Mudras: Yoga for the Hands
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on March 5, 2013. Posted with permission.
When the workday crazy breaks loose, centering with a sun salutation isn’t always convenient. For serenity, just move your fingers. Mudras offer a quick yogic do-over.
Many metaphysical schools of healing ascribe significance to the hands including astrology and palmistry, reflexology, Chinese medicine and acupressure. Mudras, “seals” that influence the body’s energy, are yoga poses of the hands.
Begin by sitting in a comfortable, cross-legged position or even at your desk. Tune into the breath to clear the mind, and hold one of these three calming mudras for one minute, working your way up to five.
Anjali Mudra: Prayer position is ubiquitous in all faith systems. In the yogic sense, the heart or Anahata chakra is the vortex of love, balance, unity, and the melding of the physical and the energetic. Pressing the palms in front of the heart chakra forms a complete circuit between the right and left sides of the body.
Chin Mudra: Touching the thumb tip to the index finger is a common mudra of yoga and Eastern traditions. Chin Mudra is the gesture of student to teacher, the unity of the human self (index finger) with divine cosmic consciousness (the thumb).
Dhyani Mudra: While seated, form a bowl in your lap with your left fingers on top of the right, thumb tips to touch, the bowl ready to receive. The purpose of meditation is not to experience sudden enlightenment bombshells but to cleanse the mind of chatter. When you emerge from meditation, you are a more perfect vessel for receiving divine downloads.
Mudras can also represent different states of consciousness you wish to develop. Try these mudras while seated in meditation, listening to your rhythmic breath.
Fearlessness with Abhaya Mudra: Sit with your left arm at your side, and raise your open right hand to shoulder height with your elbow bent. Add this mudra to your warrior poses to diffuse aggression or combativeness.
Navigate life transitions with Dharmachakra Mudra: These are the wheels of transformation. Hold both hands in Chin Mudra in front of your heart. Your right palm faces away from you while your left palm faces your body. Touch your left middle finger to the tips of your right index finger and thumb.
Open your heart with Lotus Mudra:. Take prayer position and open your fingers like blooming lotus petals while only the thumbs and pinkies touch. Use Lotus Mudra while in tree pose. Open and close the lotus petals, lifting your hands as your fingers bloom.
Confidence with Vajrapradama Mudra: While seated in thunderbolt pose (on your heels with knees touching), flatten your palms over your heart center, fingers facing one another, spread wide.
Enlightenment and connectedness with Uttarabodhi Mudra: While seated with Anjali Mudra, intertwine your fingers and steeple your index fingers. Stretch your arms high overhead, or add this mudra to Warrior One and breathe.