Nasikagra Drishti Mudra, Agochari Mudra for Focusing the Mind
Nasikarga Drishti Mudra, put succinctly, is focusing both the eyes on the ti of the nose. Nasika, as word means nose, agra stands for the tip or the edge of something, and drishti means gazing, or the sight. Thus this technique of yoga is known as nose tip gazing. Another name of this practice is Agochari mudra meaning 'beyond what the senses can percieve', 'unknown', or 'invisible'. The practice of mudra, therefore, enables the practitioner to percieve beyond the abilty of the sense organs.
Symbolically, the length of the nose is taken as (is related to) the length of the spinal cord. Just as the different centers in the body are represented in the brain, the different pshychic centers are also represented along the length of the nose. As at the top of the spine rests the Ajna Chakra, and at the base of the spine is located the Mooladhara Chakara, at the top of the nose bridge is located the Ajna Chakara, and the lower part of the nose bridge, the nose tip is considered as Mooladhara Chakra. Thus, gazing at the nose tip helps one directly activate the Kundalini Shakti located at Mooladhara Chakra.
The antiquity of Naikagra Drishti Mudra, Agochari Mudra dates back to thousands of years, as a statue of a yogi sitting with his eyes focused on the tip of his nose had been excavated from the remains of the Indus Valley Civilization, from the ruins of the its site at Mohenjodaro, much before the vedas were written. This mudra is similar to Shambhavi Mudra, where in one focuses the sight between the eyebrows, or the Ajna Chakra, in Nasikagra Drishti Mudra one needs to focus one's gaze on the nose tip instead. Botht he mudras are powerful techniques for improving concentration of the mind which helps one slip into the meditative state,
Both these mudras form an integral part of Kriya yoga and must be sufficiently mastered before the one begins to practice this form of yoga. Agochari Mudra, Nasikagra mudra has been mentioned in multiple ancient texts on yoga: Bhagwat Gita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and the Chinese scripture Tai Chin Hua Tzung Chih. The technique appears to be too easy or simple to perform, when introduced for the first time, but takes quite a practice intially to habituate the eyes maintain the focus on the tip of the nose.
If practicing for the first time keeping the eyes focused on to the nose tip can be a real challange as the eye muscles are not accustomed to the related strain one can experience intially. In order to make the eye muscles accustomed to this not very normal movement and understand the exact alignment of the sight on to the nose tip one must begin my practicing priliminary excercise for Nasikagra Drishti or Agochari Mudra.
Nasikagra Drishti Mudra, Preparatory Practice
Sit in any crossed legs posture like Sukhasana, Padmanasa, or Sidhasana, one can even sit with both the legs stretched out together in front
Hold the right hand, made into a fist with the thumb pointing upwards, directly at a comfortable distance from and in front of the nose, the elbow can be kept slightly bend
Focus botht he eyes on the tip of the thumb
slowly bring the thumb to the tip of the nose, keeping the eyes focused on to the tip of the thumb, keep the eyes focused on the tip of the thumb for a few seconds
Now slowly move the thumb, with the eyes focused on its tip away from the nose tip by straightening the arm
This is one round, practice five rounds, in the fifth round one the thumb is help close to the tip of the nose tranger the focus of the eyes from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the nose, keep the focus here for a few seconds.
Inhale while moving the thumb to the nose tip, retain the breath while maintaining the thumb at the nose tip and exhale while moving the thumb away from the tip of the nose.
This exercise improves the accomodating and focusing power of the eye muscles.
One can relax in Shavasana or cup the eyes with the palms after rubbing them together after the session on the preparatory exercise is over. With consistent practice one would not need the help of the thumb to guide one's sight on to the nose tip, now one can easily keep the gaze focused directly on to the nose tip.
