Four Mudras for Anxiety

Here we are, nearing the end of 2020 and it seems like many of us are struggling with our mental health, myself included. My meditation and yoga practice plus time out in nature have been my saving grace, what about you? You might be here because you read my book, The Little Book of Mudra Meditations, or maybe you’re here because you are looking for tools like mudras or meditation to help manage your anxiety. 

Anxiety can show up in a variety of different ways… from feeling frozen in place, having irrational fears, and being unable to move forward to racing thoughts, panic attacks, and sleepless nights to irritability and agitation. Please remember to treat yourself and loved ones with kindness and compassion when you (or they) are dealing with anxiety.

In this blog post, I will share some of the tools, hand mudras specifically, that I use to help move through anxious moments. I’ve found these four hand mudras for anxiety, combined with a few minutes of breathing and meditation can help shift my perspective from anxiety-ridden to grounded and calm, or at least to be calmer and more grounded! If you are experiencing anxiety, I encourage you to find someone you can talk to… a therapist, counselor, or even a trusted friend. Hand mudras are a wonderful tool for healing and are often used in addition to traditional therapy and complement it well.

Why Do Mudras Work?

Hand mudras work for a handful of reasons — pun intended. Mudras are basically intentional yoga poses for your hands. Mudras direct your prana (life force energy — like chi of Traditional Chinese Medicine) and focus your intention and awareness. They are usually combined with meditation, although some can be used during your yoga practice, walking around town, or while navigating a stressful situation. 

A Brief History of Mudras

Some of the hand mudras date all the way back to the Vedas, an ancient Indian text over 4000 years old. Hand mudras, or gestures, are used in yoga, Indian dance, and Ayurveda. Ayurveda is yoga’s sister science of health and wellbeing. It looks at your ENTIRE being and seeks to restore balance through lifestyle, diet, etc. Beyond India, hand gestures are used across cultures to convey intention, for example, hands in prayer, peace fingers, fingers crossed, etc.

You can use hand mudras for anxiety to feel more grounded, stable, supported, peaceful, content, calm, capable, secure, trustful, and less agitated. And those are just a few of the benefits I have noticed in my own experience and while working with my yoga students.

Four Mudras for Anxiety and Healing: Bhu, Apan Vayu, Kalesvara, and Chinmaya

Bhu Mudra For Anxiety

bhu mudra for anxiety

The first mudra for anxiety that I would like to introduce to you is Bhu Mudra. Bhu means “Earth” in Sanskrit and is linked to the Hindu Mother Earth goddess Bhumi Devi. She is sometimes simply called Bhudevi. In the Hindu pantheon, she is the consort of Vishnu’s avatar, Varaha. Bhumi Devi, much like Mother Earth herself, is considered a mother Goddess and as such, she is a nurturer and sustainer of life. Like Lakshmi, she brings abundance and blessings. Her iconography often depicts her holding a water vessel, a bowl of sacred herbs, a blue lotus, and demonstrating Abhaya Mudra. Abhaya mudra is the mudra for fearlessness. By calling in the energy of Bhumi Devi we are asking for her assistance to move through fear, to nurture and nourish us, and ground us in our connection to Mother Earth.

Bhu Mudra Benefits

  • Stability, security, and sense of safety
  • Groundedness & rootedness
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Helps us move through fear with ease
  • Connection to the nurturing energy of Mother Earth and goddess Bhumi Devi

How to Practice Bhu Mudra

  1. If it’s possible, I would encourage you to sit on the ground, however, I know that sitting on the ground isn’t always practical, so any upright seat will do.
  2. Gently fold your ring finger and your little finger into your palm and gently place your thumb over your ring and little finger.
  3. Extend your middle and index fingers long.
  4. Bring your arms down to your sides and gently place the tips of your middle and index finger down onto the earth.
  5. If you’re seated in a chair, ground your feet into the earth and place your middle and index fingers onto your thighs, just above your knees. The palms of your hands will face downward.

Bhu Mudra Meditation

Settle in

Find a comfortable seat on the ground (if possible). Settle into your seat, bring your hands into Bhu Mudra and bring your index finger and middle finger to gently rest on the surface of the earth. Perhaps even wiggle them around a bit and feel the blades of grass, the softness of the soil or firmness of the stone. Take a moment to close down your eyes and simply become aware of your connection to the earth beneath you. Become aware of the weight of your seat settling into the support of Mother Earth and feel the connection of your fingertips against her skin: earth, soil, grass, stone, etc. 

