Do you ever feel sluggish or out of your senses? Are you experiencing excessive numbing or tingling in some parts of your body?
If you are struggling with thyroid problems, throat Issues, gum diseases, ear problems, or numbness of body parts, then according to yogic science, it may be because of aggravated space element in your body.
Shunya mudra is a healing hasta (hand) yoga mudra that is very helpful in curing problems that arise due to aggravated space (or ether) element in the body.
In this article, we will look into the benefits of shunya mudra, how to practice it and when it shouldn’t be done.
What is Shunya Mudra?
The Sanskrit word Shunya, which means “void,” “emptiness,” or “spaciousness,” is where the name Shunya mudra originates.
Shunya mudra is a tattva mudra (element’s mudra) made to lessen the space element (akasha) effect in the body and is called “Gesture of Emptiness”. Since this mudra focuses on limiting space element, which is expanded throughout the entire body from every cell to muscle, it is very helpful in the treatment of many health conditions.
Physically, shunya mudra can provide relief from most ear ailments, prevent heart diseases, improve the sense of balance, and other problems which are caused due to an imbalance in ether element. Some common health conditions in which shunya mudra is helpful are;
- Ear disorders such as hearing loss or tinnitus
- Throat problems, enlarged thyroid
- Motion sickness
- Numbness in different body parts
Shunya mudra is performed with the middle finger and thumb. To form shunya mudra, you need to curl your middle finger for its tip to touch the base of the thumb. The thumb is then placed over the bent finger giving a slight pressure. Keep the rest three fingers straight. Then place the back of the hand (with mudra) on the knees in any sitting posture.
Mudra for ear problems and tinnitus
For most ear-related problems, the space element or Akash tattva (which is represented by the middle finger) is responsible in our body. The Akash tattva is present throughout the entire body in the form empty space. Manifestation of Akash tatva in our body- Vacuums of throat, nostrils & ears, hair follicles, vacuums of veins and arteries, gaps in marrow etc.
Akash mudra and shunya mudra are two main mudras which influence the working of space element, therefore will be helpful in ear problems like Tinnitus, ear buzzing, hearing loss, etc.
One should first know what is the cause of their ear problems; is it the increased space element or lack of space element in the body? If ear problems are arising due to the increase of space element then do shunya mudra and if problems are arising due to lack of space element then do Akash mudra.
When there is an increase in space element; it feels like the pressure is acting on eardrums from inside or ears start oozing – it indicates your ear problems are because of excess Akash tatva in the body. In this case, if you’re having Tinnitus, ear buzzing, hearing loss, etc. problems, do shunya mudra.
One should stop doing shunya mudra for tinnitus if even after some days of practice the problem is consistent or ear ringing is ever increasing. It’s because might be your ear ringing is happening because of the lack of Akash tatva in the body and in the case of low Akash tatva, one should be doing Akash mudra, not shunya mudra.
You may also like: 7 yoga exercises for Tinnitus relief
Benefits of Shunya Mudra
Shunya mudra aka Aakash shamak mudra is a therapeutic as well as a spiritual hand mudra. Here are some main benefits of this mudra.
- Relief from Ear-Related Problems. Since excess space element in the body is mainly responsible for hearing issues, Shunya mudra (which suppresses space element) can relieve ear-related problems such as earache, tinnitus (ringing or buzzing noise in the ears), and deafness.
- Prevents Motion sickness. Motion sickness is caused when our mind cannot distinguish sensory signals over brain signals. It is often caused due to inflammation in the inner ear and can result in dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, or vertigo. Practising shunya mudra directly affects and stimulates the nerves near inner ear, preventing balance disorders.
- Cures Numbness. Numbness is caused when you lose partial or complete sense of sensation in certain parts of your body. It happens when there is excessive presence of space element in our cells or veins. Shunya mudra will decrease this extra space element and give relief from numbness or tingling.
