The Shambhavi mahamudra kriya, or “Eyebrow Gazing Mudra” is a powerful way to activate your third eye / ajna chakra. It is a method metnioned in Amnaska Yoga, in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (chapter 4), Gheranda Samhita (chapter 3), ), and Shiva Samhita (Sanskrit text on yoga).
When you activate your third eye chakra you gain insight into the true nature of things, and you tap into your intuition and your psychic insight, which is the gateway to many abilities such as the capacity to feel what other people feel.
As you guys know from reading my Mudras List, there are more than 60 mudras. The Shambhavi mudra is one of the most powerful of them all.
The Shambhavi Mahamudra kriya procedure originates from several ancient sacred texts: “Vijnana Bhairava Tantra“, “Hathapradipika”, and “Samhita.” The three texts describe the mudra in similar ways and suggest that using this mudra will create heightened level of insight.
Benefits of Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya/ Eyebrow Gazing Mudra
The Shambhavi mudra is a fantastic exercise for the third eye chakra, or “Ajna Chakra”, one of the seven chakras.
As PersonalTao states,
“…Your third eye can be used in many different ways. Seers use their third eye to understand hidden connections and answer questions. Energy workers ‘feel’ the energies around them and to then consciously manipulate that energy. And every time you have empathy, you are using your third eye to touch and feel the emotions of others.”
- Helps you tap into your intuition [READ: Meditation For Intuition].
- Stimulates the third eye
- Improves interpersonal communication skills
- Creates oneness
- Cleans the eyes. You might notice you cry when you meditate in this position. It’s normal. Actually it’s your eyes watering and letting out toxins.
- Helps with communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
- Increases theta and delta brainwaves (which relaxes the brain).
- Helps us reach higher states of consciousness
- Helps us reach Samadhi, the highest state of concentration. In Hinduism and yoga this is the state at which we achieve union with the divine.
- The Gheranda Samhita (a Sanskrit text of Yoga in Hinduism) declares that one who masters Shambhavi mudra becomes equal to Lord Siva, Vishnu and Brahma.
- Strengthens eye muscles (this is actually one of my personal favourite advantages of the Shambhavi mudra).
- Activates Ajna chakra
- Sadhguru tells us that the Cortisol Awakening Response (a distinct facet of the circadian cortisol rhythm) is higher in people who have practiced Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya. This means that people are more awake within the first hour of awakening.
- Helps us awaken
- Develops psychic power
For more on the effects of Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya, I recommend reading this study Christine Tara Peterson, PhD et. al from the University of California San Diego.
The key to doing Shambhavi Mudra successfully is to be gentle.
The tantric scripture Sochanda Tantra, stanza 13, reads:
‘Touching eyeballs as a feather, lightness between them opens into the heart and there permeates the cosmos.’
One of the potential side-effects of this practice is that it can give you a headache. This is the main negative effect of it.
When novices use the Shambhavi mudra they often get headaches because they are holding too much tension in their eyes.
You will not get a headache if you keep your gaze relaxed.
Shambhavi Mahamudra Steps
- It is best to have your hands in Jnana mudra position when practising Shambhavi mahamudra kriya. (Read my guide to Jnana mudra).
- Sit comfortably with good posture and place your hands on your knees.
- Briefly shut your eyes then reopen them and focus your gaze on a fixed spot.
- Look up high but without moving your head. In his commentary on Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami Muktananda Paramahamsa explained that Shambhavi mudra involves the eyeballs rolling back in the head.
- Focus your gaze on the spot in the middle of your eyebrows and concentrate on this area. Meditate on it. Let go of thoughts, as you would in regular meditation. You should be see your eyebrows as a V shape, with your gaze fixed in the middle of the V.
- While maintaining this focus, chant OM. Meditate on the sound of OM reverberating around the spot you are gazing at.
- Do not strain your eyes. They should be relaxed at all times.
- Continue for five minutes.
- Close your eyes but keep your gaze on that same spot in the middle of the eyebrows.
- Chant OM slowly while meditating on the sound.
- Begin to make each individual OM last longer. You should be breathing deeply through your nose.
- Continue for five minutes.
The Gherand Samhita stanza 59:
‘Direct your eyes toward the middle of the eyebrows and meditate upon your own self. It is Shambhavi Mudra, the most secret practice of all the Tantra scriptures.’
My own experience of the practice is mixed. The very first time I tried it, I ended up with a headache, which is one known side-effect of this practice. However, that was because I was holding too much tension in my eyes. The next few times I was more relaxed. This helped a lot. No more headache. However, I also didn’t really gain any great insight, or at least no more insight than I get when I practice insight meditation.
I now know how to do Shambhavi mudra successfully. The secret is being consistent. If you want to get the full experience you have to commit to it. After prolonged use, you will open your third eye and awaken your higher self.
I also asked our Facebook fans if they had tried the practice and many said that they had.
Sarah Robertson said she got a really bad headache.
James Saunderson said he enjoyed the practice but didn’t really get a lot out of it.
Penelope Smith said she tried it for twenty minutes and afterwards, she learned something she had never learned before and that the insight this mudra gave her was invaluable. I asked if there was anything different about the way she practised it. She said she did it in a very quiet room with mute light in front of her Buddha statue and early in the morning. This makes sense because the mind is still half in sleep mode early in the morning, and that relaxed state can make it easier to access insight.
What about your own experience?
If you haven’t tried it, practice it now.
Take ten minutes to practice the it now. You never know what insight you might uncover.
I would love to hear how you get on with this.
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For the most insightful experience, I like to combine this method with Vipassana .
Precautious & Side Effects
- It is best to remove contact lenses and glasses before starting.
- Do not hold your gaze too stiffly as this could cause problems for the eyes.
- Do not practice if you have Glaucoma.
- If you have had any kind of eye operation, do not practice Shambhavi Mudra before speaking to a yoga expert.
- Overuse of Shambhavi mudra could cause headaches and dizziness
- Make sure you fix your gaze without strain
- It is possible to experience phantasmagoric visions wile practicing. If this occurs, stop.
There is an excellent Shambhavi mahamudra kriya PDF about the effect of the mudra. Download it here.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871312/ Effects of Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya, a Multicomponent Breath-Based Yogic Practice (Pranayama), on Perceived Stress and General Well-Being
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