In Sanskrit, Shambhvi refers to “Lord Shiva’s Beloved”, which could be his wife or daughter. It is a powerful mudra used in ancient meditation practice in which a yogi gaze in between the eyebrows.
There are 5 types of mudra, and Shambhavi Mudra falls under Mana Mudra which utilises organs on our head.
There are many benefits to Shambhavi Mudra, including activation of Ajna (third eye) chakra, stimulation of pineal glands which helps one with sleeping issues, calming of the mind, and even strengthen the eye muscles. It is even regarded as one of the most important mudra for meditation. It helps one to transcend the mind to experience higher state of consciousness.
Personally, I find this really interesting and I stumbled upon an evolutionized version of Shambhavi Mudra by Sadhguru here. Designed by Sadhguru, Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya is a developed version of Shambhavi Mudra. You may ask, what’s the difference between them?
Traditional Shambhavi mudra is nothing but simply gazing at the eyebrow center. An attempt is made to focus the vision between the eyebrows by rolling the eyes upwards and gazing at the eyebrow center.
Meanwhile, Shambhavi Mahamudra is designed to be a unique sequence of different yogic practices (preparatory asana, pranayama, bandhas, mudras, mantra chanting and dhyana/ meditation) that will be performed during a specific time frame which could enhance the effectiveness of the practice. It combines a few limbs of the Eight Limbs of Yoga written by Patanjali.
It has been such a powerful technique that there has been a research done on practitioners who have practiced the kriya each day for 21 minutes continuously for 6 weeks. Results have shown that the participants exhibit lower level of stress and higher levels of general well-being. You may find more about the study here.
On a personal note, I have attempted the Mahamudra Kriya on my own before but have not felt the benefits back then. However, it might have been that I have not been doing it correctly or I was simply too impatient that I called it a quit before the benefits can kick in have I persisted. Hence recently I came across a Reddit blog post which would be helpful for beginners practising Shambhavi Mudra to learn some of the discussed common mistakes here.
For eager adventurers to try Shambhavi Mudra/ Shambhavi Mahamudra, you may learn from my mistake and be sure to be patient in your practice. You reap what you sow!