During my 6 week stay in India, I decided I would immerse myself in another shambhavi mahamudra mandalam – where the kriya is practiced twice a day for 40 days. I was first initiated into this kriya in 2016, and have been practicing it on and off since then. Off – because I spent a large part of these two years pregnant twice, and found this kriya aggravated my morning sickness – making it very hard to complete. I wrote about the first time I did a 40 day practice here. Reading back on that account, I realized that I mostly just shared my experience with Isha’s Inner Engineering, but didn’t speak much on the actual kriya itself. I guess I just didn’t have much to say, because if I did, I probably would have said it! All I can say now is that this 40 day experience was a completely different experience to the first time I did it – which only demonstrates to me how each time you engage in your spiritual practice, it has the potential to become deeper and more saturated. My first 40 day cycle was really a beautiful introduction into a new direction of being and life, and I have maintained this direction for the last 2 years. It changed my life. This 40 day cycle went deeper, somehow. It changed my life in a different, more potent way. It changed me.
Kriya + a daily focus
My approach to these 40 days was as such: I wanted more. I wanted to immerse my entire day in this practice and not have it contained in two 30 minute meditations. I wanted to shake myself up, rock my world, I wanted to swim in the deep end. To do this, I decided on two things. Firstly I promised myself to give my all to this meditation practice, to do each kriya with the most intensity and dedication I had in me. Secondly, I gave myself a certain focus/insight each day, something that I would gravitate the entire day around; an exercise, an awareness, a reflection of sorts. Each day after my morning Kriya, I spent a few extra minutes in stillness allowing a single divinely guided suggestion on how to deepen my day presented itself to me. I followed this guidance, using it as a intention for the day. 4 examples of some of the focuses I used were:
- Spend the day noticing any impulses that arise within me – to want to sleep, to oversleep, to wake up, to anger, to sadness, to lethargy/fatigue/laziness, to be offended, to be affected by another persons moods, to eat, to overeat – these are just examples of some of the impulses I observed in myself. This was my focus for day 1. I brought this awareness with me for the remainder of the 40 days, and truthfully, it remains within me even today.
- On another day, my focus was to allow myself the freedom to not react unconsciously to these impulses. To choose something different.
- Spend the day in silence.
- The next day – be very selective of the words I do speak. Choose only to speak truth, kindness, wise words. Draw power into the words I speak for words have the ability to create.
Reflection + an invitation
At the end of the day I reflected on my experience of that day, and what I had learned about myself and about life. I understood a lot of new things. I tried to bring each new layer of awareness I unearthed into the remaining days. The first half of the 40 days was a chance to take a look at myself and my state of being. To really notice. The second half was an invitation to choose, to transform. Over time, I noticed a space between myself and my impulses emerging. Initially, I would be consumed by an unconscious impulse to do something, to react a certain way, to feel something – and I would do it automatically. The first step was noticing “these are just impulses” and noticing which ones come up the most for me, and how truly compelling they are, how deeply they are ingrained into me. Over time, I was able to differentiate between me and an impulse. And then I was able to decline or accept. I finally had a choice.
The most remarkable thing about these 40 days is that when your energies begin to orient to a certain direction, life rearranged itself and gave me plenty of opportunities to put these lessons into practice – because if they are not practiced, what good are they? I was given so many situations where I would have previously reacted unconsciously and intensely – but now I was different. I was not pulled into it. I was just the observer. I didn’t succeed with this every time, but some of the time. I felt that was a good start at least ;).
Now the Kriya itself – offered an experience of it’s own. Here are some observations:
>> From day 1, if I completed the Kriya with a certain level of involvement and intensity, I would experience a deep purple colour in the shape of a circle in the space between my eyes. I used this as an indicator of whether I had given enough of myself to the kriya to shift and work with my energetic body. In the beginning, I would witness this purple light during the bandhas, but as I progressed through the 40 days, the colour came earlier and earlier. The earliest I experienced it was during the Aum chanting.
>> At around day 30 I developed a certain awareness of my breath as it travels through my whole body, the energy it brings and how it saturates my cells, almost expanding them as I inhale. It was an expansion that spread beyond the lung; an expansion of life energy. I had never been aware of my breath on this level before. I have never before experienced just how electrifying just breathing can be. This awareness and sensation continued after I completed the kriya, sometimes lingering for a couple of hours. This 40 day practice has created a deeper awareness of the daily mechanics of my mind, body and energy. It was not a collection of just profound experiences and realizations one after another – rather just noticing the most simple stuff. Breathing. Blinking. Thinking. Moving. Sitting.
>> I found myself filled with a “wriggly” restless sensation during the application of the bandhas. Once the locks are released, the restlessness is somehow transformed into an intense clarity and focus.
>> I can feel a lot of heat being built up during vipreeta swasa. I always feel hot after Kriya.