Cultivate and sharpen your awareness

Bring your awareness back to your seat and as you inhale envision a golden light flowing up through your seat, up through your chakras along your spine, up through the crown of your head. Then as you exhale envision this golden light pouring down from the crown of your head over the surface of your skin, down your arms to your fingertips and down to the earth. Golden light flows down the front and back of your body, down your thighs, legs, hips and pelvis down to the earth. The surface of the ground beneath you is alive with golden light. Your body is enveloped in golden light.

As this light continues to flow up your spine and then down the surface of your skin, envision every cell of your body being nurtured, held, and supported by the sweet energy of Mother Earth. Like a mother caring for her children, she takes away your pain, your stress, your worry. She takes away your fear of the unknown and she churns and composts it into that which is rich, fertile, and nourishing. Invite her nourishment to flow up the central channel along your spine and allow it to cascade down through your body.

Stay with this imagery until you feel calm, grounded, and peaceful. Sit for a moment or two longer and then slowly and mindfully transition back into your day.

Perhaps an affirmation resonates more?

When working with Bhu Mudra you might find it helpful to work with a mantra or affirmation. I particularly love this affirmation by Jennifer Reis, “My roots run deep into the core of the living earth.” If the above meditation doesn’t resonate with you, try using an affirmation like the one here or create your own.

Apan Vayu Mudra for Anxiety

apan vayu mudra for anxiety

Apan Vayu Mudra is another mudra that works with the Earth element. It is thought to increase the earth element (think grounded, stable, supported, safe), the fire element (action, heat), and akasha/ether (space/void) and it down-regulates the air element. According to Ayurveda, excessive air element in the body can lead to nervousness, flightiness, erratic behavior, and even panic attacks. 

Apan Vayu Mudra, according to the ancient rishis (seers in India), is used to promote heart health and should be used during a heart attack while on your way to the hospital. This mudra is occasionally called the Lifesaving Gesture for the Heart. To be honest, I was quite skeptical when I heard that it could be used during a heart attack, but a small study published in 2017 shows promise. However, a much larger study needs to be done to really know and understand its efficacy.

That being said, I don’t practice this mudra for heart health (although I know that it’s working its magic there too). I practice it when I’m losing my sense of calm, when my mind starts racing, when I’m nervous, and even before public speaking. I use this mudra for anxiety when I am in the moment… I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, so let’s get right into the practice.

Benefits of Apan Vayu Mudra

  • Calms the mind and nervous system
  • Lessens panic attacks
  • Heart health

How to Practice Apan Vayu Mudra for Anxiety

  1. When possible, I like to practice this mudra in a comfortable seat — if that’s not an option, sometimes I’ll do the mudra and jam my hands in my pocket, not traditional, but sometimes you do what you have to do.
  2. Bring your index finger down to the base of your thumb.
  3. Then bring the tips of your middle finger and ring finger to the tip of your thumb.
  4. Keep your pinky extended long.
  5. Place your hands on your thighs or knees
  6. Practice for up to 30 minutes.

A Pranayama & Meditation for Apan Vayu Mudra

Unfortunately, many of us aren’t taught how to breathe properly. We’re taught to constantly suck in our bellies and we carry loads of tension in our back and shoulders — our breath potential is wildly limited. Our breath is one of the most powerful tools we can use to regulate our nervous system.

Dirga Swasam, Three-Part Belly Breath

We’ll start with a yoga breathing technique called Dirga Swasam. It’s essentially a full belly breath. To practice Dirga Swasam, bring one hand to your belly and one hand to your heart. Inhale and send your breath down to your belly. Your belly expands, then your rib cage expands, and finally, your collarbones lift. As you exhale, it’s the reverse: collarbones drop, chest softens and the belly draws toward the spine. Balance the length of your inhales and exhales. You might find it helpful to count your breath, usually, a four-count breath is a good place to start. Breathe like this for 3-5 minutes or until you feel calm.

Square Breath

Now let’s move on to Square Breath. This is one of my favorite breathing techniques. I find it incredibly grounding. However, if you felt like Dirga Swasam was challenging or holding your breath causes you anxiety I encourage you to stick with the Dirga Swasam practice a bit longer. For square breath, all parts of the breath are the same length. I like to use a four-count. One round of breath goes like this: inhale for a four-count, pause at the top for a four-count, exhale for a four-count, and pause at the bottom for a four-count. You might find it helpful to envision a square. If you lose track, don’t worry about it. Simply begin again.

Feel free to stay with the breath practices above or add on a mantra. When I’m nervous and anxious I find that my meditation needs to be easy. If it’s not easy I get stuck thinking about whether I’m doing it right! So the mantra I like to use is “I am”. Inhale “I”. Exhale “am”. The Sanskrit version is “So hum”. Inhale “so”. Exhale “hum”. I like to use the Sanskrit version because I can hear the sound in my breath, but choose the version that works for you. Recite the mantra quietly and internally to yourself for 5-10 minutes.

