Khechari Mudra (Tongue Lock)
Khechari Mudra is considered to be the king of all gestures. It is an advanced practice that enables yogis to reach higher states of consciousness. In Hatha Yoga Pradipika, or Gheranda Samhita yogis consider Khechari mudra is a practice to taste the bliss of nectar. This is mainly the sadhana of the tongue and palatal. In this practice, a long tongue is of great significance
In Sanskrit, Khechari has two root words, Kha and Chara
- Khechara = Khe / Kha means Space (which is infinite)
- Chara means to Move
- Mudra means Gesture / Mark / Seal / Posture
It is done by curling the tip of the tongue back into the mouth until it touches the soft palate above and with regular practice to the nasal cavity. Therefore, it is also called ‘the tongue lock’. The tongue becomes flexible and long enough to reach the nasal cavity (nasopharynx).
It is a highly advanced practice, and it may take months to years to master it. When a yogi masters it, he will be able to taste the Amrita, i.e., nectar. This nectar energizes the body and helps overcome the need for thirst and food.
Khechari Mudra Prepration
There are two ways of performing the gesture.
The first practice mentioned in Hatha Yoga Pradipika includes cutting the frenum (skin below the tongue that links it with gums). The frenum membrane below the tongue is cut bit by bit to increase the extension of the tongue (Only recommended under the guidance of an experienced yogi who has mastered the khechari Mudra).
The second method is talabya kriya as mentioned in Kriya Yoga & Raja Yoga. Here frenum is not advised to cut. In talabya kriya (tongue-palate exercise) the tongue is stretched in & out repeatedly to become flexible and long enough to do Khechari mudra.
How to do Khechari Mudra
Sit in a comfortable posture like Sukhasana, Padmasana, Swastikasana.
Hold your back, chest, and head in a straight position.
Relax your body. Take deep breaths.
Close your eyes and focus on the Agya Chakra or third eye chakra.
Close the mouth.
Roll the tongue up and back so that it touches the palate. Try to push your tongue as far back as you can. Initially, you may be able to handle the hard palate. With practice, you may touch the soft palate also. If you can’t do it by simple means, you can push the back of the tongue with your clean finger.
Try to reach with your tongue at the bottom of your mouth where it touches the Uvula (a punching bag-like structure in your mouth hanging over your tongue).
Once you reach this far, do it 3-4 times to get your tongue comfortable up to this point.
Your tongue can reach a point beyond the Uvula with further constant practice.
Once the tongue makes its way behind the Uvula, it turns to find a place behind the Uvula from where the tongue doesn’t come to its previous position. This part will come; naturally, the tongue will begin slipping, but there will be a strong urge to throw out the tongue.
Keep breathing slowly, and observe what’s happening inside your mouth. One just needs to come over this urge by observing the situation.
Eventually, your tongue will start slipping into the nasopharynx behind the soft palate. This will take the tongue to the utmost where it touches a bony structure called the pituitary gland.
Up to this point, the tongue has reached beyond the top of the pharynx. You will feel an emptiness in the mouth on reaching up to this point.
Tongue touching at the topmost point here is nothing but space between your third eye, which you asked to focus on at the beginning of this practice. Physiologically, this is the seat of the ‘Pituitary gland’, the master gland of the body.
When the tongue is pressed against this, it gets stimulated.
Some fluid will start accumulating in your mouth but saliva wouldn’t be swallowed as long as your tongue remains up.
Slowly, bring your tongue down to a natural position and you will find the taste of saliva accumulated inside your mouth. In the beginning, the taste of it would be bitter, which is a sign of detoxification of your bodily system. But with practice, you will realize the bitter taste becomes sweet like honey, strawberry, and butter taste. It’s called ‘Amrita – the bliss of nectar ‘in Hatha Yoga Pradipika. It is consumed by the yogi and it nourishes the body.
The throat in our body is the junction point between the first five chakras (associated with the physical elements) and the last two chakras (beyond the earthly elements). Because of this junction, Prana flow at the throat level gets interrupted and our brain centres don’t get enough Prana – The vital energy. Therefore, our minds distract often when we try to focus on one thought or one place.
In Khechari mudra, when the tongue is extended up to the pit of the throat, it creates a lock at this junction point. Hence, it’s also called tongue lock mudra. Now Prana can easily travel through this bypass to the higher chakras (Agya and Sahasrara chakra). In this way, Prana starts flowing freely and the mind becomes relaxed & focused.
Khechari Mudra Benefits
- It helps to overcome thirst, hunger, and laziness.
- The practitioner doesn’t suffer from any disease, decay, or death
- It builds up a solid immune system and makes the body divine
- According to Gheranda Samhita and Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, the yogi becomes resistant to the poison and snake bites
- It helps the practitioner to attain Samadhi i.e., a state of super consciousness
- This Mudra opens up blocked salivary glands and prevents painful symptoms of salivary gland disorders.
- As Khecahri mudra stimulates the pituitary gland, It activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). On PNS activation, your body conserves energy by slowing down the heart rate – low breath rate (5 to 8 breaths/minute), and you feel relaxed.
- Khechari mudra with Bhramari Pranayama is a very effective practice in case of hearing impairment and forgetfulness (dementia).
- The secretions, i.e., nectar, have an anti-ageing effect and are highly beneficial to the body.
- The yogi can use this gesture for astral travelling. The motion helps the practitioner detach the astral body from the physical body and travel in the astral planes.
- Khechari mudra with ujjayi breathing balances the secretion of the thyroid gland. Balanced secretion of the thyroid gland is vital for better metabolism, optimum body weight, growth, and development.
- It stimulates all the chakras and helps balance the energetic pathways throughout the body. The practitioner’s entire body will be revitalized as the nectar of the gods is released and flows from the third eye chakra throughout the body.
- It enables one to raise the Kundalini energy and access various stores of amrita in the head.
- It will propel a devotee/yogi into a state of universal awareness of God
- It probably stimulates the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine. These are calming and soothing. With this, the practitioner experiences a profound state of calmness and well-being.
- It gives control over the speech.
Kheri Mudra Precautions
- Do not jump into the practice of this Mudra. With a slight mistake, the tongue can get injured. You may face other complications too.
- Do not practice this gesture in the absence of an expert Yoga / Mudra teacher.
- Cutting of frenum is done at an early age and is strictly advised to do under the guidance of the Guru.
Khechari mudra is called the ‘King of all mudras’ because of its capability to stimulate the master gland of the body. The Khechari mudra exercise gives control over the speech.
One who accomplishes this khechari Mudra is neither troubled by diseases, nor death, lassitude, sleep, hunger, thirst, or unconsciousness.
Whenever you sit for meditation, hold your tongue against the soft palate and you will see, that it becomes easy to control your thoughts, minimal thoughts.