A cut-out from a magazine article about mudras – also coined as Yoga for your fingers – changed my life when I was a teenager.I always wanted to do Yoga, but due to deteriorating health, the mat remained rolled up. Little did I know then that Yoga is much more than asana, but that is a different story. So back to mudras: The term Mudra means gesture or attitude, and also signifies a seal. Mudras are often a combination of the other limbs of Yoga practice like asana, pranayama and bandha, or they are just simple hand positions (hasta). And as we know, the simple things are those with the most profound effect. Same applies to mudras.
Yogis describe the mudra experience as a link between the individual life energy with the universal force. Mudras manipulate the prana, the life energy. Looking at your hands, there thousands or even more little energy channels (nadis or meridians) that are radiating and pulsating energy. Normally the energy emits from the body -and in our case hands since we are talking about hand positions here – and dissipates into the wide open, but when applying a seal – a mudra – the energy is redirected within thanks to that circuit bypass. This not only enables to get a better connection to the flow of life energy in your body, but also connects the koshas, the different layers of your being – in Yoga terms annamaya kosha(the physical body), manomaya kosha(the mental body) and pranamaya kosha(the energy body). This creates balance and allows to achieve higher states of consciousness. Mudras practice is subtle with rippling effects on your awareness. Each mudra engages different areas of the brain and spirit,too and exercises a corresponding effect that gently shifts unconscious patterns.
Mudras are Yoga with your fingers that you can actually do anywhere. No mat, strap, block or yoga pants are required and you can do them while standing, lying down, sitting or even walking – as long as you keep your body centered. To perform them, you simply need to form your hands and place your fingers in a certain position. Keep the pressure of your fingers light and fine, and your hands should be relaxed – because after all, that what its all about! Everything flows more easily in a relaxed state, and with mudras you are intending some new energy to come in so that life can grow. Mudra-Queen Gertrud Hirschi brings it to the point:
“We can effectively engage and influence our body and our mind by bending, crossing, extending or touching the fingers with other fingers. Isn´t this wonderful?”
We all have experienced the magic of touch in one way or the other – when a mother touches her kiddos forehead to get a sense of its temperature and all of a sudden it is healed, holding each others hands, those electrifying moments when you by chance touch someone and it all goes BOOM! and so forth. You truly have all the magic in your hands, so you simply just need to make use of it. Give your life the opportunity to become how you want it to be. Here are my favorite mudras – or moodras as I like to call them – that boost yor mood and raise your vibration.
Named after the Hindu deity Ganesh, this mudra is a real heart opener! You might have seen that fun-looking dude with an elephant head and the four arms who has a rat as his accompanist and vehicle?
Living in a world of symbolism, Ganesh is the remover of obstacles – elephantastic full force so to say. Since this mudra is working on your fourth chakra, your heart centre, it stimulates the heart activity and respiratory system alike. Apart from relieving tension in this area, on the mental and emotional levels this mudra encourages openness and connection. How often are we standing in our own way when it comes to being open to life and other people? Start removing your own obstacles towards love and life, and this is how you gonna do it:
Hold your left hand in front of your chest with the palm facing outward. Bend your fingers and grasp the left hand with the right hand, which has its back facing outward. Bring your hands on heart level, right in front of the chest. While exhaling, vigorously pull the hands apart without releasing the grip. You will feel a little bit of tension in the upper arms and chest area. While inhaling, let go all tension. Repeat six times, then place your hands on the sternum in this position. Time to change the hand position by switching to the other side: the right palm faces now outward. Again, repeat 6 times. Afterwards, keep quiet for a while and focus on your heart space.
This is the mudra of wealth and its position reminds pretty much the image of snapping with your fingers and your wish is granted! Indeed, the Kubera mudra is about attraction because all we want and need is actually out there – its just a matter of inviting it to come into your life. So set your intention, formulate your wish and envison your goals – make sure you are very clear about what it is that you want to attract. Form the mudra, phrase whatever you are looking out for in the three P-style – positive, personal and in present tense- and say it out loud three times. Yip, aloud – because intensity matters here and your words carry your vibration. That may sound all HocusPocus, but we all have to come to terms with the fact that there is a whole lotta magic around us. And it couldn´t be any easier to tap into it:
Place the tip of your thumb, index finger, and middle finger together. Then bend the two fingers so that they can rest in the middle of your hand. Do with each hand and hold – let your intention go and flow and press your fingers together while doing so.
On a physical level, the Kubera Mudra cleanses the frontal sinuses- what a nice symbol for having a good nose for something that serves you and others well. May it come to you easily!
Life is going all topsy-turvy again? I betcha! The Dharmachakra mudra is the gesture of the turning wheel – a quite fitting symbol for the wheel of life, going up and down in an infinite loop. It reminds us that the only constant in life is eternal change. With the two hands forming wheels, the left side presents the inner world, and the right hand the outer world. Achieving a state of balance between these spheres leads to peacefulness, serenity and trust in the process of life. So lets cross fingers and remember: This too shall pass.
Both hands are raised at the chest level with the right hand somewhat higher than the left. Join the thumbs and index finger of each hand. The palm of the left hand faces your heart. The back of the right hand faces the body. The left middle finger touches the palce where the thumb and index finger of the right hand form a closed circle. Breathing in and out and simply become aware of how your feelings and mood are slowly but surely changing. Om Shanti and may the big wheel keep on turning!
What are your favourite mudras? Leave a comment or post a pic of a nice finger bend!
Gertrud Hirschi: Mudras – Yoga in Your Hands
Swami Satyananda Saraswati: Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha