Many of the world’s spiritual traditions suggest a cleansing of the hands, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth upon waking, and prior to prayer or meditation. Yoga’s ayurvedic prescriptions join the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity) in this recommendation: The idea is to prepare one’s channels for communication with God, and to pave the way for positive thoughts, words, and actions. I mention this ritual, as I think it is a valuable accompaniment to today’s mudra practice.
At the very least, run your hands under water, splash some water on your face, rub your ears, and blow your nose before and after your session. This is a practice that depends largely on your focused intention and mental suggestion to the body: Open and clear the passages.
If you predictably wrangle with sneezing, stuffiness, and itchiness during the Spring and Summer, begin to practice this mudra in the early Spring; as we are past that point as I write this, an alternative method of practice is to engage the mudra upon waking and before bedtime. During the daytime high pollen count, the mudra will act more as an aid to any medication you may take: Think of it as the “spoonful of sugar” that helps the medicine go down (with due respect to Mary Poppins).
To create the Bee mudra, curl your index finger inside of the thumb on each hand. Then, touch the inner edge of the middle finger of each hand to its respective thumb tip; the other fingers extend straight. Now, sit quietly, palms up and resting on the knees, closed eyes gazing at the Third Eye. Breathe as deeply as possible, in and out through the nose: If nasal breathing is nearly impossible for you, slightly part the lips and breathe as fully as you can through the mouth. Finally, in order to allow the mudra to do its work, allow any bodily reactions that may occur (e.g., clearing the throat, snorting, ear-popping, etc.). Sit with the mudra for 3-11 minutes.
Be aware that you have activated the Lung and Large Intestine meridians, which govern the process of elimination. Additionally, the mudra connects to the sinuses, eyes, and ears; you can expect to initiate some tickling in the nose, and some heat in the head. Mudras that are designed to address a specific health condition often exacerbate or bring symptoms to the surface, hard and fast. As uncomfortable as this may be, feel confident that on the other side of discomfort lies some relief.
Special note: Although svasana, or supine resting pose, typically follows practice, today’s technique calls for a different approach. Seated, spread your legs comfortably apart. In the space between them, place a block, standing vertically; lean forward, resting your forehead on the block. If you are unable to assume this position, straddle your legs on either side of a chair, and rest your forehead on the edge of the chair’s seat. Rest here for 1-3 minutes.
Allergy season can be very trying. This mudra, when practiced regularly throughout the Summer, can begin to introduce a calming, balancing energy into the overactive systemic response to allergens.