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Benefits of Ashwini Mudra and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

By Dr. Ankit Sankhe +2 more

Introduction: 

Yoga and naturopathy have found a whole new meaning in the modern world, redefined as per the need of present times. In India, they are combined as a separate system of medicine. For further development of yoga, Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy was constituted by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. Naturopathy physicians often prescribe yoga therapy to manage various ailments as additional care without interfering with the mainstream medicinal treatment protocol.1 

Ashwini Mudra, or the horse gesture, is a simple and effective practice with many physical, psychological and spiritual benefits.2 Read further to know about its benefits. 

ashwini mudra

What is Ashwini Mudra?  

Ashwini Mudra is like the Kegel exercise, in which muscles around the vagina are held and released repeatedly. On regular practice, Ashwini mudra may help tone muscles in the perineal area and pelvic floor (areas between the thighs containing the urinary region, genitals, rectum, bottom, and vagina or penis). It might also improve the blood flow to this region and further also may help to maintain tissues of the vaginal and urethral (the tube through which urine leaves the body) region.1,3 

Ashwini mudra or anal lock also helps in the relaxation and contraction related to the gluteal muscles (fleshy muscles of the buttocks), perineum (the area between the thighs), as well as the area between the thighs that contains the urinary region, genitals, rectum, bottom, and vagina or penis.1  

How to do it? 

To perform ashwini mudra you must sit in any relaxed, comfortable position and take a deep breath. Practise this mudra with following steps1:  

  • Sit in any comfortable posture, keeping your spine straight and long. 
  • Gently contract the sphincter (the muscle that relaxes or tightens to open or close a passage or opening in the body) and vaginal muscles, like holding back urination.  
  • The perineum area (pubic area between the thighs) should be held firm and the pelvic floor (muscles around your bladder, bottom, and vagina or penis) should feel as if experiencing an upward lift. 
  • You can hold this contraction for a few breaths, then after a few breaths, release and relax. 
  • Initially, repeat it up to five to 10 times, then with practice the repetitions and the duration can be increased.  
  • In the variations of ashwini mudra, you can perform it in standing and inverted poses but not forward bends.1,3 

Improved digestion is believed to be one of Ashwini Mudra’s main benefits. The posture may help to relieve constipation and gas issues. It enhances the amount of prana that enters the internal organs, strengthening and potentially increasing their resistance to sickness. From my perspective, it’s possible that frequent Ashwini Mudra practice may enhance the way your bowel movements feel.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Do You Know? 

Here are some exciting and trivia facts about ashwini mudra which make for an enjoyable read, such as: 

  • As per the Gheranda Samhita, Ashwini mudra might be helpful for all rectum-related diseases (such as haemorrhoids, abscess or a collection of pus and polyps or a small lump) 
  • This pose denotes and represents the act of living like a horse by achieving agility, strength and energy similar to a horse. 
  • Ashwini mudra when it was introduced, was considered a part of hatha yoga posture. 

Benefits of Ashwini Mudra: 

Ashwini mudra is a beneficial pose for several conditions; some of ashwini mudra benefits are as follows: 

1. Benefits of Ashwini Mudra for Postpartum Recovery: 

Ashwini mudra might help energise the nervous system and may help tone the pelvic region (between the abdomen and the legs) with regular practice. It can be helpful before conceiving, throughout the pregnancy and post-delivery. It might be a beneficial practice for other post-partum problems like haemorrhoids, issues related to gonads, rectum and perineum (pubic area between the thighs).2 

2. Benefits of Ashwini Mudra in improving Stress Urinary Incontinence 

Arthur Kegel (1948), described that relaxing and tensing the pelvic floor muscle (muscles in area between the thighs that contains the urinary region, genitals, rectum, bottom, and vagina), may be beneficial for Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI), a condition in which urine leaks during the moments of physical activity that elevates pressure in the abdominal region such as sneezing, laughing, coughing and exercise).4  

Largo Janeseen et al. (1991), Brown C (1998) and Datillo et al. (2001), in their studies, also demonstrated that under proper clinical supervision, pelvic floor muscular rehabilitation may be beneficial for women suffering with SUI. Ashwini mudra is described in ancient Indian text as an exercise that may cause pelvic floor muscle contraction thus, it may help improve SUI in women.4  

3. Benefits of Ashwini Mudra for Menopausal Women: 

Menopause may cause reduced estrogen (hormone associated with the female reproductive organs) levels affecting the vaginal tissue and urethra. With the start of menopause, the linings in the vagina and urethra (the tube through which urine leaves the body) tend to get thinner, drier and less flexible. Since blood supply reduces in that area, some women also suffer urinary problems during menopause. To respond to these difficulties, yoga teachers recommend ashwini mudra. This mudra can help tone the perineal area and pelvic floor (area between the thighs that contains the urinary region, genitals, rectum, bottom, and vagina) and increases blood flow to the pelvic region (between the abdomen and the legs).Therefore, it may ease menopausal symptoms and maintain healthy vaginal and urethral tissue (tissues of the tube through which urine leaves the body).3  

4. Benefits of Ashwini Mudra in Mental Disorders 

Nagammanavar and Natekar, in their study in 2020, observed that since ashwini mudra was able to revitalise the entire psycho-neuro endocrine system (a complex network of glands and organs responsible for the release of hormones, central and peripheral nervous systems), it may be helpful for adolescents suffering from mental disorders.5 Ashwini mudra can be recommended for its benefits for its harmonising and calming effect on the body’s physiological functions.7 Thus, it might be possible to have similar effects for adults, however there is insufficient data that can support this effect of ashwini mudra on adults. 

There is continuous research ongoing in this area. The benefits of ashwini mudra mentioned above are still under observation and need further validation with proper scientific evidence.  

