Khecarī Mudrā (Sanskrit, खेचरी मुद्रा) is a yoga practice which is carried out by placing the tongue above the soft palate and into the nasal cavity.
In the beginning stages and applicable for most practitioners, the tip of the tongue touches the soft palate as far back as possible without straining or placed in contact with the uvula at the back of the mouth.
Variant spellings include Khechari Mudra, Kecharimudra, and Kechari Mudra.
Mudrā (Sanskrit, मुद्रा, literally "seal"), when used in yoga, is a position that is designed to awaken spiritual energies in the body.
The buddhist Pali canon contains three passages in which the Buddha describes pressing the tongue against the palate for the purposes of controlling hunger or the mind (example), depending on the passage.
However there is no mention of the tongue being inserted into the nasopharynx as in true kechari mudra.
A hathayoga text, the Khecarīvidyā, states that kechari mudra enables one to raise Kundalini and access various stores of amrita in the head, which subsequently flood the body.
Siva, in the same text, gives instructions on how to cut the lingual frenulum as a necessary prerequisite for the kechari mudra practice.
A tantric Saiva text, the Mālinīvijayottaratantra, warns:
[If] his mouth fills with a slightly salty liquid that smells of iron then he should not drink it but spit it out. He should practice thus until [the liquid] becomes sweet-tasting.
Bhattacharyya defines Khecarī Mudrā as "name of Yogic posture which bestows spiritual attainment and enables one to overcome disease and death."
He explains that "Kha denotes brahman, and that power which moves (cara) as the energy of brahman is known (as) Khecarī."
Singh defines Khecarī Mudrā as "the bliss of the vast expanse of spiritual consciousness, also known as divya mudrā or Śivāvasthā (the state of Śivā)."
He further identifies it in a higher sense—with the end state of consciousness, and not just the physical posture used to achieve that end: "So KhecarīnMudrā in Śaiva āgama means a state of universal consciousness which is the state of Śiva."
Abhinavagupta, in his Tantraloka, states that all other mudras derive from Khecarī mudrā, which he describes as "the stance of moving or flying through the void of the supreme consciousness."
The practice is also mentioned in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (III. 6-7).
In recent times, it was taught by Paramahansa Yogananda as a part of Kriya Yoga practice. Yogananda stated that:
Through the performance of Kechari Mudra, touching the tip of the tongue to the uvula, or "little tongue," (or placing it in the nasal cavity behind the uvula),
that divine life-current draws the prana from the senses into the spine and draws it up through the chakras to Vaishvanara (Universal Spirit), uniting the consciousness with spirit.
According to Swami Kriyananda, "The assumption of this mudra helps to hasten the advent of deep spiritual states of consciousness." Swami Sivananda described Khecarī Mudrā as "the best of all Mudras."
In Kriya Yoga, the benefits of Khecarī Mudrā are achieved by pronouncing certain vowel while breathing in and breathing out.