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Season 4 - Episode 10

Maha Mudra Flow

40 min - Practice


Enjoy this lovely, circular flow around the mat, exploring variations of Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) and Maha Mudra, which invite us to curate the stillness and concentration required for meditation. You will feel quiet and present.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Strap

About This Video


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Hi and welcome back. I'm so looking forward to this sequence, sharing it with you. It's a very beautiful, creative, flowy sequence. We'll be moving in a circle around the mat and it's really an invitation to become quite still and quiet and present in the practice. It's a very meditative sequence. There are some postures that are challenging not in the physically kind of strong way but in a way that requires deep concentration. So it's a wonderful prep for meditation. Let's get started. So you'll go ahead and come to your knees like I'm seated. I'm going to turn around so you can see my feet here. And you will bring your big toe mounds together. We're going to do some ankle work. Taking the thumbs to the sides of the ankles here, pressing them together and then beginning to sit the hips back. So it should feel like quite a big ankle stretch. See if you can keep those heel bones moving together and just moving into an edge that works for you. Really spread the toes. Let's breathe. And if the ankles have started to draw apart, maybe reset them for our last big breath here. And as you breathe in, you can come up and we'll tuck the toes coming into big toe stretch. Get that little pinky toe down. Getting all the toes down. Feel the inner thighs drawing together and the ribs moving in. Noticing if one ankle is splaying out to the side. And can you draw the ankles so they're right under the sitting bones. Face forward. Still in my big toe stretch though. We'll do a little wrist work. So you'll take your arms out to the side. Cross your right wrist over your left. Interlace your fingers. Open up your elbows as you draw your fists in. And here we go. Slowly extending the arms out in front of you. And you might be here. You might be here. Just breathe. And we'll release. Let's do the other side. So left arm on top of right. Interlace the other way. It should feel like maybe you're holding someone else's hand. Knuckles draw in. And as you exhale, reaching them forward. I know you're still sitting on your feet. Take a big breath. And release the wrists and the toes. And let's come off the feet there for a moment and give them a break. Grab your blanket. We'll put the blanket in what I call the tequito. So you'll roll it up in a nice tight roll. And come back over your feet. And we'll come into malasana here. With the heels right on the blanket. It can be helpful to step onto it. Toes turn out. Feet are a natural width apart. Maybe hip width. And you'll settle your hips down. Bring your hands to your heart. Elongate your spine.

We'll explore these three diaphragms in the body. So you have your pelvic floor diaphragm. Down low. Your respiratory diaphragm, which is kind of in the middle. And then your upper diaphragm. Your thoracic here. And what I like to do is to take the hands out in front. Really relax your body. Exhale completely. And then as you inhale, breathe into that low belly first. Really relaxing the pelvic floor diaphragm. Crawl the breath up the ribs into the respiratory diaphragm. So right around the nipple line. Then keep inhaling all the way up here to the top lobes of the lungs. Holding the breath in. Kind of draw your chin in and sit up tall for a moment. And feel a connection between the pelvic floor and the chest. And then exhale completely. Let's do two more. I'll cue you through it. So inhale. Pubic bone to belly button. Belly button to nipple line. Nipple line to collarbones. Finding the spine, but lowering the chin. Feeling just a natural lift from the pelvic floor all the way up to the throat. And exhale completely. Release everything. You can look forward a little bit. And we'll do one more. Pubic bone to belly button. Belly button to nipple line. Nipple line to collarbones. Pause and hold. So short retention. There's a gentle engagement that happens naturally. You don't need to force anything. And exhale, release. Go ahead and slide your blanket out to the side. Sit on your tush. You'll cross your left leg in and tuck your right leg along the side of your body. Just place your blanket to the side so it's not in the way. And you'll reach your left hand out to the side and we'll take that right arm overhead and start to do some big circles here. Continuing to open up the breathing muscles. Inhale, arm up. Exhale, back of the hand down. One more. And as you exhale, pop yourself over. Now the right hand's on the mat. The left arm comes up. Couple big circles. Last. Big circle with the arm. Move with breath. And then turning that left hand onto the mat and kind of grab the mat with your fingers, round your back and draw yourself towards your right thigh. Inhale, look up halfway. Exhale completely.