Nasikagra Drishti Mudra, Agochari Mudra Technique
Sit in any meditative posture, palms on the knees in chin or Jnana Mudra, and the shoulders are kept relaxed
Slowly close the eyes, and mentally relax the whole body, breathe normal throughtout the practice
Keep the head neutral on the shoulders by keeping the spine straight, open the eyes slightly and focus the gaze on the nose tip
Avoid straining the eyes, Hold the gaze soft and steady on the tip of the nose
As you begin to focus the eyes on the nose tip a double outline of the lower countour of the nose, as seen from the eyes, will be visible, as you focus the eyes further the two outlines will merge into a inverted V shape, focus the eyes on the tip of the inverted V
In case a strain is experienced, release the gace and relax the eyes for a few seconds, repeat the practice after the relaxation
Gradually increase the time you can hold the gaze over the nose tip, try to attain the duration of a 5 minutes
Initially the vision will be unsteady and the eyes will tire out easily, with consistent practice the eyes will gain in steadiness and focus
Once gazing at the nose becomes easy, effortless begin to fix your attention on each inhalation and exhalation at the tip of the nose, strive to determine which nostril is active at that particular moment
The practice of Nasikagra Drishti Mudra, Agochari Mudra must balance the flow of breath within both the nostrils as this is when the prana is flowing through the Sushumna nadi
After 5 minutes slowly close the eyes and focus on the dark space in front of the closed eyes, known as chidaksha, in case a light emerges in this darkness concentrate on it, this can help one completely experience the bare consciousness
Maintain a thoughtless state thorughout the practice of Nasikagra Drishti
Practicing Agochari Mudra with Kumbhaka
Agochari mudra or the gesture of gazing at the nose tip is always done by retaining th ebreath inside the lungs - internal Kumbhaka - and not outside. The eyes are kept closed while inhaling and exhaling, the Nasikagra Drishti mudra is only maintained during the duration of internal kumbhaka.
Begin by closing the eyes, bring your awareness on the breath at the nose tip
Take a inhalation while the eyes are closed
Retain the breath within the lungs, open the eyes slightly and focus the gace over the tip of the nose
Concentrate on the vertex of the inverted V shape visible at the tip of the nose as before, retaention of the breath will help intensify the concentration
Hold the mudra for a period which is confortable, without any strain on the lungs or the eyes, release the mudra by exhaling and closing the eyes to relax them
Repeat the practice for at least 5 minutes
Thought th eyes remaain open while practicing Nasikagra Drishti Mudra the main aim of the practice to produce introspection, with no awareness of the outside world. One should be aware of the contraction produced in the muscles of the eyes and the attention must also be kept on Mooldhara Chakra.
Nasikagra Drishti Mudra is best practice in the morning or in the evening just before the bed time.
Nasikagra Mudra , Agochari mudra Contraindications
Persons who are experiencing the conditions as mentioned here must avoid practicing Agochari Mudra.
Recent cataract surgery (practice under the guidance of a competent yoga teacher)
Suffering from depression
Nasikagra Mudra Benefits
It helps calm down the anger and relieve mental stress
It benefits by helping improve the power of concentration of the mind
If practiced over a period of time it can help awaken and balance the Mooladhara Chakra, and take the practitioner into the psychic and spiritual planes of consciousness
It helps improve the eye sight and strengthens the muscles holding the eye balls
It is believed that as the practice of Nasikagra Drishti Mudra deepens one can experience the divine aroma (divya gandha)
If practiced just before going to sleep it can heal insomnia
It can help the practitioner gain control over prana through meditation
Chinese Meridians and Nasikagra Drishti Mudra
As per yoga the tip of the nose, the sense of smell, and the Mooladhara Chakra are directly connected. This connection is well explained by the theory of accupressure. As per the concept of Chinese meridians the point 'GV 25' of the governing meridian is situated over the tip of the nose whihc gets stimulated as one concentrates here while practicing Nasikagra Drishti Mudra. This point is one of a very significant terminal points of governing meridian. This meridian is one of the two most important extraordinary meridians int he body, and it runs along the back median line.
This meridian emerges at the surface in the perinium area, runs to the tail bone, coccyx, and up the back of the body, over th ehead and end on to the upper lip. Second extraordinary meridain, conception meridian begins at the perinium, point CO 1, runs ups along the frontal medial line and ends up at the upper lip as well. Both these meridians are thus connected in a yin-yang relationship, stimulation in one of them affects the flow of energy in the other.
As the point 'GV 25' located on the governor meridien is stimulated by the practice of Nasikagra Drishti Mudra it affects the flow of energy in the conception meridian too. As this stimulation in the conception meridian travels along its length and reaches the point 'CO 1' located at the perinium the Mooladhar Chakra receives a activation push. Similarly, the Ajna Chakra and the Mooladhara Chakras are also connected via the conception and the governor meridians.
Traditional functions of the point 'GV 25' located on the nose tip include the raising of the yang, restoring energy of and clearing the senses which leads to the increased power of concentration. This also increases the flow of energy towards the head which facilitates meditative states of mind. All the yang energies are created from the yin - the earth - and always flow upwards in the body. Point 'GV 25' raises the yang up along with also stimulating the conception meridian which is yin.
Stimulation of the point 'CO 1' stimulates the Mooldhara Chakra which corresponds to the element earth in yoga and is the basic source of prana.