Kalesvara Mudra for Anxiety

kalesvara mudra for anxiety

I have an affinity for mudras that bring awareness to our heart center, our essence, and Kalesvara is no different. The gentle pressure of thumbs against the sternum, even if I’m overcome with grief or stress of frustration this mudra helps anchor me back into this essence. This mudra not only brings our awareness to our heart, the home of the divine, it also creates the shape of a heart and a temple. How perfect is that?

Benefits of Kalesvara Mudra

  • Calms the mind
  • It has a cooling effect that can reduce agitation
  • Helps create space between our thoughts, so we can respond vs. react
  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Can assist with addiction recovery
  • Can assist the process of habit change/evolution
  • Quiets the constant bombardment of thoughts and brings them under our control
  • Can help calm our emotions

How to Practice Kalesvara Mudra

  1. In a comfortable seat bring your hands in front of your heart. 
  2. Bring the pads of your middle fingers to touch and the thumbs to touch.
  3. Fold your little finger, ring finger, and index finger in so the second knuckles touch. You’ll see a heart form.
  4. With the middle fingers extended you will see the shape of a temple.
  5. Gently bring your thumbs to your sternum.
  6. Hold the mudra for 10-20 minutes each day. This can be broken into a couple of smaller practices. Sunrise and sunset are potent times for mudra and meditation.

A Heart Meditation for Kalesvara Mudra

In a comfortable seat, bring your hands into Kalesvara Mudra. Thumbs to the sternum.

Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your heart center. Take a moment to connect with the sacred rhythm of your breath and your heartbeat. 

Now envision a tiny flame within your heart center. This flame represents your highest self, the divine within, and your true essence at your core. It is good; it is beautiful; it is love; it has your best interests at heart.

With each cycle of breath invite the flame to grow. Each breath fans the flame of your essence. Golden, white light emanating from your heart center, your temple. The white light expands and fills every cell within your body with divine essence. As this knowledge and wisdom settle in, realize that you are good. You are beautiful; you are enough; you are love, you are loved, you are divine. Allow this wisdom to wash over your body and bring you peace.

Chinmaya Mudra for Anxiety

chinmaya mudra for anxiety

Chinmaya mudra is the gesture of awareness. It is translated as supreme wisdom or awareness and is a tool to tap us into the ancient wisdom of the divine. I like to practice Chinmaya mudra when I know that I am ruminating on something… maybe I made a mistake or I’m not sure how to go forward and I am consumed by it. 

I’m typically a “good” sleeper and fall asleep with ease, but occasionally I am struck with anxiety-induced restlessness and insomnia, and usually, it’s because my mind is fixated on something. Chinmaya mudra can help anchor awareness into the present moment, the breath and the physical body, and unburden our mind and heart by helping us process our life experiences with ease.

Much like Apan Vayu mudra and Vajrapradama Mudra, Chinmaya Mudra helps bring awareness to our inner innate wisdom, the wisdom of the heart and it teaches us to trust this wisdom. 

Benefits of Chinmaya Mudra

  • Helps lengthen the breath and promotes the function of the breath
  • Improves the flow of prana
  • Helps sleeplessness/insomnia
  • Creates a sense of rootedness and support
  • Promotes trust in our inner wisdom and intuition
  • Lessens rumination
  • Helps release lethargy/stuckness/weight gain

How to Practice Chinmaya Mudra for Anxiety

  1. Bring the thumb and index fingers to touch like you would practicing chin mudra.
  2. Then curl the middle, ring, and little fingers into your palm.
  3. Whether you practice seated or lying down, you can practice with palms up or down. I find turning the palms down provides a more grounding experience.

Chinmaya Mudra Meditation

Find a comfortable posture… this could be seated or lying down, just make sure that it is not distracting. Bring your hands into Chinmaya Mudra and close your eyes. Take a moment to center. If you’re struggling to center, bring your awareness to your breath and lengthen out your exhale breaths. Notice the physical sensations as your breath flows into your nostrils, through the nasal passages, down the back of the throat into your lungs, and then follow this breath as it exits your body. Follow your breath until you feel centered. When you feel centered you can repeat the following mantra, “I trust my intuition. My higher self and my intuition work together for my highest good. My intuition teaches and guides me as I move through life’s challenges.”

I have one other mudra that I practice for anxiety and that is Vajrapradama Mudra. It’s a mudra for unshakeable trust and courage and it helps me move through those moments of feeling insecure or incapable. I’ve already gone over Vajrapradama mudra here on the blog, so I’ll just link it here.

I hope that you find these mudras for anxiety helpful. I encourage you to choose one that resonates with you and stick with it for a bit. Please feel free to reach out with questions or join me on a retreat to learn more.

Love and Light,

Is it Shavasana or Savasana?

shavasana or savasana

The big question of the day is… is it shavasana or savasana? By the time I did my own 200 hour yoga teacher training I was thoroughly confused. I had heard both pronunciations of śavāsana and I had never seen it spelled with all of the diacritical marks. Most of my previous teachers had pronounced it shavasana, but my YTT teacher pronounced it savasana, so which was correct? Shavasana, or corpse posed, is beloved by all and deserves to be pronounced correctly.

Well, both shavasana and savasana are a little correct and a little wrong. Phonetically, shavasana is the correct pronunciation and spelling of our beloved Corpse Pose. However, “savasana” is missing its diacritical marks, so we’re lacking the pronunciation info found when it is translated from the Sanskrit. Follow the pronunciation guide below for spelling. For writing, choose either the phonetic spelling or the transliteration, but don’t spell it “savasana” — it just leads to more confusion for your students and fellow teachers. I’m totally guilty of this. Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Sanskrit: शवासन
Transliteration: śavāsana
Phonetic spelling: shavasana
Pronunciation guide: sha-VAH-suh-nuh

  • ś = pronounced as the “sh” in “shoot”
  • a = pronounced like the “a” in “about”
  • ā = pronounced like the “a” in “yacht”

śava = corpse
āsana = seat

If you really want to geek out on your Sanskrit pronunciation, Graham Schweig has a great pronunciation guide in his version of the Bhagavad Gita. So it’s a win-win, a great copy of the Bhagavad Gita to help you deepen your understanding of yoga philosophy and a Sanskrit pronunciation guide. Graham is an amazing yoga philosophy teacher and frequently gives lectures for the Smithsonian, Embodied Philosophy, and at other venues.

Alright yogi, now go get your shavasana on! And give yourself this opportunity to rest into your essence. If you find that your lower back tends to get cranky during savasana then slide a bolster, (I love Hugger Mugger for restorative yoga and shavasana — they’re a little pricy, but totally worth it) or rolled blanket underneath your knees (like in the illustration above). If your mind tends to race during shavasana try lengthening out your exhales before you settle in, this simple technique can help calm your nervous system. I also have a great yoga nidra script inspired by nature that those with busy minds tend to find helpful. You could record the script yourself and play it back during shavasana or have a friend or partner read it to you.

5 Great Yoga Teacher Training Books

It’s so hard to decide on just five great yoga teacher training books to put on a YTT reading list. After I completed my 200 hr YTT I remember feeling like I had just scratched the surface. I was so hungry for more knowledge. Over the years, I have had a chance to read all kinds of yoga books, from yoga philosophy to anatomy to history and everything magical and mystical in between. These are the books I wish were included when I did my yoga teacher training way back in 2013.

What Makes a Great Yoga Teacher Training Book?

I’ve decided to share these books in this blog post because of their readability, their emphasis on yoga philosophy, and their influence on the modern yoga scene. And a huge bonus, none of them feel like you’re reading a yoga textbook, you feel like you’re reading a story while gaining the wisdom of yoga. I’ve also found these books to be powerful and profoundly transformational, even more so than some of the yoga classics… Hatha Yoga Pradipika I’m looking at you! None of these books are about asana or yoga posture. Instead, these books are about living your yoga practice. They are about living the truths of yoga. To be an effective yoga teacher, you eat, sleep, and breathe this stuff.

Embarking on a yoga teacher training will lead to one of the biggest shifts of your life… physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. The books I have chosen are great books to read before, during, and after your yoga teacher training. You will find inspiration for your classes, with themes and stories to relay to your students to teach them all 8 Limbs of yoga, not just yoga poses. These books are about embodiment, not theory. My copies of these books are well worn, dog eared, underlined, and highlighted. We discuss them in yoga teacher training. They join me on retreats and workshops. I’ve shared them with fellow yoga teachers, students and curious-minded non-yogis. I think you will love them and share them too. I invite you to dive in.

5 Yoga Books You Should Have Read During YTT But Didn’t

The Bhagavad Gita translated by Stephen Mitchell

I’ve had a love affair with the Bhagavad Gita since I first read it in high school. I studied another translation in college and I’ve read various translations, both good and bad, since becoming a yoga teacher. The Bhagavad Gita is one of the core books of Hinduism. The Gita teaches universal truths and the ancient wisdom of yoga. As a yoga teacher trainer, I think it’s so important that yoga teacher trainees are exposed to these older texts because they bring depth to their understanding of yoga’s cultural and historic roots.