>> During my 40 day mandalam, I found myself having quite an intense energetic experience during a homa puja conducted in India. After this, I found that I was able to see and sense the “life energy” of people around me, how much they had, the quality of it etc. I don’t even know what it really is, but I could see it. Needless to say, this was a new experience for me, despite having had many intuitive experiences and knowingness in my life for many years- the clarity of which I experienced this time around, was vibrant and different to anything I had witnessed before. Honestly and unfortunately though- since completing the 40 days and then being thrown into normal every day life back in Canada + a sickness + my baby getting sick, I seem to have lost that particular ability since then.
>> During this mandalam I was able to approach my practice with intensity for about 98% of the 40 days – as it was part of the promise I made to myself. I know I struggled with keeping myself dedicated and devoted the last time I did it. What helped me with this was reminding myself of why I was spending these 21 minutes of my day doing this kriya. I found that the kriya magnifies what is within me at the time, so I always tried to take a couple minutes before beginning to get myself into the right state of being.
Above, I have described to you all the physical and energetic sensations and experiences I had during the 21 minutes of Kriya – and yet what was more impactful was the way my day to day life changed.
I started to see that every single thing that happens to me in my day is an opportunity to learn, to grow, to transform, or at it’s highest possibility – to enlighten. I came to experience and understand so many new things about life. I felt myself opening up. Most profoundly, I felt my mind and my thoughts opening. There was a dramatic shift. There was a certain space created between myself and my thoughts. The glue between this moment and my past, became less sticky. It is still there, I know it is, but it’s not as strong as it was. There was a a freshness within me. There was healing. There was a softness. There was a lightness. I felt an opening on the energetic level too, but this was very subtle to me, and this is a layer of life I don’t know much about, so I will not say more on it until I have experienced more.
I had the opportunity to reflect on a lot on life, death, karma, reincarnation, energy, success, failure, creation, ambition, awareness, consciousness. I’d like to share these thoughts with you someday as they have impacted me a great deal. Perhaps they will be the topics of blog posts to come!
As always thank you so much for taking the time to read my writings. Your encouragement and support always means so much to me!
Where can I learn how to do Shambhavi mahamudra Kriya?
Inner Engineering is a course offered by the Isha Foundation where you can be initiated into this kriya. Follow the link and find a course happening near you!
I have taken Inner engineering before, but have forgotten certain steps to the kriya – can you send me the steps for doing this Kriya?
If you have taken Inner engineering before, I would recommend you contact your Isha Instructor and I am sure they would be more than happy to send you in the right direction. Many cities also have monthly sathsangs that offer support and corrections. Check the website to see if there is one in your city.
What is the correct way to do X/Y/Z in the Kriya?
Though I can share with you my experience, I am not an expert and I have not been trained to teach or offer corrections for this process. Please e-mail your Isha instructor! That’s what I do when I have a question!
Can you do Shambhavi when pregnant?
Yes you can. My Isha instructor advised me to do the preparatory asanas as per my comfort, and to leave out the locks or do them for less time if they were uncomfortable to do (and they were)
Thank you for sharing your experience. I found this to be very inspiring and supportive of my practice.
Thank you for taking the time to comment on this post. I’m so glad this has inspired you. Take care.
I have just finished my first 40-days of Shambhavi Mahamudra, yesterday. Today I am super conscious that I will only practice once. And I think I will not be able to stop myself a second time later today. The first 40-day ‘challenge’ was most definitely not always easy. I continued through a back problem which arose around day 20 and lasted a few very uncomfortable days. But I also now seek the deeper experience I know is there waiting for me – when my mind collapses and the business of family life subsides. Reading your blog was so meaningful for me and I now know that I can continue to practice twice a day – probably regularly. I am also looking forward to volunteering when Sadhguru teaches the Inner Engineering completion two-days at London Xcel in April. I feel his presence through all media – his books, his videos, his app mantras, etc. But to be in his physical presence will, I know, be very special.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I hope your practice continues to transform yourself and your life. Blessings to you, my friend.
Thank you for taking the trouble to share your experiences. I have just started my online engineering course, and am looking forward to learning the Shambhavi Kriya. All the best to your spiritual development.
And to you too, Vanessa.
Good to read your comments. I’ve completed 11 days now and can feel the difference already.
What has your experience been like so far?
I am also practicing Shambhavi Mahamudra since Nov 2019. Your experience is very inspiring to me. Cheers!
Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment! It’s nice to know that me sharing my experience and inspire you in your sadhana too. I’m glad to hear you have started your shambhavi practice. My best wishes to you.
It was very nice to read your experience of the 40 day Mandala period . I am on day 2 of my Mandala period and I am really looking forward to explore another dimension . Really liked the concept of Reflection + invitation. Thank you so much for this .
Gods Blessings 🙏
Thank you for sharing your experience. During my 40 days I desperately searched for a read like yours. It validates my own experiences and inspires my attitude toward the practice. What I found during my first 20 days, was that every dark thought pattern or karmic imprint, anything that kept me down, would be magnified. I didn’t know how to deal with any of it. So I settled on just observing on what came up and separate myself from reacting to any of it. It worked better this way. Reading this blog is comforting, thank you. Hope you are living an intensely passionate life.
Good post. Does encourage others. Sure is a big motivator for me. Just a small suggestion, see if you can just delete the lines about your inner experience and what you saw while doing the kriya..the colour part..
