In the practice of Yoga, we use our body in many ways; it could be the flow of asanas, positions, it could be the gesture of our hands and feet. Mudras are the perfect tools for keeping you intact with your body and focus. The term mudra applies to the use of hand gestures during meditation that carry specific goals of channeling your body’s energy flow. There are more than 100 known mudras that have been developed over the centuries. The word mudra itself is in Sanskrit, meaning gesture, attitude – could be emotional, psychic, devotional and aesthetic gesture or attitudes.
For yogis mudras represent an attitude of energy flow, the intention to link the individual pranic energy with the universal energy; this is why they can be also defined as ‘seals’ ,’shortcuts’. Mudras are also used to deepen the concentration during the meditative state – they are considered as higher yoga practices which lead to awakening pranas, chakras and kundalini.
Probably the most common mudra used among yogis, and the one seen the most. The common phrase used among teachers during class is “bring your hands to prayers” , whilst the word anjali does literally mean offering. By doing this mudra we are giving thanks for having the practice of Yoga in our lives. “I surrender to the moment, to what i cannot control in my life and my intention for the class.’ Surrendering does not have to be about God. It is your private to reflect on your connection with the divine.
Psychic gesture of consciousness – This mudra is used in either seated meditation or pranayama, such as ujjayi . The hands rest on the knees or thighs. This gesture has a grounding effect on the mind. The index finger represents the individual, and the thumb represents the universal; put together it creates a kind of circuit by connecting the terminus of certain nadi thus re-circulating the body’s vital energy.
Fierce aspect of Shiva and Shakti – the right (male) resting on top of the left (female), represents the Ida and the Pingala Nadis and the union of the individual with the supreme consciousness; manifestation.
Primal or first gesture – This mudra is made by curling the fingers around the thumb making a very light fist. It has a soothing influence on the mind and is said to positively influence breathing, It could be used during the Savasana, in the ending meditation, to quiet the nervous system.
Psychic gesture of life force – Or so called, the mudra of digestion, this mudra controls the pelvis, abdomen and the eliminative functions of the body. There are various ways which our body omits toxins – perspiration, excretion, urination, menstruation , and this mudra helps in speeding up the elimination process.