Shankha Mudra, also known as Conch Mudra, is a powerful hand formation that can purify the entire nervous system. Shankha mudra is very commonly used in deity worship and all meditation practices. It is used in the very beginning of all the practices. Shankha means the conch. The conch is a symbol of purity in Vedas. The blowing of conch shell is considered to be pure before any worship. When you blow the conch, it has be completely empty and the air blows really well and creates a wonderful sound. Similarly we need to improve our inner cavity by purifying our nerves for faster communication. The Shankha mudra does just that. In the Shiva Samhita it is said that the total number of nadis in the human body numbers about 72,000. These nadis are purified by the Shankha mudra.
In this article, we provide a deep look at how to perform the Shankha Mudra, as well as its numerous benefits and important precautions.
What are Mudras?
Mudras are hand gestures that activate a certain element or energy in the body. The five fingers represent the five elements. The energy activation point lies on the fingertips. When the fingertips are connected, the subtle energy in your body gets activated. The thumb represents the fire element. This element represents agni within the body, and it serves to activate all the other elements.
The index finger represents air, middle finger ether, ring finger earth and the little finger represents the water element.
When different hand formations, or mudras, are formed, the combination of subtle elements has a powerful effect on the mind and body.
How Can Mudras Heal?
There is a spiritual force that mediates our mind-body connection. Ayurveda says that when the elements in our body are balanced, our bodies and minds are healthy. Whenever imbalance arises, we can attain balance by activating specific elements using various mudras. Acupuncture is another method that involves activating specific points in the body and improving the flow of energy. Mudras act in a similar way. The tips of our fingers act like electrical potential points, and when the mudras are formed, they create an electrical circuit that circulates energy throughout the body. As this energy circulates, we feel a healing effect. The most astonishing fact is that our brain uses about 60% of its surface area to process the movements and sensations of the hands.
RECOMMENDED: For a complete guide to the many mudras and their benefits, check out Healing Mudras: Yoga of the Hands by Yogi Nataraj.
How to Perform the Shankha Mudra?
The Shankha Mudra activates the air and the ether element within the body. Clasp the thumb of the left hand with the four fingers of the right hand. Now press the front end of the fist to the palm of the left. Now connect the tip of the thumbs to the index finger of the left hand and the combination of middle finger and the index finger of the right hand. Touch the tips of the right thumb to the combination of index finger and middle finger of the left hand. Be calm and quiet and try to feel the pulse at the tips. Be aware of the outflow and inflow of energy going from and to the heart and all facial muscle. Practice this mudra for about 15-20 minutes.
When Should I Perform the Shankha Mudra?
The Shankha mudra is useful for:
- Improving concentration
- The best Meditation practice
- Calming the mind
- Improves the circulation in the body
- Finding clarity in your thoughts
- Purifies the entire nervous system
- Strengthens the mind by removing blocks in the mind
- Enhancing the endocrine system
- The longer we practice the more relaxation we attain
Remember that it is very important to relax yourself and practice this mudra for long to experience long term benefits. The Shankha Mudra can be used in all sitting meditative poses. Other names for the Shankha mudra include Conch mudra.
Precautions When Practicing Shankha Mudra
Anyone can practice Shankha mudra and there are no precautions.
What Chakras Does Shankha Mudra Activate?
Shankha mudra activates the heart and the throat chakra. They are both responsible for air and ether. In the Bhagavad-Gita Lord Sri Krishna explains that of all the purifiers I am air. This mudra activates the purificatory aspect of the air and the ether element. This purification is considered very powerful and very unique to this mudra. Therefore this mudra is performed at the beginning of all worship and meditation practices.
Sahaj Shankha Mudra, Gyan Mudra, Japa Mudra, Vipareetakarani Mudra, Ganesha mudra and Sambhavi mudra are related to the Shankha mudra.
Related Yoga Poses
The related yogic practices are pranayama. Nadi Shodhana pranayama , Ujjayi Pranayama. As pranayama purifies the entire circulation of air this mudra promotes the healing of the entire pranic air and nervous system.