Rounding the back. Come out of it. Big breath in. Left arm lifts you up. You'll bring your hands behind you. And as you exhale, you can lift your hips here. Take a nice inhale at the top. And slowly sit down. Let's flip legs. Now right one turns out and the left one turns in. Bringing your right arm out to the side. Left arm overhead. A couple big circles. Exhale, the hand moves back. Inhale, hand over the horizon. Last one. And as you exhale, flip yourself over and begin to circle out the right arm. Nice big breath. Inhale, crossing the horizon. This is our last one. And grabbing the mat with your right hand. Twist and turn yourself towards your left thigh. Inhale, look up halfway. As you exhale, kind of round your back. Opening up those back right ribs. Take a breath in. And out. And inhale, pop yourself up. Hands behind you, just lightly placing the fingers on the mat. Exhale to lift the hips. Inhale, hard up. And exhale down. Awesome job. Let's go ahead and roll our way all the way up to seated. So you can roll onto your back. Rock and roll a few times. And then rolling slowly into a standing fold. Heel toe your feet so they're comfortable with. Maybe grab your elbows and just hang. Re-cross your other elbow on top. Take another two breaths. You're welcome to sway a little side to side. And releasing those hands, bring the hands to your waist, small bend in the knees. Inhale all the way up to standing. And heel toe the feet so they're closer together if they were wide. As you next breathe in, you'll raise your arms. And on your exhale, you'll sweep your right foot back into pyramid. So it's about two and a half to three feet. Take a nice breath. Heart lifts. Exhale. Reach the heart forward and interlace your fingers behind you. Really pull the knuckles apart to elongate the spine. Can you lift the center three toes off the mat on both the front and the back foot? Let's take a big breath. And exhale, releasing the heart towards the knee.

Maybe bringing the knuckles overhead. Keep those center three toes lifted. Really taking the muscles onto the bones. Hands to mat. Listen up. You'll place your left foot at the back of the mat. And then lift your right leg up into a single legged dog. Bend your right knee. Open up that hip. As you inhale, you'll step all the way up into lunge. Ground your left foot and arc up into warrior two. Exhale to come into the pose. Let's inhale. Straighten the front leg. Exhale. Bend the knee. Inhale. Arms up. Front leg straight. Now back to warrior two. One more. And exhale. Pause. Turn your left hand, the back hand down and around for internal rotation. And your right palm up and around for external. And then flip flop. Going both ways. Just a few times. And as you're there, really sink into your warrior two. Pull the mat apart with the feet. Lift the toes off the mat. This is your last one. Both palms face up. Inhale. Lift the arms. Straighten the right leg. Left hand comes down. Exhale. Reverse triangle. And we'll release both hands to the mat. Spin into lunge. Inhale. Lift your heart up. And as you exhale, step your right foot back. Bending the right knee. And step all the way into flip dog. So your right foot pops right behind the left knee. Flip around. Lifting your heart. And exhale. Sit your hips down on the mat. Facing the back of the mat. On your breath in, you'll lift your hips high.

Exhale. Lower. Inhale. The hips lift high. And exhale. Lower. And this is our last one. And release. Coming into Marichyasana A, or Pose of the Sage Marichy. Right toe points straight forward. There's about a fist width between the sitting bone and the heel. Your right heel and your right thigh. You'll raise your arms overhead, taking a breath in. And as you exhale, reach forward. Thumbs turn down and around. Nice inhale. Exhale. Reach your hands behind your thigh. Possibly grabbing your t-shirt. Or perhaps catching a hold of your fingers or your left wrist with your right hand. Then draw against the legs. Squeeze the shoulders together. Elongate the heart. Inhale. Exhale. Reach the heart to the knee. Take one big breath here. And down. Keep squeezing your left heel back to your left sitting bone. Rounding the back. This is a round back posture. Inhale to come up. Release your arms. Place your left hand on the mat. And on this next breath in, we'll lift up. Hips lifting. And as you exhale, bring the right hand to the mat and flip around. Big step. Right foot steps to the top of the mat. Inhale. Exhale. Left foot meets the right. Inhaling all the way up to standing. We'll flow right onto the second side here. So your left foot, as you exhale, will sweep back into pyramid. Arms sweep back. Interlacing those fingers. Another knuckle on top. Pull against the arms. Can you lift the center three toes off the mat on the front and the back foot? Keep drawing the right hip back, the left hip forward.