By far, Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Bhagavad Gita is the most beautiful. As you read it, it feels as if you are right there on the battlefield with Arjuna and Krishna. The story and teachings are palpable. Stephen keeps the wisdom of the teachings flowing by not including a bunch of in-text commentary like some other popular translations. The audio version of this book on Audible is so beautiful. The orator (voice actor — what is this person’s title?) has a great voice and it sounds like you’re being read a story or epic poem. If you already have Audible, go download it, if you don’t have Audible, they frequently have deals like signup and get two free audiobooks.

There are so many beautiful passages within the Gita. In the passage below, Krishna is describing himself as the all-encompassing Divine through a series of opposites.

I am the father of the universe
and its mother, essence and goal
of all knowledge, the refiner, the sacred
Om, and the threefold Vedas.

I am the beginning and the end,
origin and dissolution,
refuge, home, true lover,
womb and imperishable seed.

I am the heat of the sun,
I hold back the rain and release it,
I am death, and the deathless,
and all that is or is not.

The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Stephen Mitchell

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda

Autobiography of a Yogi is one of those classic yoga books that it seems most yoga teachers and spiritual teachers have read at some point or another. In 1999, a panel of theologians at Harper Collins deemed Autobiography of a Yogi one of the “100 Most Important Spiritual Books of the 20th Century”. It follows the spiritual journey of Paramhansa Yogananda from his childhood in India through his creation of Kriya Yoga and life in America.

It takes a moment to get into Yogananda’s writing style, but once you do, it is easy to get into the flow. His yoga journey began as a child and he began searching for his guru at a very young age. Along his seeker’s path, he meets many characters before eventually finding his guru, Sri Yukteswar Giri. In the 1920s he made his way to America, even visiting the White House. He was a renowned spiritual teacher and created the Self Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles.

“Softer than the flower, where kindness is concerned; stronger than the thunder, where principles are at stake.”

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda

The Laws of Spirit: A Tale of Transformation by Dan Millman

yoga teacher training books

Dan Millman’s The Laws of Spirit follows the protagonist’s encounter with an ancient sage. As they travel through nearby forests and mountains, she teaches the universal principles of balance, choice, process, presence, compassion, faith, expectation, integrity, action, cycles, surrender, and unity. It is a beautiful book for anyone just starting their spiritual journey.

Although The Laws of Spirit can be read quickly, I like to read one Law each week and integrate the teaching throughout the week. It’s one thing to just read about the Laws and it’s another to live them. Living out these principles improves our relationships, guides our spiritual transformation, and helps us live a more full, harmonious, and meaningful life.

“Process transforms any journey into a series of small steps, taken one by one, to reach any goal. Process transcends time, teaches patience, rests on a solid foundation of careful preparation, and embodies trust in our unfolding potential.”

The Laws of Spirit: A Tale of Transformation by Dan Millman

The Path of the Yoga Sutras by Nicolai Bachman

The Path of the Yoga Sutras is a great introduction to the concepts outlined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Nicolai Bachman explains Patanjali’s teachings in a way that is easy to comprehend. He provides journaling exercises and other contemplative practices to expand and deepen your understanding of each concept. I recommend reading it alongside a classic translation of the Yoga Sutras, like Swami Satchidananda’s translation. You can read the Path of the Yoga Sutras like a guidebook to explore and deepen your understanding of the principles taught in the Yoga Sutras.

“Remember, the purpose of yoga is clarification of our individual field of consciousness in order to perceive external events clearly and connect to our inner light of awareness, our inner Self.”

The Path of the Yoga Sutras by Nicolai Bachman

How Yoga Works by Geshe Michael Roach

How Yoga Works weaves the teachings of the Yoga Sutras into a beautifully crafted novel that follows a young girl named Friday. She is imprisoned near the Indian-Tibetan border and held captive because they believe she has stolen the Yoga Sutras. Friday is wise beyond her years. She is able to transform her difficult situation into one of growth as she shares the wisdom of the yoga sutras with her captor. This novel, although long, is a captivating read that enhances the teachings of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

“Everything is a reflection of the condition of your own heart … And so looking at the world is like looking in a funny kind of mirror”

How Yoga Works by Michael Roach

Whether you’ve been teaching yoga for many years or you’re just starting your journey, these five yoga teacher training books that I’ve shared above will expand your understanding of yoga, beyond asana.

Many blessings on your journey,


Three Mudras for Svadisthana Chakra

seond chakra mudras

Let’s dive right in. Mudras are an amazing tool to harmonize your chakras and awaken to your full potential. Mudras are an ancient practice of hand positions that harness our prana and amplify our intentions. These mudras are easy to practice in meditation, in your asana practice, or even when you’re bumming around town. We can use mudras to direct our energy and focus and to awaken and align our chakras with our truth and the Divine within. In this post, I’ll be focusing on mudras for Svadisthana Chakra, also known as our sacral chakra.