- Prevents Heart Disease. Placing the middle finger at the base of the thumb also acts as an acupressure point for Atrium – chamber through which blood enters the heart. Hence, shunya mudra may also relief from a wide range of heart diseases such as Atrial fibrillation (strokes), ASD (Atrial Septal Defect), blood pressure, and other heart disorders.
- Spiritual benefits – Makes Able to Hear Anahata Sounds. Anahata is the mystic sound and sounds of nature, often heard by yogis at the beginning of their meditation. You might be able to hear these sounds when you do shunya mudra with meditation. This also signifies that the Nadis or astral currents are getting pure.
- Helps activate the Heart chakra. The finger formation of shunya mudra promotes a smooth flow of prana towards the heart chakra. It opens up the heart centre.
How to perform Shunya Mudra
Since the shunya mudra can be performed with a full belly, hence, you can perform it at any hour of the day. Do it daily for 10-15 minutes 3 times a day keeping the problem, disease, or ailment you want to cure in mind. However, as soon as you get relief from the problem, decrease the intensity of practice as decreased space element can also lead to significant side effects in the body.
It’s advised to do shunya mudra with meditation for better results. Get a silent place in your home and sit for meditation there.
- Sit comfortably in a meditative asana such as Padmasana (lotus position), Vajrasana (thunderbolt pose), Shukhasana (easy pose). Keep your back straight and look forward to aligning your head with the spine.
- Close your eyes and take deep breaths to generate awareness within. Place your hands on your knees or mid-thigh with palms up.
- Fold the middle finger of both hands and touch them to the base of the thumb. Gently press the second phalanx (middle bone of a finger) of middle finger with the thumb.
- Leave the remaining fingers extended but relaxed.
- Stay in this mudra for 10-15 minutes.
- Once you are done, detach your fingers and place them on your knees or mid-thigh.
- Sit in silence for a couple of minutes to bask in the after-effects of the meditation.
Shunya mudra relationship with body elements and doshas
Each finger of our hand represents one of five elements or Panch Tatva of the human body.
In shunya mudra, placing the thumb over the middle finger signifies reducing the space element in our body. This is the reason Shunya Mudra is also known as the Akash Shamak Mudra (akash means ether/space or sky and shamak means extinguisher or ‘one which reduces’).
By channelling the body’s fire element (Agni tattva), practising Shunya Mudra consistently helps to reduce the abnormalities in our bodies brought on by the sky elements.
Shunya can alternatively be interpreted as “heaven mudra” if it refers to the sky or heaven as the middle finger is also representative of heaven. Some ancient texts also mention that the practice of this mudra can aid the practitioner to access the heavenly realm or hear the sounds of heaven.
In the Ayurvedic context, Shunya mudra directly works on aggravated vata dosha as ether element is one of vata dosha constituents. This helps in correcting and improving the elimination system of our body, thus improving the detoxification process.
Moreover, the rise of space element does not let the other four elements (air, water, earth, fire) within the body increase (think of it as if all space within the body is occupied with Akash tattva). This leads to bi-dosha and tri-dosha Prakriti.
Shunya mudra decreases the space element and allows other elements to enter the body. Thus it helps to cure bi-dosha and tri-dosha Prakriti.
Thus Shunya mudra is helpful to cure Ayurvedic Doshas.
You may also like: Mudras for balancing Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha
Shunya mudra is recommended to use only when you are going through some health conditions that can be cured with this mudra. It’s a short-term use mudra, once you achieve your desired result, its practice should be stopped.
For example, when you are doing shunya mudra for acute situations such as your tinnitus, once after ear ringing gets stopped, discontinue this mudra practice. While doing shunya mudra, do not press the thumb hard over the middle finger otherwise you will not be able to concentrate on mudra. If you are feeling very weak, you should not perform Shunya mudra.
Practising the shunya mudra can help you balance the space element, which is of great help to people with vata dosha. moreover, your sense of hearing will also improve while preventing the onset of various ear ailments and disorders. It is a great way to keep all your doshas in equilibrium as the 3 doshas arise out of space.