And as you exhale, you can release the heart towards the knee. Go ahead and place your hands on the mat and listen up. Right foot, front one, steps to the back of the mat. Left leg lifts up into that three-legged dog. And then the left knee bends. You can really open up your hip here. Nice inhale. Exhale. On the in-breath, coming up into lunge. Ground your right foot and open all the way to warrior two. Exhale. Come into the posture. Let's go three times. Straighten the front leg. Inhale, arms up. Exhale, knee bends. Inhale, arms up. Exhale, knee bends. Last one. Inhale, arms up. Exhale. Hanging out in warrior two. Spin your left hand up and forward into external rotation. Your right thumb down and around into internal. And flow side to side a few times. Rolling both ways through the shoulder. Last one. Let's meet up with both palms face up. Inhale, straighten your left leg. Lift your arms. Right hand slides down the right leg. As you exhale, lift the left hand up and back. Come to center. Take a breath in and bring both hands to the mat. Lift that left leg up and back. Big breath in. And as you exhale, you'll bend your left knee and start to flip the dog, stepping the left foot over the right knee and sitting all the way down. Inhale, hips come up. Exhale, sit down. Inhale, hips up. And exhale down. And this is our last one. And exhale. Coming into our Marichyasana A. So left foot's about one fist from the sitting bone and about one fist from your thigh. Feet are pointing forward. You're really squeezing your heel bones back into your hips. Inhale, raise your arms. Exhale, come forward. Inhale, extend the arms. On the exhale, thumbs turn down for internal and it's up. Sweep the arms back. Then your left hand might grab your right wrist or you could grab your shirt here or your fingers. And as you breathe in, draw the shoulders together. Bring the collarbones forward. And as you exhale, reach your heart towards your knee. Let's do one more like that. And exhale. And for good measure, just one more. And exhale. Release your hands on your breath in. Plant your right hand behind you and lift those hips up. As you breathe out, begin to flip back around into three-legged dog. And we'll step that left foot all the way up. Inhale, look forward. Exhale, right foot meets the left. Come to standing. Breathe in. And as you exhale, fold forward. Halfway up. Inhale. Just to the mat, step back into plank. I like this version of vinyasa. So you'll keep your toes tucked and you'll actually lower right into up dog from here. Really drawing the heart forward. Bring the tailbone to the heels. Then our chaturanga happens by lifting our hips up and bending the elbows. Lowering the chaturanga. Keep the elbows in as you push up and back into down dog. Much more strength required for that one. Inhale, look up, look forward. Exhale, step or hop, feet to hands. Let's come all the way up to standing. Nice breath in. Let's grab our strap and get ready for some gomakasana arms or cow face arms.

So you'll flip the strap over your right shoulder. I'm going to spin around so you can see my back here. Your right arm will be on top. Your left arm is out to the side. It will be on the bottom. And as you exhale, just flip your hands naturally into position. Inhale, switch. Exhale, flip. Inhale, switch. Exhale, flip and hold. Now the strap's right there for your left hand. And your right hand can grab it as well. And you might crawl your fingers up the strap, maybe catching them or just holding onto the strap. See that you bring the shoulders into alignment and lift the elbows up and down and away. I'm going to turn back around and we'll continue our flow with our arms like this. Left foot's on the mat. As you inhale, lift your right leg up. Wrap the right knee over the left. You wrap the right toe around the left calf. Begin to reach your hips down and back and lift your elbows up and forward for garudasana or eagle. Another one of these concentrated poses. Really drawing the inner thighs in and up into the hips. And one more breath. Keep your arms. Inhale, lift your right leg up and step back into pyramid. About two and a half to three feet back. Take a breath. You'll back bend right around those knuckles. So you'll lift your heart up. Exhale, leaning back. Inhaling center. And then place your strap to the side. We'll use it again here. And exhale, fold. One nice big breath. Look up, look forward. And as you exhale, step that left foot to the back of the mat, just like we did. The right leg comes up, knee bends, and we'll flip our way on over again to the back side of the mat. This time we're coming into a pose called janu e or mahamudra, which is the great seal. So you'll bring the right foot on the inside of your left thigh. You're welcome to stay here or you can join me in mahamudra. So the hips lift and you bring your right heel into the perineum. The hands, you could use your strap or you could reach for your foot. I like to interlace my first two fingers around my big toe, my last two fingers on the front of my big toe, and then cross my thumbs. And we'll take a breath, whichever version you're in, you can breathe with me, finding those three diaphragms in the body. So we'll inhale pelvic floor diaphragm, respiratory diaphragm, and thoracic, all the way up to your collarbones, lowering the chin, holding the breath in. Exhale, release and come forward. Spend a few breaths just here in this soft fold, breathing naturally. And as you next inhale, release your hands, roll yourself on up. Whichever variation you're in, you'll bring your hands behind you. As you breathe in, lift your hips up into this reverse plank. Exhale, lower. Then turning around to the front of the mat, we're going to slide all the way into pigeon. So you'll spin forward, bringing your right knee into that pigeon shape. As you breathe in, take a pigeon back bend. So the arms lift, exhale, spin back. Inhale into the middle. And on your exhale, you'll roll over onto your right hip and bring your left leg around. So now we're coming into another version of a pose that requires a lot of concentration. What you'll do is come to your knee, bring your left knee in front of your right knee, and bring your feet to touch. Let me turn around so you can see what's going on with my feet here. So this is called Gomakasana, but it's a little bit more of a challenging version. So you can see how the feet are pointed together.

