Mudra comes from the Sanskrit root words – mud (joy) and ra (to produce). The Yogic and Tantric sciences also refer to the other Sanskrit understanding of the word – (a ‘closure’ or ‘seal’) and use it to name the methodical hand gestures made to open, release or redirect the flow of internal energies (prana, chi or ki); making‘closed electrical-circuits’ so to speak.
Mudra Vigyan; the ancient science of healing through finger postures is also referred to commonly as ‘Hand Yoga’. It is based on the premise that; our fingers are continuously emitting various kinds of vital energy, electric waves and aura. When different fingers form a variety of mudras, they act as powerful energy conductors that connect through the system of energy channels called nadis, restoring the balance of the five elements(you can read more – the five fingers and the five elements) and thereby benefitting us physically, mentally and spiritually.
Trivia: Think about this – The human hand contains about 100,000 nerves with each fingertip having around 3,000 nerve receptors. The hand constitutes an extremely large proportion of the brain’s cortex with each area of the hand linked to a different part of the brain.
Thus when pressure is applied to the fingers and hands, we activate pressure points, thereby stimulating related brain areas, give messages to the energy system and change brain patterns.
Benefits of Mudra Yoga
- Harmonise body and mind, by easing the flow of energy
- Balance the five elements and restore health
- Clear the subtle channels and the psychic centres within the body leading to peace and wellness
- Generate power-restoring energy levels and increasing virility
- Link the brain to the body; sharpening intellect, concentration and boosting memory
- Improve mood, attitude and perception, and encourage positive thinking
- Therapeutic and curative, since energy flows affect body organs, glands and nervous system. Have been known to ease any ailment from simple indigestion to cardiac arrests
- Soothe pain and ease discomfort by stimulating the endorphin system
- Awaken the Kundalini power or cosmic energyand deepen awareness
- Purify the body’s bio-magnetic field and shield it from negative forces
How to practise Mudra Yoga
- They can be practiced at any time of the day. The practice should not be done for at least 30 minutes after eating a meal (exception vayu mudra)
- Can be performed in any body position like sitting, standing, walking or travelling, but to get the maximum benefit, they should be practised when one is seated; especially in sukhasana (easy pose), vajrasana, or padmasana (lotus pose). Whichever position you choose, what is most important, is to keep your body symmetrical,centered and relaxed.
- They can be practiced for a minimum of 3 minutes and a maximum of 45 minutes a day, for at least 15 days to experience benefits. If you have time constraints and can’t perform all at one stretch you can practice in 2-3 instalments.
- Can be done while following any other kind of treatment, medical as well as non¬medical.
- Although a diet or lifestyle change is essential, following a suitable balanced diet can reinforce the benefits of mudra healing.
- They should be practiced with both hands simultaneously
- The touch of the thumb and the finger must be light, easy and with gentle normal pressure. The other fingers must be kept near each other and should remain as straight as comfortable, with the palm parallel to the ground and facing the sky.
Types of Mudras
There are hundreds of mudras that are commonly practiced during meditation and yogic exercises. They are loosely categorised into three groups depending on their purpose or aim–
- General – for overall promotion of well-being and peace by restoring balance and energy levels Eg. Gyan mudra, Pran mudra
- Therapeutic or healing – for treating, easing or curing disease by pumping vital life force to specific parts of the body, healing ailments ranging from the common cold to cancer. Eg.Vaayu mudra, Agni mudra
- Meditative or spiritual – for focusing the mind and energy flow inwards and refining awareness to seek enlightenment. Eg. Dhyana mudra, Anjali mudra
Now that you know about Mudras and their tremendous latent powers, its time to take the power in your hands and exercise them is it not?
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