Definition - What does Kaki Mudra mean?
Kaki mudra is classified as a mudra, but is in fact a technique of controlled breathing where, on the inhalation, the lips are pursed to create a tube through which air is sucked in slowly and deeply, with the tongue relaxed. At the top of the inhalation, the lips are closed and the exhalation is made through the nose. It can be practiced for at least two minutes, increasing the time as the body gets used to the controlled breathing.
From Sanskrit, kaki means “crow” and mudra means "gesture." This mudra is so named because the shape of the mouth on the inhalation resembles a crow’s beak. It is also said to cultivate a healthy long life, which is associated with crows.
Yogapedia explains Kaki Mudra
In addition to the guidance above, another variation of kaki mudra involves closing the nostrils with the thumbs during the inhalation and, at the top of the inhalation, the breath is retained while the chin is lowered to the chest. This retention is held for as long as possible before the chin is lifted for the exhalation.
Kaki mudra is one of the major yogic breathing exercises used to teach yogis how to control their breath. It is also a popular therapeutic breathing technique in the medical world because it helps people who have a tendency to hyper-inflate their lungs. This includes those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, panic attacks and bronchospasms.
It may be beneficial for patients who are having respiratory rehabilitation and those who tend to over-breathe during exercise. It is effective in slowing and controlling the breath because on both the inhalation and exhalation the air flow is restricted. This means it is appropriate for training with biofeedback techniques which aim to decrease the rate of breathing.
Kaki mudra is also renowned for cultivating outer beauty and longevity. It is said to tone the muscles of the face, reducing wrinkles and rejuvenating the skin. This is believed to encourage a radiant, blemish-free complexion. In addition, this mudra is associated with stimulating the throat chakra which is thought to affect the thyroid gland.
Finally, kaki mudra has a similar effect to the furled tongue technique of sitali pranayama, but it is more accessible, especially for those who are not able to furl their tongue.