Samana Vayu is the a hand gesture (yoga mudra) to improve the flow of prana to the stomach region. Samana is the integrating life-wind (Vayu) located around the navel point. It is closely associated with digestion and linked to metabolic fire (Agni).
The process of digestion is one of the most energy-intensive tasks within the human body. It demands a lot of pranic expenditure to digest and sort the things we allow into our mind and body. This makes it crucial to eat responsibly and maintain a healthy diet.
But sometimes we fail to do so either due to carelessness or circumstances. This creates an imbalance in Samana - one of the 5 currents of prana - the vital breath. If you are lost, that's because this is the third post of the series. Let's quickly recap the basics.
When prana enters our body via breathing, it is divided into five parts - Prana, Udana, Vyana, Samana, and Apana Vayu. These five Vayus (we call them life-winds) are located in specific regions of the body and influence the glands and organs in that region.
When they are balanced, we experience good health. Everything runs smoothly. But when they are altered unnaturally or imbalanced, we become prone to discomfort or diseases. This is based on a theory called Pancha Prana - the five vayus of prana.
In this post, we explain how to do Samana Vayu Mudra, its benefits, and complementary practices to strengthen Samana.
Definition: Samana Vayu Mudra
Samana Vayu Mudra is a yogic hand gesture that involves touching the tips of all the fingers to the thumb. The mudra balances the flow of energy in the navel region. Samana mudra is used to improve digestion, absorption, and the functioning of the stomach and the intestines. It is also called Mukula Mudra or Tri-dosha Nashak Mudra.
Samana = Equilibrium | Vayu = Air | Mudra = Hand Gesture.
The mudra is associated with the fire element (Agni). It represents the gastric juices that digest the food and separate them into nutrition and waste. The Samana gesture is therefore used to improve digestion and Samana Vata - one of the five parts of Vata Dosha in Ayurveda.
Role and Function
Samana circulates in the digestive organs - the area between the diaphragm and navel. It governs the biological functions of the stomach, pancreas, liver, and intestinal tract. Samana is responsible for the absorption and assimilation of life energy and food in the body. It is also connected to the metabolic fire called Jatharagni and the Solar Plexus or Manipura Chakra.
Our brain has a strong association with Samana Vayu Mudra because it symbolizes eating - a feeling of nourishing and nurturing the body.
Samana imbalance is generally caused by an improper diet, excessive or irregular eating, and/or continuous exposure to a stressful environment. Over time, these habits weaken the digestive fire. This weakness results in poor absorption and assimilation of nutrition.
Samana Vayu is vital because imbalances lead to weakness and poor weight management. If you can't absorb nutrition from food, it can lead to many disorders and diseases. This can range from severe indigestion to poor metabolism and being overweight.
How to form Samana Mudra?
To form Samana Vayu Mudra, get into any comfortable pose, preferably a cross-legged posture used for pranayama or meditation. You can also use it while lying down.
Close your eyes and relax with a few deep breaths. Place the hands on the knees with the palms facing upwards.
Bring the tips of all your fingers to touch the tip of the thumb.
The fingers touch the thumb gently, without using too much pressure. The hand should stay relaxed.
This yogic hand gesture is called the Samana Mudra or Samana Vayu Mudra.
Salutary mudras like Samana Mudra can be done lying down, sitting, or standing.
Sitting cross-legged is ideal for attaining subtle psycho-spiritual benefits.
Maintain even and rhythmic breathing.
Bring your awareness to the navel point to enhance the effect of the mudra.
Check the general guidelines for yoga mudras if you use them as a healing modality.
Duration: For curative benefits, practice the yogic hand gesture for a minimum of 10 (minimum) to 30 minutes for seven days. Or, do it in three 15-minute sessions in the morning, afternoon, and evening. You can also do it for 5 to 10 minutes if you experience any digestion-related problems.
Samana Vayu Mudra Benefits
If you observe the Samana Vayu Mudra (see illustration), it is the same finger arrangement made when we place food in our mouth. Moreover, each finger represents one of the five elements - fire, air, ether, earth, and water. Touching the tips of all the fingers together balances these elements and their function in our physical/mental constitution.
The main benefits of Samana Vayu Mudra are:
Samana Mudra improves the flow of prana to the stomach and intestines.
It reduces acidity, flatulence (gas), and minor digestive issues.
The mudra balances all five elements and brings us closer to Tri-dosha.
It strengthens liver function with long-term use.
Samana Mudra is helpful in lowering blood pressure.
It improves metabolism and increases appetite.
As we have said before, there are no particular downsides to hand gestures. You can try them and discontinue use if you see no results or feel that they lead to any issues. Samana Vayu Mudra is not a replacement for any medical therapy or ongoing treatment. Consult Ayurvedic practitioners to understand your constitution to make holistic changes for better health.
In Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Samana is one of the ten parts of prana (dasha prana). Yogis do not use Samana Vayu mudra per se. It is used for therapy in an Ayurvedic context. However, it can be done in conjunction with Kundalini meditation that focuses on the Solar Plexus Chakra.
Of course, no one can meditate or do asanas with indigestion or weakness. So in that sense, Samana Mudra helps enhance your practice. Strengthen Samana with energizing pranayamas (Bhastrika and Kapalbhati) to stir the metabolic fire. Add the following yoga poses to your flow:
Triangle Pose – Trikonasana
Seated Twist – Ardha Matsyendrasana
Cobra Pose – Bhujangasana
Bow Pose – Dhanurasana
Seated forward bends (i.e. Child's Pose)
Lastly, you can conclude your practice with deep, even breathing in Corpse Pose, Alternate Nostril Breathing, and/or chanting the seed (beej) mantra “RAM” to stimulate the Solar Plexus.