If you’ve accidentally stumbled upon this blog post and you aren’t sure what the chakras are, I would encourage you to hit the pause button on this post and check out one of the following blog posts. These articles will give you a good foundation and introduction to the chakras.

Recently, I’ve been feeling called to share the following three mudras for Svadisthana Chakra. I know that someone out there needs them, maybe it’s you, maybe it’s one of your students or family members.

Shakti mudra for svadisthana chakra

A Brief Introduction to Svadisthana, Our Sacral Chakra

Briefly, Svadisthana is our second chakra and it’s commonly known as the Sacral Chakra because it resides in the region of our pelvis at the sacrum. As an energy center, it influences our reproductive organs, kidneys and bladder. The sacral chakra also governs the following characteristics of our personality and development:

  • Creation, generation, growth
  • Sensuality, sexuality, pleasure and desire/passion
  • Creativity
  • Our ability to let go and go with the flow

Getting in touch with the second chakra helps us cultivate the above characteristics in a healthy and balanced manner. A balanced second chakra brings health to our reproductive organs, awakens the Divine Feminine within, ignites the inner spark of creativity and passion, and syncs us with the rhythms of nature and the cycles of the moon.

Three mudras for Svadisthana Chakra

Yoni Mudra for the Second Chakra “Gesture of the Womb or Source”

Yoni mudra connects us to the goddess energy of the Dark Mother. The Dark Mother, in her various forms, has been worshipped and honored across cultures for thousands of years. This mudra connects us to the womb of creation and it’s primordial wisdom. Yoni mudra helps us ground when we feel anxious or when we feel like we’re spinning out of control.

Yoni Mudra is also tied to the Goddess Kali in Hinduism. Kali is one of the warrior goddesses. Briefly, she is the goddess of time, creation and destruction, and transformation. She is the goddess to call on when you have a battle to fight, whether it is internal or external. Kali is also called on when we’re ready to make big changes in our lives, when we’re ready to release what no longer serves us, and when we’re ready to step into our power, unapologetically.

svadisthana chakra yoni mudra for the second chakra

How to practice Yoni Mudra

Bring the tips of your index fingers to touch. Next, form a diamond shape by also bringing the tips of your thumbs to touch. Then interlace the middle fingers, ring fingers and pinky fingers. Bring your hands in front of your pelvis, svadisthana chakra, and point your index fingers down toward the earth. Sit quietly and take a moment to witness your breath. Experience your breath in your lower abdomen, your womb and your pelvis. Become aware of the ancient womb wisdom that resides within. This wisdom is passed down from generation to generation.

Although this mudra is typically practiced by women, men will benefit from its practice too and can benefit from tapping into the energy of the divine feminine and the wisdom of all mothers.

Shakti Mudra for Svadisthana Chakra “Gesture of the Divine Feminine” also known as the “Gesture of Power”

Shakti Mudra, much like other Svadisthana Chakra practices, brings awareness and wellbeing to the region of the pelvis and lower back by directing prana known as life-force energy. When Swadisthana chakra is balanced we know our self-worth and we feel creative in both artistic endeavors and in problem solving. We are adaptable, empowered, and trust our inner wisdom. Shakti Mudra helps us access our innate power and strength and connects us to the energy of the Hindu goddess Durga.

This mudra is thought to assist the flow of apana, the down and outward flowing energy of the abdomen and pelvis. It helps in the processes of digestion and elimination and it helps relieve menstrual discomfort.

One of the major benefits of Shakti Mudra is its ability to calm the body and mind. Shakti Mudra helps relieve stress and anxiety and promotes a good night’s sleep. For better sleep, practice shakti mudra before bed and combine it with a gentle pranayama that lengthens your exhale breath.

shakti mudra for the sacral chakra

How to Practice Shakti Mudra

shakti mudra for svadisthana chakra

Bring your hands in front of your heart space. Tuck your thumbs into the palm of your hands, fold your index finger, and middle finger over the top of your thumbs. Then bring the tips of your ring fingers and the tips of your little fingers to touch. The fingernails of your middle finger and ring finger will be touching the respective fingernail on the opposite hand. The base of your palms may or may not be touching. Hold the mudra in front of your heart space. If your arms become tired you can release your hands down toward your abdomen or pelvis.

Hold for up to 30 minutes or the duration of your meditation practice. If 30 minutes feels too long and you end up feeling lethargic, try shortening your practice down to 12 minutes and practice one to three 12 minute sessions per day.

