Achamana is the act of purifying one’s body by thrice sipping water and touching several parts of the body with it. It is performed before Hindu ceremonies and rituals. The mantra that is to be chanted during Achamanam is given in the Taittiriya Brahmana of the Krishna Yajur Veda.
Achamana is to be performed with the face towards the east.
While performing the Achamana the palm is to be contracted and the thumb placed behind the forefinger and the other fingers kept straight – something like a cow’s ear.
A small quantity of water is taken in the particular palm and it is sipped thrice so that the water so drunk may reach the region of the heart.
The lips then touch the tip of the Achamana fingers. The nose is to be touched by the thumb and the ears and eyes are touched with the ring finger. The navel is touched with the little finger. Finally the Achamana palm is used to touch the heart.
The fingers are then released and they touch the head.
The English translation of the Achamana Mantra is as follows –
Enter this yajna with the almighty God,
The guardian of our mind, from the region of mind
And let the sacrifice go on without hindrance
Please note that the above said the general rule – different communities might have slight variations.