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The Gestures, or Mudras

(3) The Arch Contraction (maha bandha): "Spreading the feet place the right foot on the left thigh, and contracting the anus and the yoni-place draw the excreting energy (apana) upwards and bring it in contact with the digestive energy (Samana). Then bring the vital breath downward. The wise yogi then binds to one another the breathing and excreting energies (prana and apana) and makes them rise up together.

"This Arch Contraction leads one upon the path of attainments and the yogi thus brings the essence collected from all the channels to his forehead." (Shiva Samhita 4, 37-40.)

"By practice the vital breath will become firmly set in the middle of the central artery of the subtle body and as a result of this Arch Contraction the body will be strengthened, its frame of bones as well as all its muscles will become more powerful. The heart of the yogi will brim with joy and he will live in happiness; having gained much by this Arch-contraction he will go on practicing it and achieve all he wishes for." (Shiva Samhita 4, 41-42.)

The exact method of the Arch Contraction is usually given as follows:

After placing the left foot on the "seam" and the right foot on the left thigh at its root, do five air "rubbings" (gharshana) through the left nostril. Inhale through the same nostril, hold the breath and catch hold of the right knee with both hands interlocked and, fixing the mind on the central artery of the subtle body, think: "I am awakening the coiled energy and carrying her into my head to the Principial Center." Hold the breath as long as possible before exhaling very slowly through the right nostril. Do as many of this contraction as desired and repeat the same number on the opposite side. Its effects are very similar to those of the "Arch Gesture".

The instructions for the practice of the Arch Contraction are given by some teachers under two other forms:

(a) Take the posture of Attainment and apply strongly and continuously the Root contraction. Then place both hands on the ground near the hips and do five air "rubbings"; after which, inhale through both nostrils and hold the breath. While holding the breath, think: "the coiled energy is waking up". Then lift the body slightly on the hands, and, as long as the breath can be held, brush the ground with the seat. Rest again on the ground and exhale very slowly.

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