When you place your hands together at your heart in yoga or meditation, you’re doing a mudra! What exactly is a mudra? And why practice mudras in yoga?
MUDRAS ARE HAND YOGA!
Mudra is a Sanskrit word meaning “sign” or “seal”. It is a symbolic or ritual gesture that is most often done with the hands. There are mudras in classical Indian and Southeast Asian dances, in religious art and … in yoga and meditation!
The mudras are hand asanas. Yup, yoga postures especially for hands and fingers!
There are many mudras. Some sources say there are more than a hundred, others say several dozens (if you count them all keep me updated!).
Each mudra is codified. Each has a meaning and a precise effect on the body and mind.
MUDRAS AFFECT BODY AND MIND
The human body has 7 main chakras.
In addition to these come many secondary chakras. Two of these secondary chakras are in the palms of your hands. You have energy centers right there in your palms! Isn’t that cool?
Also, the hands and fingers contain many nerve endings and acupuncture points. Traditional Chinese Medicine meridians such as the Heart Meridian, Pericardium Meridian or Small Intestine Meridian, also run through the hands.
You literally are holding your health in your hands!
MUDRAS AND FINGER MEANINGS
In many traditions in Asia but also elsewhere, the fingers are associated with the elements (Fire, Water etc), or the planets.
Here are the most common associations in the practice of mudras:
The Thumb is Agni, FIRE
The Index is Vayu, AIR
The Middle Finger is Akasha, ETHER, the Universe
The Ring finger is Prithvi, EARTH
The Little finger is Jala, WATER.
Of course, you’ll find variations of these associations, in Kundalini Yoga for example. I believe each person feels things differently, no matter what tradition they follow. My invitation to you: discover your way!
What happens when we place certain fingers together in a mudra? Well, we activate the body’s energy channels and connect to the natural elements (Earth, Fire, etc).
Mudras move energy around, and before you know it, “stuff’s happening” in your body and mind!
More on mudras? Check out :
– How to use mudras?
– Padma Mudra, Abhaya Mudra and Energy in your hands with a Ball of Chi! Yes Yes Yes !