Ashwini Mudra, also known as the Horse Pose, is a yoga mudra involving rhythmic contractions and relaxations of the anal sphincter muscles. It’s believed to activate the Muladhara chakra, the root chakra located at the base of the spine, which is associated with grounding, stability, and security.
How to do Ashwini Mudra?
1. Getting settled:
- Choose your position: Find a seated position that feels comfortable and stable. It could be Sukhasana (easy pose), Padmasana (lotus pose), or even sitting on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Focus on keeping your spine straight and shoulders relaxed.
- Close your eyes: This helps you turn inward and focus on your body sensations.
- Deep breaths: Take a few slow, deep breaths through your nose, feeling your belly rise and fall with each inhalation and exhalation. This calms your mind and prepares you for the practice.
2. Locating the muscle:
- Bring your awareness down: Shift your focus to the base of your spine, particularly the area around your anus. Don’t worry about squeezing at this point, just observe the sensations.
- Imagine the movement: Picture yourself gently drawing the muscles around your anus upwards, as if giving a subtle “wink” with your bottom. You may feel a slight tightening or lifting sensation.
3. The contractions and relaxations:
- Squeeze & release: Once you’ve located the muscle, gently contract it by drawing it inwards and upwards. Hold this contraction for a few seconds (2-3 seconds initially) without straining.
- Let go completely: Relax all the muscles and feel the area returning to its natural state.
- Repeat the cycle: Continue this rhythmic pattern of contraction and relaxation for 10-20 repetitions. Imagine you’re gently “pumping” the area with short, quick squeezes and releases.
4. Maintaining awareness:
- Focus on the sensations: Throughout the practice, keep your attention on the subtle movements and energy flow in the pelvic area. Notice any changes in sensation as you contract and relax the muscle.
- Stay synchronized: Maintain your breathwork while doing the contractions and relaxations. Inhale as you contract and exhale as you relax.
5. Finishing up:
- Slow down: After your repetitions, gradually slow down your breathing and gently bring your awareness back to your surroundings.
- Take your time: Open your eyes when you feel ready and sit quietly for a few moments, observing any lingering sensations or changes in your body.
Benefits of Ashwini Mudra:
- Improves digestion and elimination: The contractions can help stimulate the digestive system and promote smoother bowel movements.
- Strengthens pelvic floor muscles: Regular practice can tone and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can benefit both men and women.
- Helps manage urinary incontinence: For those with mild urinary incontinence, Ashwini Mudra can help strengthen the urethral sphincter muscle and improve control.
- Enhances sexual function: By improving blood flow to the pelvic region, Ashwini Mudra can potentially enhance sexual arousal and pleasure.
- Reduces stress and anxiety: The act of focusing on the breath and gentle contractions can promote relaxation and help manage stress and anxiety.