Consider today’s practice a preamble to an upcoming piece that I am writing. Therein, I will be offering a simple, yet complete routine of Yin and Kundalini yoga (including pranayama and mudra), qigong movements, and a selection of purifying home remedies. On this Silent Sunday, I introduce a mudra that works to cleanse and expand your energy field; soothe skin conditions; and enhance any detox practice.
It is easy to forget that the skin is an organ of elimination, because it is often regarded as a commodity of beauty. Ironically, so much of what women, especially, apply to their skin in the pursuit of aesthetics (e.g., foundation, cover-up, blush, etc.) tends to compromise the skin’s ability to do its job. Perhaps a more helpful approach would be to note that clear, radiant skin indicates a healthy inner environment, which can make anyone feel “beautiful.”
Yet for those who contend with troubled skin, their physiological health is not necessarily poor; rather, they may be experiencing hormonal changes, traveling, or coping with life stressors, all of which may challenge any organ’s optimal function. The skin is the barrier through which systemic toxicity is released. If the organic debris is not able to exit through the pores, some remnant–rash, acne–may appear. While the following mudra is in no way a “miracle cure,” it can stimulate the body’s organs of elimination, including the skin. Further, any practice that induces calm will combat an inarguable foe of skin: negative energy, in the form of personal stress or external tensions.
While engaging Ksepana Mudra, you may sit or lie down. In either case, the index fingers will point downward toward the navel. To form the mudra, interlace all the fingers, leaving some space between the palms. Then, release the index fingers, bringing them together to form a “steeple.” Position the thumb tips in the opposite thumb’s crook (the creased hollow at the base of each thumb.) You may need to experiment with which thumb rests over the top of the other. I have found that I can only access the proper resting space for each thumb tip when I cross the right over the left thumb: Each individual’s anatomy will differ.
Special note: In kundalini yoga, women typically cross the left over the right, and men, the right over left when in Venus Lock (the interlaced finger mudra). For Ksepana Mudra, however, no such distinction is made.
Now, breathe deeply in and out for no more than 15 breaths (or approximately 1-2 minutes). With each inhale, draw in fresh, positive energy; this may be in the form of a color, a prayer, a thought, or an image. Then pay special attention to the exhalation, as you pointedly guide the release of toxicity, either physical or emotional. The limitation on this practice’s duration prevents the release of fresh energy once stagnancy has been eliminated.
After this phase of the meditation, come to a seated position (if you have been lying down). While the suggested hand placement is palms up, resting on your thighs, I enjoy an elevated hand and arm position; I find that it increases the sense of the surrounding energy field also being refreshed. To do this version, bring your arms out to the sides at shoulder level. Then, bend the elbows to 90 degrees; next, bend the wrists back, so that the palms face up, fingers pointing straight out to the sides. Regardless of which hand position you choose, breathe deeply, allowing the new input of cleansed energy to flow through and become integrated in your entire being. Sit and inhabit this renewed state for as long as you like.