The Sadhana Series // Mudra
The Power Is In Our Hands
“Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as bird wings.” ~ Rumi
A mudra, meaning “gesture,” “mark” or “seal" is a purposeful position of the body, most commonly known as hand positions in yoga and meditation. They affect the quality and flow of energy in the subtle body, used to rebalance or unblock chakras and the elemental energy that governs our functions. By holding a certain mudra, the energies tend to move in a particular way.
Yoga Mudras are used for a specific effects on the circuitry of energy within the body and mind by redirecting the flow through the neural pathways, clearing the energetic centres and channels. There are more than 2,500 nerve receptors per square centimeter in each one of our hands, and as we refine our understanding of the elemental qualities of the hands we can use mudra to stimulate our glands, nerves, and organs - using specific hand positions on a consistent basis, means we can communicate very clearly with our body and mind.
Many ancient yoga/tantric texts suggest using a mudra for up to 45 minutes over 40 days to really develop, rebalance and fine tune the elements that make up our minds and bodies.
Thumb Divine activator, Agni (Fire)
Index Finger Individual Soul (Jiva), Vaayu (Air)
Middle Finger Sattva Guna (Purity/Light), Akasha (Ether/Space)
Ring Finger Raja Guna (Passion/Fire) Prithvi (Earth)
Little Finger Tama Guna (Inertia/Darkness) Jal (Water)
How To Figure Out a Mudra to Practice?
The mudra you choose to work with can complement or enhance a much larger quality or intention you are looking to bring into your life. There are as many as there are yoga postures and work on a prescriptive basis which a good teacher should be able to help you if choosing one is daunting.
Understanding the qualities each finger holds, means you may look at what elemental balancing you need and use the appropriate mudra. Need some grounding? Use an earth balancing mudra. Need to improve your ability to move freely with the flow of life? Use a water balancing mudra.
The thumb being the fire element will always be the activator. Touching the thumb to the other fingers will stimulate the quality of energy that moves through the body. For example; Jnana Mudra (pictured top) is the quintessential meditation mudra as it is activating air - steadying the activity of the air element in the body, enabling the activity of thoughts to quieten down.
Also known as Padma Mudra, Lotus mudra accesses and opens the energy of anahata, the heart. Inspired by the story of the lotus flower, this mudra strengthens purity and perseverance, allowing us to float above the muddy waters of desire, fear, and attachment.
Through this movement of prana, the mind is relaxed and stabilised and a more loving attitude is opened. It has a blossoming effect of joy, love and compassion throughout the mind and body. Especially useful during times of hardship, heartbreak or when you feel as if you are wading through the 'mud' in a particular point in your life.
Vajra Pradama Mudra
The mudra of unshakeable trust, works to burn through self doubt and clear away the tension around the heart space. Reverberating positivity energy, quiet strength, confidence and steadiness as you stand firmly on your own path.
This mudra is ideal for times when self confidence and inner strength needs support, when your faith or trust in something is challenged or for building your trust and confidence indoor higher self and true path.
A sanskrit term for 'garland of flowers' is the name of this gesture of offering. Used in meditation, pashpaputa mudra opens the mind to be accepting of the blessings of the universe and less attached to what those blessings may be. It opens up receptivity and a positive attitude that allows to see the offerings placed in front of us as oppurtunities and with gratitude.
A very helpful mudra for when we are stuck or lacking positivity in what is happening around us. Only with open hands can we enrich the world, and only with an open mind and open soul can we receive what the divine has to offer us.