Mudras in Yoga are gestures made with the hands.
When we view the body as an antenna that’s continually sensing and transmitting prana (or energy), we can recognise the sensitivity of our fingers as a gateway for information coming in towards the centre. Here we can appreciate the subtle power of Mudras used in Yoga. Ancient forms of dance and other meditative arts, which act as switches for certain energy qualities and concentrate the highly expressive nature of our hands.
We receive a lot of information from the outside world. Our fingers are home to some of the most dense areas of nerve endings in the body, and are the richest source of tactile feedback. When I was a child and being shown something I’d say ‘can I look with my hands’ because that was a better way to take on information.
A few months ago I noticed how my addiction to devices and technology negatively impacted the intelligence of my hands. They were getting held in the same position for long periods of time, thumbs were used a lot for messaging which, if I'd carried on would have lead to pain and swelling in a saddle joint that just isn’t as dextrous as the fingers.
Touching technology gets very boring for fingers and hands as the landscape doesn’t change (unless you crack your screen in which case there’s an added element of danger). There is so much potential for sensation at your finger tips with all of the receptors and nerve endings… and over time they can become dull, switched off.
Be hands on; gardening, cooking, writing (with pen and paper), making things and being creative is a great way to free and enliven your hands. They pass that up the line to the elbow and shoulder, common ‘problem’ areas for people. Now you know this… you can observe certain parts of our practice that I teach to release these areas.
When I'm teaching I tend to explain Mudras as a form of communication, and for the sceptics, just think of how we use language to convey our feelings;
Hands can create a feeling of abundance and plenty; I have my hands full at the moment, or a sense of losing control; as opportunities slip through your hands, or a feeling of lack; I went home empty handed.
Whether you fully appreciate it or not, your hands are great communicators; they reach out for what you want, they curl into a fist when you’re tense or holding back.
A well rounded Yoga and Meditation practice will include use of Mudras as a way to ease tension, shift subtle energy or provide a simple physical focus during Meditation.
Handy tips for increasing sensation
This is Gyan Mudra; index finger and thumb are connected.
Try it as pictured, with your middle, ring and little fingers relaxed
Then actively reach out with those three fingers
And finally, return to the first version and as you breathe in press index finger and thumb together as you breathe out, relax them a little. Keep the connection throughout but explore pressure.
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