the mudra series
Mudras... a bunch of pretty hand gestures? No.
These gestures of the hands are a delicious part of the whole picture of our yoga practice. Used alongside conscious breathing and steady concentration, these hand gestures can invoke balance in our systems, our elements and redirect energy flow in the body.
Mudra means 'to seal'. Each area in the hand is connected to specific parts in the brain and is related to our elements of earth, air, fire, water and ether. As we seal the different areas in the hands we guide the flow of energy to heal any imbalances. On a more physical level the pressure points in the hands and the fingers link to our brain travelling along neural pathways to trigger our conscious thoughts.
Here are a few of my faves....
Note: To practice, pick one that resonates and incorporate daily over a few weeks, months or more. Take your time and take in your experience, what initial shifts in your consciousness are there ? Are there changes in your mood? Allow it to evolve, tap in and observe the subtlest of changes.
Press the palms and fingertips together firmly and evenly and hold the hands at the heart. The thumbs can rest gently against the sternum. Close your eyes and feel the connection of the palms and visualise the balancing of the left and right sides of your body, brain and the breath travelling through both sides of your nostrils. Feel the broadening of your shoulder blades to spread open your chest from the inside. Stay here, breathe and take in your experience.
Anjali is a gesture of reverence to the heart and as we reconnect to this place we can slowly release anxious thoughts.
Hold the right palm out, thumb down and connect the left palm in front. Gently feel the slight pull of the elbows in the opposite direction and therefore the tension across the chest. The element of fire, stimulates the heart and clears any blocked tension around the chest and shoulders.
This mudra, inspired by Deity Lord Ganesha, invokes courage, strength and confidence to overcome obstacles that perhaps bring about tension or tiredness, blocking our connection to ourselves, our heart or to our path.
Join the fingertips together, palms open and hold the seal steadily. Feel the gentle pressure between both hands and close your eyes. The exchange between the fingertips balances the flow of energy through the nerves between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Breathe evenly and allow your attention to settle on that exchange. Linked to the third eye, this mudra is inspired by the God Hakini. As we connect to our space of inner intuition and imagination, this is calming and can assist in recalling information and clearing any cloudiness in the mind.
The mudra of contemplation. Create a bowl with the hands so that the right hand cradles the left and the thumbs can touch.
A gesture for very quiet and inward moments and complementary to finish a practice of asana and pranayama with. So that the mind is quiet and anything that is unnecessary has been emptied out. This works especially well after a practice of forgiveness, following the idea that we must be inwardly pure, free and empty in order to receive everything we need. When we get to this state our thoughts and feelings then determine the energy that fills the bowl.