5. Other Benefits of Ashwini Mudra 

  • Ashwini mudra may help those suffering from piles.6 
  • It can help to decrease blood pressure to some extent.7 
  • It might also help to reduce the inflammation of prostate glands.8 

Yoga practice may help develop the mind and body; however, it is still not an alternative to modern medicine. You must not rely on yoga alone to treat any condition. Please consult a qualified doctor who will be able to assess your situation correctly and advise accordingly. Moreover, it is necessary to practice and learn yoga under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher to avoid any injuries.  

Perhaps surprisingly, Ashwini Mudra may assist people in achieving healthy and clean skin. In my experience, getting the needed help for significant stomach-related diseases indirectly leads to better skin. It may also promote a healthy endocrine and hormonal system, which keeps your skin looking young and bright.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Risks of Exercise 

It is essential to perform ashwini mudra properly as guided by your trainer or instructor. There are a few other things to be prevented while performing this gesture to avoid related risks: 

  • Ashwini mudra can be performed in any comfortable posture except in forward bend poses.3Since it may have some effect on decreasing blood pressure, it is better to be avoided by people suffering from low blood pressure as it might lower the blood pressure further.7 

With the guidance of a qualified and experienced yoga teacher/yoga expert, we can access and analyse the risk factors and continue to practice exercise with precautions.  

Conclusion  

Ashwini mudra or horse pose is just like Kegel exercise; thus, it may be beneficial to maintain healthy vaginal and urethral tissues. It can be helpful for postpartum recovery and menopausal problems. It might also affect Stress Urinary Incontinence and support adolescent mental health. Therefore, if performed correctly under the guidance of a yoga expert, ashwini mudra may be a blessing for humankind. 

Also Read: What Causes Queefing: Unraveling Myths and Understanding the Facts

Frequently Asked Questions 

1) What are the other names of ashwini mudra? 

Ashwin mudra is called horse pose, horse gesture yoga or anal lock. 1,2,4 

2) Are there any benefits of ashwini mudra for piles? 

Among all mudras, ashwini mudra, in which we contract and relax muscles around the vagina and urethra, is considered the most beneficial for piles.6 

3) What are the benefits of ashwini mudra for women? 

Ashwini mudra can be beneficial for women for various conditions such as pregnancy and postpartum recovery, problems related to menopause and Stress Urinary Incontinence when performed under the guidance of a yoga expert.2-4 However, such benefits need further studies and evidence to be confirmed. 

4) Are ashwini mudra and moola bandha mudra the same? 

No, ashwini mudra and moola bandha mudra are different. In ashwini mudra, we contract and relax muscles around the vagina and urethra. In moola bandha mudra, the strain is laid on the rectal muscles such that the muscles around the anus are tightened. The mudras are very different because they target different muscle groups. 2 

5) What are the precautions to be followed while performing ashwini mudra? 

For any yoga asanas and mudras to achieve their maximum benefits, you must perform them properly as guided by your trainer. While performing ashwini mudra, you should not combine it with any forward pose. People with blood pressure problems should not perform this mudra.3,7 

References: 

  1. Vinchurkar SA, Arankalle DV. Integrating yoga therapy in the management of urinary incontinence: a case report. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine. 2015 Apr;20(2):154-6. Internet [cited on Sep 2022] Available from: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/epub/10.1177/2156587214563311 
  1. Antenatal and Post-Natal Yoga Practices, Advanced Centre for Yoga Therapy, Education & Research (Acyter), JIPMER. Notes. Internet [cited on Sep 2022] Available from: https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/59303633/yoga_preggy20190518-57087-1ahdjwf-libre.pdf  
  1. Sander E. Menopause the yoga way. Yoga J. 1996;126:68. Internet [cited on Sep 2022] Available from: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5554d496e4b09be6e53c81a6/t/5cc106af0852298b325a5d2d/1556154117778/Menopause+-+the+Yoga+Way+-+Ellen+Sanders+YJ+Article.pdf  
  1. Vidhyadhari BS, Mishra P, Madhavi K, Nageswararao MM. Qualitative Analysis of Postural Variations in Adolescent Girls. Website: www. ijpot. com. 2016 Jul;10(3):191. Internet [cited on Sep 2022] Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Murali-Malasala/publication/304670677_Qualitative_Analysis_of_Postural_Variations_in_Adolescent_Girls/links/5b8ce6cc4585151fd14480d3/Qualitative-Analysis-of-Postural-Variations-in-Adolescent-Girls.pdf#page=197 
  1. Nagammanavar RY, Natekar DS. Importance of Yoga during Adolescence Period. EXECUTIVE EDITOR. 2020 Sep;11(9):84. Internet [cited on Sep 2022] Available from: https://ijphrd.com/scripts/IJPHRD_Sept.2020_final.pdf#page=90 
  1. Sukumar BS, Tripathy TB, Rakshith KR. Management of Haemorrhoids (Arsha) with Yogic Life Style. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrated Medical Sciences. 2017 Oct 31;2(05):126-32. Internet [cited on Sep 2022] Available from: http://www.jaims.in/jaims/article/view/319 
  1. Foldine MI. Part 1: Women’s Yoga Sadhana and Menstrual Cycle. Part 2: Immediate Effects of Yogic Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises on Vaginal Squeezing Pressure and State Anxiety on Healthy Women–a Control Study. 2007. Internet [cited on Sep 2022] Available from: http://www.libraryofyoga.com:8080/jspui/bitstream/123456789/510/1/D.MSc.2007.08.pdf 
  1. Rakshith KR, Sinha K, LA VK. Yogic Intervention in Sexual Dysfunction-A Review. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrated Medical Sciences. 2017 Aug 31;2(04):243-50. Internet [cited on Sep 2022] Available from: http://www.jaims.in/jaims/article/view/273 

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