I know you have done it with best possible intention. But on the contrary even Sadhguru himself says kindly don’t share your inner effects you experience while doing the kriya. What this does now most start looking for signs while doing the kriya and forget the earnest reason to do the kriya.
In fact I went to Shambhavi Mahamudra where Sadhguru initiated the kriya. During that event one person posed a query he saw triangle..Sadhguru said you should actually see diamonds paused..then said lotus, then circles. Offcourse he stopped the joke. He CLEARLY said don’t share what you see or experience while doing the kriya…and i rarely saw him mock someone for a query and after that he was damn serious and stressed NEVER TO SHARE what you see or experience during the kriya..
Yes, very few like you are able to keep yourself distanced from falling into the trap of effects of the kriya. You are able to do the kriya with a neutral mindset irrespective of its effects but once you share your experiences, what you see during the kriya, it’s inside effects, it’s obvious for folks to get attracted towards such miracles.
Yes it is true what you have shared but it is not the actual purpose to do the kriya. It is just one of the many benefits. I know you have been 100% transparent and shared with best intentions but I think it will cause people to deviate from the actual purpose of the kriya… Kindly my humble request, see if you can delete those lines about what you see while doing the kriya…choice is yours..
Meanwhile i have a query, what is the time gap we should one give between two intervals of the kriya….eg: suppose I do the kriya at 5 am in Morning, when should next kriya be done in the 40 day mandala.. considering I will not any breakfast, snacks or water…
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. It is something I have thought about too. For now, I will be leaving my experience here as it is, but I do agree with and understand much of what you have said.
To answer to your question – I believe the kriya needs a minimum of 5 hour gap between them.
I find the inner experience you provided Malavika mostly helpful and inspiring. One can always keep in mind the purpose of the kriya at the same time having the insight of the progress of the practice without letting it effect the actual purpose of the practice.
Hmm…4-5 hours gap ..between two intervals of shambhavi mahamudra kriya. Iwill have food 30 mins after the kriya, No food as well in between or in case i have food, i will give 4 hours gap before the next kriya. Water/Beverages 30 min to one hour gap. Snacks 2 hours gap. Yup..got that..
Thanks for the information!!!
Beautiful writing of your experience which definitely will motivate new mediators particularly when they go off track. Even i agree with Ashok on the inner experience part (Especially the color)..not to be mentioned in the blog. The reason being is everyone will strive for that color and if they do not get it in 40 days…they may feel disappointed or doubt the practice plus we do not know whether that should be the outcome of this practice. Even i attended BSP few years back each one in the program had different experience and visualization and even today i always wonder whether what i experienced in BSP is true with everybody or something more than that? No offense in saying this about your writing But to be frank your writing is so deep and connected and you make the reader sit next to you. :-). Pranam.
I just wanted to thank you for sharing your experience of Shambhavi. I am also doing my second 40-day mandala after a very long gap. The practice worked for me once before. I had never before felt the sensations of LIFE the way I did during my six months of meditation; people I had just met were even asking me if I did anything in particular. I don’t know how they knew but they sensed it, I guess. I intend on achieving that again. Your post has offered me support, it’s nice to know someone else has done it and reports completely different experiences from the first 40 days. I’m on day 2 of 40 and just went to a Satsang for support and corrections. Wish me luck!
In your previous post (https://hellomalavika.com/2019/02/07/my-experience-of-40-days-of-shambhavi-mahamudra-kriya/), you mention, “before we begin our sadhana, we should spend 2 minutes reminding us for the concepts bought to light during I.E.” – please elaborate.
As per the latest correction, before we start the sadhana, we are taught to say
Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya |
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya |
Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih
It was recommended that we spend 2 minutes before the Kriya, reminding ourselves of what we learned at Inner engineering. I simply close my eyes and meditate on it for 2 minutes. I then begin the invocation that you shared (Om Asatoma…) and start the Kriya. I hope this helps.
1)All the rules are my rules. 2) I am responsible for everything. 3) What is it right now , it is. 4) I am not the body and I am not even the mind.5) I am mother to the earth.
Thank you, Malavika.
Dear Malavika, Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m on day 37 of my own practice. Your writing is lovely as is your experience. I wish you the best with love and light.
Hi, Thank you so much for you beautifull story! Ijust did inner engineering and it was already life changing. Now registration is not possible to get initiated and, reading your experience I look somuch forward to get initiated and practicing! Im now looking for a good practice to prepare myself for the initiation and make the waiting easier. Could you advise me? Thank you thank you for your inspiration! I am so happy to have discovered Sadhgurus wisdom
A very inspiring write up. It clarified many things I was not clear about. Thank you ever so much.
Nico, I hope you found an IE completion online course. I completed end of Jan 2022. Please check their site.
Thank you for sharing your experience and giving us an opportunity to u fees randi the power of this kriya.
However, I do agree with a couple of people who have said delete the part of the actual visualization of your experiences per Sadhguru’s recommendation. His teachings and practices are meant for deeper inner self discovery, where spiritual awakening is different for everyone. We have to remember that it’s the journey not the destination that we need to focus on.