Then the hip begins to descend the right hip, right above or on your right sitting bone and heel meeting, requiring much engagement in the inner thighs, a lift through the core, a lot of concentration in the mind. You could use your blanket here to make a little, I call it a little throne and it would go right over your heel and you could sit like so. Okay, so you may have decided this is not working for you today, no worries, in which case you'll sit in this version, which is this classic Gomakasana that you're probably familiar with. But I am going to attempt this one today and I think I'll use my throne here. Now we bring the arms into action. So it's the right arm on top, the left arm on the bottom and again it's on an exhale that you reach the hands back and make the clasp. I'm going to spin around so you can see the front of me because I want you to see the cow in the cow face pose. Right arm on top, left arm on the bottom. Okay, I guess apparently the knees are the jaws of the cow, this elbow is one ear and in India the cows have floppy ears so this elbow down here is the floppy bottom ear and see if you can begin to extend forward. This will be our last big breath. And release. Placing your blanket to the side, we'll probably use it here in a moment. What you'll do is bring your heels wide and sit your butt down on the inside of that right ankle, placing the sole of the left foot on the mat. Bring the left arm to the inside of the left knee and take a nice little counter twist looking over your right shoulder. One big breath in, elongate the spine. Exhale, turn. And on this inhale, turn back to center, coming all the way into half moon pose. Left foot is going to be on the mat. You'll reach your left hand out in front of you. Come onto your right knee and as you breathe in lift the right leg and the right arm. Let's hold for three and two. Exhale both hands and feet to the mat. Inhale all the way up to standing. Work through our shoulder. Vomakasana preps here on the second side. So right arm is out, left arm is on top. Remember you can use your strap if you need to. On the exhale, reach the hands at the back. Inhale, switch. Exhale. Inhale, switch. Exhale. Maybe making the clasp or using the strap. Weight of the body is in the right foot. That left leg will lift and the left knee wraps around the right. Maybe you hook your calf with your left toe. See that the shoulders are even and the elbows are pulling in opposite directions. You can begin to reach forward a little bit. Keep your arms as you inhale, lift the left leg. Exhaling, stepping back into pyramid. Inhale, lift the heart right around those knuckles. Bring the tailbone down and forward. Exhale to lean back. Center breathe in. Release your arms and fold over the right leg. Take one inhale, look up. And as you exhale, step the right foot to the back of the mat and lift your left leg. Big breath in. Exhale, left knee bends. Begin to flip over and lower all the way down. Left foot on the inside of the right thigh for Janu A or lift your hips up. Bring the left heel right into the perineum for Mahamudra. And then what we'll do is we'll get this little toe grab here. You can use your strap or interweaving the fingers on the back of the toe and then the bottom two fingers on the front of the toe, the thumbs cross. Exhale completely. Lengthening the spine. Inhale from pubic bone to belly button. Belly button to nipple line. Nipple line to collar bones. Holding the breath in, lowering the chin, pulling against the toe. Exhale, nice and fold. Softening into this fold for a few breaths. And whichever variation you're in, you'll inhale, come up, bringing your hands behind you. And on this next breath in, really lift the hips. Exhale, lower. Turn all the way into pigeon. So you'll take this left knee and spin to the left, coming all the way up to the top of the mat. We'll come into a beautiful pigeon back bend. I like to keep the right toes tucked. This pose is about compacting the hips. So draw the knees and the hips together. Lift your arms overhead.

