1) Alongside the hasta mudras (hand gestures), there are a few other animal mudras of different types. These include the following:
- Ashwini mudra – horse gesture (involving alternate contraction and relaxation of anal muscles)
- Kaki mudra – crow’s beak gesture, also see crow’s beak breath (inhaling through the nose and exhaling through pursed lips)
- Manduki mudra – frog gesture (involving a particular kneeling posture and focusing the attention on the tongue touching the top of the mouth)
- Bhujangini mudra – serpent gesture, also see the serpent breath (inhaling whilst opening the chest, arching the back slightly and gazing up with the opposite motion on the exhale)
These are stipulated in either the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (from the 1400s) or in the Gherunda Samhita (from the 1700s).
2) There is also one animal-named shatkarma (cleansing practice) that Animalia Asana is currently aware of (do let us know if you know of others!):
- Gaja karani – elephant stomach cleansing
As detailed in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, this involves variations around the practice of the regurgitation of water. It is believed to be purifying and detoxifying. Animalia Asana remains neutral on the shatkarma practices; we are not trained to give any advice or direction on these practices and certainly if you wish to try such practices, we recommend consulting a specialist in the practice/your doctor. It is listed here simply to show that the animal element in yoga extends to these wider traditional practices too.