for massaging the abdominal organs and helping to remove various associated ailments from constipation to diabetes. The upturned heels apply good pressure, which is transmitted to the inner organs. Variation 3 is especially powerful for the massage is accentuated by means of the fists.
The asana reduces the blood flow to the legs and diverts it to the abdominal and pelvic region, which further helps to improve the functioning of these organs and can help to alleviate various types of sexual disorders.
During the practice, the individual vertebrae are separated from each other. This helps to release pressure on the spinal nerves as well as giving them a profound stretch and massage. These nerves connect the entire body to the brain and their improved health and functioning will have beneficial repercussions throughout the body.
The legs are not stretched as with other forward bending asanas, yet the articulations of the joints are loosened. With regular practise these joints will become permanently loosened and one will be able to sit in padmasana for many hours.
Yoga mudrasana, as we have pointed out already, is most useful for relaxing the whole mind and body. As such it is an excellent prelude to meditative practices, especially if there is no initial program of asanas. That is, there are times when there is no time or it is unsuitable to do a number of asanas before commencing meditative practices. Under these circumstances yoga mudrasana should be practised as a prelude.
Supplementary practice for beginners
Some people may have reasonable leg flexibility, but not sufficient to sit in padmasana and thereby do yoga mudrasana. Under these circumstances, there is absolutely no reason why you should not sit in ardha padmasana and practise a modified form of yoga mudrasana. The procedure is as follows: Fold your right leg on top of the left in ardha padmasana. Perform yoga mudrasana in the manner described for the basic technique, bending down between the knees. Resume the starting position. Now go down to the right knee, trying to touch the floor with the forehead; don’t strain, only try. Come up. Down on the left knee. Come up. Repeat the same procedure bending down between the knees again; you should find increased flexibility. On resuming the starting position, straighten the legs and remove the stiffness in the joints in the way described under the heading ‘Leg Joint Realignment Exercises’. Then fold the left leg on top of the right leg in ardha padmasana. This is an excellent method of loosening up the legs in order to eventually attain padmasana as well as simultaneously obtaining many of the benefits of yoga mudrasana. If one of your legs is stiffer than the other, then you should spend a longer duration doing this practice with that leg uppermost.