Choice of method
Alternatives 1 and 2 are equally good. Both apply a firm and constant pressure at mooladhara. If you can sit easily in siddhasana then the best method is alternative 1. If you do not sit in siddhasana or find it too uncomfortable, then practise method 2.
If you sit in siddhasana for the previous kriyas 2 to 5, then siddhasana is the best position for maha mudra, since it ensures that there is no break in the sequence of practice. On the other hand, it is easy to become sleepy while doing kriya yoga. The practice of alternative 2 helps to remove sleepiness. You must choose the method that you like best.
Mental contraction of mooladhara
For the first few months of practice you should physically contract the muscles of the perineum surrounding the mooladhara chakra. When you can locate the exact position of mooladhara and your perception becomes more subtle, then you can merely ‘touch’ mooladhara with awareness; there is no need to contract the muscles. Also, if the mind is wandering here and there, you should physically contract mooladhara. When it becomes more one-pointed then mere awareness is sufficient or even a slight contraction. Choose according to the state of your mind.
You should maintain awareness of the following:
- The flow of prana through the frontal (arohan) and spinal (awarohan) passages; this should be synchronized with the breathing.
- Mental repetition of ‘mooladhara, bindu, shambhavi, khechari, mool’.
- Movement of the head.
- Movement of the eyes in unmani mudra.
- Number of rounds completed.
You have to do 12 complete rounds whether you practise alternative 1 or 2. Beginners who rotate their awareness only 3 times through shambhavi, khechari and mool will spend about 7 minutes on the complete practice. Those who do 12 complete rotations and 12 rounds will spend about 10 minutes.
We suggest that you mentally count each round as your awareness returns to mooladhara at the end of each round.
Maha mudra should be done immediately after shabda sanchalana and before maha bheda mudra.