The Four Yogas of Mahamudra: Activating Energy, Cutting Through Conceptual Mind, Awakening Kundalini, and Primordial Consciousness.

4 Yogas of Mahamudra

Maha mudra charges the body with pranic energy and activates the element agni which controls body temperature and metabolism. It also strengthens the eyes. It also stimulates the reproductive organs and improves breathing.

Luminous awareness is the truth of buddhahood. This is what a favourite modern non-dual Zen teacher, Adyashanti calls radiant emptiness.


Mahamudra is a non-conceptual strategy for cutting through the labels, logic, language, and opinions of ego to enter the pristine ground of omniscient awareness (dharmakaya). It has no dualities such as bliss, luminosity or ignorance. It is not a meditative experience and cannot be attained by merely contemplating its nature.

One-pointedness is a mental factor that is present in all jhanas. It temporarily inhibits sensual desire and is the antidote to the dharmakaya hindrance of kamacchanda. It is the primary characteristic of jhana and also the essence of concentration or samadhi.

This mudra is the most effective for balancing apana vayu and awakening prana energy. It stimulates the apana vayu – akasha nadi axis while at the same time it balances raja and tama by activating the energies of muladhara chakra. This nourishes the entire body and helps to overcome health problems like sexual imbalance, menstrual pain, digestive diseases, lung diseases etc. It also activates the reproductive organs by pressing the heel against the perineum.

Freedom from elaboration

The Yoga of Freedom from Elaboration, also known as Mahamudra, is a profound and complete practice that can be enjoyed both on the meditation cushion and in daily life. It is a path of natural liberation that does not depend on the shamatha and vipashyana practices that are so popular in the West.

This yogic discipline allows us to quiet the coarse mind, settling into the subtle mind (kun gzhi, alaya), and then further, to the very ground of the subtle mind—rigpa, pure naked awareness. Once this is achieved, it produces the certainty that all dharmas of samsara and nirvana are pure expressions of one’s own mind.

Hence the name Mahamudra, which means “great seal.” It frees us from the extremes of eternalism and nihilism to see that relative truth and absolute truth are in union. It is a co-emergent unity of awareness and emptiness, which cannot be described in words. This is the nature of reality.

One taste

Mahamudra, also called the great seal or great psychic attitude, is a method of awakening Kundalini energy. It is a combination of many practices including Asana, Pranayama, and Bandha. This meditation involves pressing the perineum with the heel and then closing the throat by Jalandhara Bandha to create pressure on the Kundalini at the bottom of the spine. This awakens the energies of the Ida and Pingala and projects them up through Sushumna Nadi. This process destroys afflictions and the cause of death.

As the mind becomes more familiar with the empty base quality of awareness, it reaches a point where the appearances of the mind and the outside world dissolve into a single ocean of emptiness. When this happens, the tendency to split up experience in a subject and object disappears (One Taste). This is the culmination of the four yogas of mahamudra and leads directly into the void state of Dzogchen. It is the final stage in the complete path of buddhahood.

No meditation

Mahamudra is the most exquisite tool ever devised to cut through the layers of your conceptual mind and reveal the primordial ground from which all your false concepts and illusory appearances have sprung. But it’s also tough love. It says you don’t even qualify as a human being in your current state of confusion.

It also explains the four kayas, or bodies of a Buddha: Nirmanakaya, sambhogakaya, jnana dharmakaya and svabhavakaya. The first three are emanation bodies while the fourth is the omniscient mind of a Buddha.

Practicing the Four Yogas of Mahamudra allows us to quiet coarse mind (sems) and settle into the subtle mind, kun gzhi, and ultimately into the primordial consciousness free from cognitive confusion known as rigpa. And it does all this without the countless sutric and tantric elaborations that have been attached to it over the centuries. It’s a complete practice in its own right. It’s the path of no meditation.

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