Ksepana Mudra for Swadisthana Chakra “Gesture of Surrender”

Ksepana Mudra is one of my all time favorite mudras, simply because the effect is palpable and immediate. This mudra helps install the water element in the second chakra and helps us release negativity, stress, and tension. As I’m sure you have experienced, it is hard to be creative when we’re feeling stuck or stressed and this mudra gets things moving and flowing. Hop over to this blog post if you would like to learn more about Ksepana Mudra.

ksepana mudra for svadisthana chakra

How to Practice Ksepana Mudra

To begin, bring the palms of your hands to touch, interlace your fingers, and then release your index fingers. Next, bring your hands to rest in front of your pelvis and turn your index fingers to point downward. If you are drawn to moving meditations or visualization practices, check out this Ksepana Mudra practice shared in this post.

As you continue on your journey of self-exploration, I hope that you find these mudras for Svadisthana Chakra helpful. Deepen and expand your practice by joining an upcoming yoga retreat. As always, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Love & Light,

Yoga Nidra Script Inspired by Nature

yoga nidra script inspired by nature

Hello Beauty!

I’m happy you’re here. If you’ve been on retreat with me before, you know how much reverence I have for the natural world. Today I would like to share with you a yoga nidra script inspired by nature, one of my regular retreat destinations and cowritten by fellow retreat leader Toni Larson and myself. It’s also one of the yoga nidra scripts that my yoga teacher training students learn in their yoga nidra module.

This short yoga nidra script will take approximately 20-25 minutes and its format is inspired by the teachings of the Bihar School in India and it follows an inward journey through the koshas, from annamaya kosha to anandamaya kosha.

Yoga nidra has so many benefits… from relieving stress to improving sleep and accessing that bliss state, ananda. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of yoga nidra, check out this blog post here.

A Few Tips For Teaching and Practicing Yoga Nidra

Remember that when you’re preparing your yoga nidra script, you want your language to be simple and precise. When you’re reading or reciting your script, avoid too much inflection in your voice. Speak clearly, with an even volume and tempo.

Yoga nidra is a wonderful and fertile space for working with a sankalpa. Formulate your sankalpa as a positive “I am” statement. If one doesn’t come to mind, I encourage you to use the sankalpa, “I am the witness”. You may just discover that your sankalpa was hidden within this whole time.

If you are facilitating yoga nidra, make sure that you are seated upright in a position that you can be still in. Make sure that you are comfortable. If you are distracted by discomfort in your body, that distracted energy will carry over to your students.

If you are practicing yoga nidra, make sure that you are comfortable. Use a pillow or folded blanket under your head and a cushion or bolster underneath your knees will help release your lower back. The body temperature does drop while yoga nidra, so drape a blanket over your body. You want to be as still as possible, so make sure that you’re as comfortable as possible.


Yoga Nidra Script Inspired by Nature Written by Autumn Adams

We will practice yoga nidra in Savasana, lying on your back. Please take a moment to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Use any props you have available to support your body.

Before we begin, bring into your mind’s eye your sankalpa, your “I am” statement. Repeat it quietly and internally to yourself three times. [PAUSE]

Preliminary Relaxation

As you settle into Savasana, bring your awareness to the spaces between your body and the earth beneath you. Invite your body to soften and rest. As you begin to surrender into relaxation, notice the spaces between your body and the earth beneath you becoming smaller and smaller. Your body relaxed, lying on the floor.

We will begin a rotation of awareness. All you have to do is allow your awareness to follow my voice as I guide you from point to point within your body.

Option #1: An Abbreviated Rotation of Awareness — Perfect for when you’re short on time

Right heel. Left heel. Right calf. Left calf. Right knee. Left knee. Right thigh. Left thigh. Right hip. Left hip. Both hips together. Lower back. Middle back. Upper back. Back of right hand. Back of left hand. Right wrist. Left wrist. Right forearm. Left forearm. Right elbow. Left elbow. Right upper arm. Left upper arm. Right shoulder. Left shoulder. Both shoulders together. Neck. Back of head. All points of contact with the earth. [PAUSE]