Exhale, lean back. Center on the in breath and both hands to the mat. Roll over onto your left hip and bring your right leg around. We'll attempt our full cow face pose on the second side. So what you'll do is roll the knees onto the mat and this time the feet are going to go together under your left sitting bone. Remember you can take this variation, you can go right into it. It's helpful to use the pigeon throne. So you might place your blanket, blanket right on your left heel under your left sitting bone. The left arm is on top, the right arm is on the bottom. As you exhale, make the clasp. Inhale, elongate. Exhale, keep the length but come forward. For two. Notice how much concentration this posture takes. Inhale up. Blanket to the side. Sit your tush on the mat. Place the sole of the right foot on the mat. Right arm on the inside of the leg. Nice inhale. Exhale, turn over the left shoulder. One more big breath in. And exhale. Inhale back to center. We're coming all the way into half moon. So plant your right foot. Reach your right hand up the mat. Come onto your left knee. Inhale, left leg, left arm lifts. For three. And two. And one. Place the left foot next to the right foot. Let's release with a deep forward fold, the deep Uttanasana. So you can bend your knees, reach your hands back for your calves. See if you can bring your ribs onto your thighs. Release the head. Pull up on your ankles like the little weeds and start to fold into your body. And as you do that, you might begin to straighten the legs. Tucking the chin all the way in. Getting a full posterior fascial stretch. One more deep breath here. Slowly releasing that. Let's turn the toes out to the side and gently drop our hips down into Malasana. Bring the palms to the heart and lift the chest. One more time finding those three diaphragms of the body. Taking a big breath. Exhale. Go ahead and come to your seat. You're welcome to roll onto your back and come into final relaxation if that's better for your body or you can join me for a seated meditation. So if you are joining me in meditation, just finding your prop or your comfortable seat. Taking the next few moments to get the wiggles out and connect the mind and the breath and the body in the present moment. When you're ready, you can close your eyes. And just noticing the effects of the practice on your nervous system. And do the nerves feel quiet? Or is there a little bit of a fray? A simple and beautiful way to quiet the nerves is to listen to the beat of the heart. So bringing your attention, pouring your awareness into the space of the heart.

I invite you to notice what is arising and dissipating in this moment. In yoga, we call this or heart mind chatter. The stuff of the heart mind. Softly noticing what is arising with curious compassion. That's interesting. There's that thought again. Don't try to fix or change anything in this moment. Just noticing is enough. That is enough. Thank you very much. By cultivating curious compassion for your inner world, you're able to have curious compassion for the outer world. Using a light awareness on the breath, a light awareness of the body, a light awareness on everything that is arising and falling in this moment, opening the mind up. Just like someone lifted the lid off the top of your head, your mind flowing freely and open. You can observe the space in the room and the soft movement of sound and the silence between the sounds.

Now in this next breath, collect your awareness and draw it back inside, resting it in the space of the heart. You can bring your hands to touch, lift the heart and lower the chin. Have a moment to honor the wisdom, the intelligence of the heart and greet that presence, the soft awareness that you meet on the mat. When you're ready, opening your eyes, holding your gaze in one spot, allowing the nerves to integrate with the stimulation of the room. As you're ready, moving into the rest of your day from here. Thank you so much for sharing your practice.


Michelle F
1 person likes this.
Hello Nuria,
Thanks so much for another thought provoking, right from the beginning this was absorbing! Nuria - at around 2 minutes when you cross wrists,take them into body and then stretch out - mine simply would not separate even a mm at first! from my body!!! I was so surprised that I stopped the video thinking I must have misunderstood instructions, pero no asi!!! haha ...could you maybe explain your understanding of what´s going on  ? I will ,of course continue researching on myself but would appreciate any further thoughts!
Thank you so much - have a beautiful day!
Hey Michelle! Thanks for your kind words. This is one of my favorite practices from the series too, it's pretty deep. 

So, about that big wrist release...sometimes if the biceps (in addition to the wrists) are quite tight that can limit the range of motion. What you are describing is totally normal by the way! It's a biproduct of western lifestyle too much time on keyboards etc. You could do some smaller wrist releases and then try that big on again in a few weeks. Let me know how it goes!
x nuria
Michelle F
Thanks so much for your thoughtful informative reply! So fascinated was I by this experience that throughout the day I kept trying it again every so often, but gently!! However next morning my left wrist was so painful tha tfor the next few days I couldnt do any weight bearing on it - it helped me focus. I have two ganglions on left hand - one on wrist and one on upper palm (Ive had them for more than 40 years!!!) and I managed to make some connection with this and what was happening - I have repeated the exercise gently every day  and also tried some guided Feldenkrais (a random youtube video which was TOTALLY fab!)and now find it easier to separate my arms. Isnt it such a fascinating journey?
Have a beautifulday
loveandpeace xxx
1 person likes this.
Michelle  😀 I find when the intention to heal the body is there the path unfolds! Thanks for the update.  x
Francesca Venturini
I loved your kindness to soul and body :)
Francesca V Thank you dear one!

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