Option #2: Long Form Rotation of Awareness

Move your awareness to your mouth. Become aware of your tongue. Lower jaw. Lower row of teeth. Upper row of teeth. Gums. Upper lip. Lower lip. Space between your lips. Both cheeks. Right ear. Left ear. Forehead. Both temples. Top of the head. Back of the head. Tip of the nose. Right nostril. Left nostril. Right eyelid. Left eyelid. Right eye. Left eye. Right eyebrow. Left eyebrow. Space between the eyebrows. Now go to the right hand. The right hand thumb. Second finger. Third finger. Fourth finger. Little finger. Palm of the hand. Back of the hand. Wrist. Forearm. Elbow. Upper arm. Shoulder. Right armpit. Ribs. Waist. Hip. Right thigh. Knee. Calf. Ankle. Heel. Sole of the foot. Top of the foot. Right big toe. Second toe. Third toe. Fourth toe. Little toe. Go to the left hand. The left hand thumb. Second finger. Third finger. Fourth finger. Little finger. Palm of the hand. Back of the hand. Wrist. Forearm. Elbow. Upper arm. Shoulder. Left armpit. Ribs. Waist. Hip. Left thigh. Knee. Calf. Ankle. Heel. Sole of the foot. Top of the foot. Left big toe. Second toe. Third toe. Fourth toe. Little toe. Groin. Right buttock. Left buttock. Lower back. Mid-back. Upper back. Right shoulder blade. Left shoulder blade. Back of the neck. Back of the head. Right inner ear. Left inner ear. Roof of the mouth. Throat. Right collar bone. Left collar bone. Right chest. Left chest. Middle chest. Upper abdomen. Navel. Lower abdomen. Groin. Whole spine. The whole head. Right arm. Left arm. Both arms together. The whole right leg. The whole left leg. Both legs together. Whole front body. Whole back body. Be aware of the whole body. [PAUSE]

Breath Awareness

Now bring your awareness to your breath. Follow the gentle tide of your breath without altering it. Now, envision your breath as a golden light flowing up and down your spinal column. With your inhale, the golden light flows from the tailbone to the crown of the head. And with your exhale, it flows from the crown of the head back down to the tailbone. A cosmic tide of prana. Stay with your breath as it flows up and down your spinal column, golden, vibrant, radiant. [PAUSE]

Opposite Sensations

Now bring awareness to the sensation of heat. Your right leg warm. Your left leg warm. Both arms warm. Torso warm. The whole body becoming hot. [PAUSE]

All at once, your body becomes cold. Legs cold. Arms cold. Torso cold. The entire body cold. [PAUSE] Now let that go. [SHORT PAUSE]

Guided Imagery Journey

Imagine that you are standing outside in nature
You feel your bare feet on the earth
You’re standing in an open meadow surrounded by a lush forest
You tip your face upward to feel the warmth of the sun
Smell the wildflowers in the air
In the distance you see a path leading into the forest
You walk toward the path and step into the forest
Once inside the forest, your eyes adjust to the shade of the trees
The path continues in front of you and winds easily up the hillside
Sunlight shines through the trees, birds sing in the distance
You continue on the path as it climbs steadily uphill
Near the top of the hill you see a small opening in the side of the mountain
This opening is a cave
You feel drawn to the cave and walk toward it
Within the cave you see a single lit candle
You realize you’ve stumbled into a sacred temple
You sit down upon the earth
A sense of calm washes over you, you feel at peace with all that is
You need nothing from the outside world, you gaze into the candle flame
You drop into deep meditation
In the middle of the flame you see the purest golden seed, untouched by the flame
On the surface of the seed, see your sankalpa inscribed.
Gaze into the flame once again
The seed is no longer in the flame
The seed is now in your heart
Repeat your sankalpa 3 times, quietly, internally and with meaning.

The practice of yoga nidra is now complete.

Gently guide your awareness back to your physical body, lying on the earth. Become aware of your breath. Your body slowly breathing in and out. Without opening your eyes, become aware of your surroundings. The earth beneath you. As your awareness comes back, invite your breath to deepen. When you feel ready, stretch your arms long overhead, extend your legs long, point your toes and take a full-body stretch. Slowly roll over into the fetal position on your right side. A posture that resembles a newborn child or fertile seed, a posture that symbolizes new beginnings. Take a moment here. When you’re ready, gently press up to a comfortable seat.

So many of you have asked for a recording to practice with, so I’ve just recorded this yoga nidra script and put it up on YouTube. Here it is. Enjoy!

25 minute yoga nidra practice inspired by nature

Please feel free to reach out with questions. Happy healing!

Love and Light,


Permissions for live in-person classes only: This script is copyrighted Ambuja Yoga© 2019, all rights reserved. You may use this script to guide live in-person classes or events only. Descriptions and advertising for any live in-person class using this script in whole or in part must include one of the following attributions: script ©Ambuja Yoga used by permission, or modified from script ©Ambuja Yoga used by permission.

This use does not convey the right to borrow from this script or to reproduce it in any way. No part of this script may be reproduced, distributed, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, digital copying, print, audio or video recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

yoga nidra script for rest and relaxation

Other Resources for Yoga Nidra