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MUDRAS CALLED FINGER POWER POINTS ARE YOGA POSITIONS FOR YOUR HANDS AND FIMGERS. Associated part of the body and brain coordination takes place through the practice of mudras (specific gestures and attitudes). I have sought to identify and isolate the different elements of each mudra, and show how they work together to result in the expansion of awareness.
- Mudras influencing the mind through direct stimulation of the brain, via the nervous system;
- Mudras influencing the mind through indirect stimulation of the brain via manipulation of prana (pranamaya kosha).1
Therefore, one head mudra (shambhavi mudra) and one hand mudra (pranam mudra) have been chosen as representative models.
Introduction to mudras
Mudra is a Sanskrit word derived from the root mud, ‘please’ or ‘delight’ and dravay, the causal form of dru, ‘to draw forth’. It has been so defined because its performance is said to give pleasure and satisfaction to the object of reference (with form or formless), which in turn rebound on the practitioner.
The term mudra has been used with different meanings at different periods of time. In this study I will refer to it as meaning gesture and attitude. Every mudra can be seen as a symbolic expression of psycho-physiological, emotional, devotional and aesthetic attitudes which the practitioner is aiming to ultimately experience.
Mudras are not mere creations of an inventive mind but originally came spontaneously to adepts and still occur today to the jivanmukta, liberated person.The fundamental tantric principle behind mudra is that ‘whatever is in the macrocosm, also exists in the microcosm.’ Man is a microcosm – whatever exists in the outer universe can also be experienced in him.
Tantric and yogic literatures describe over one hundred different forms of mudras. According to their physical denotations, they can be categorized into approximately five groups: (i) Hasta, hand; (ii) Mana, head; (iii) Kaya, postural; (iv) Bandha, lock; (v) Adhara, perineal. Mudras are also mentioned as being of three varieties: gross, subtle and the highest. The mudras formed by bodily parts are considered gross, while mudras formed in combination with mantras are subtle. The highest (causal) mudra occurs when the symbolic meaning of the mudra is experienced or revealed to the practitioner; that meaning is itself the essence of the mudra.
Mudra, like no other yogic practice, is recognized as an external instrument with the capacity to prepare the mind for meditation. It sustains the flow of thoughts in preparation for recognizing more subtle levels of perception. It is at this stage that our mind must assume the quality of sakshi bhava, becoming a silent witness to mental activities. Mudra is like a key which opens aspects of our mind for us to view.
Mudras generate cues of the supreme reality, taking the practitioner nearer to the final truth, representing the nearest ‘figure’ of this truth as a mirror would represent reality. As the mirror reflects what is in front but not behind, similarly different mudras just reflect different aspects of the highest reality. They attempt to preserve the infinite within the finite, as a bowl of water attempts to contain the reflection of the sun. In this way the mudra can be seen as a science of connection between the infinite and the finite.
Aspect of awareness
To understand what lifts a simple posture or gesture into the realm of mudra requires some understanding of psycho-physiological interactions. One way to understand this is to look at the brain. During the process of human evolution there is a gradual linking up of the cortex with the deep primitive, sensory structure of the brain. This process is called telencephalization, which means bringing what is normally instinctive into awareness, into conscious control. So, awareness has a seat – if any seat has to exist – which may be associated with both the cerebral activity areas involving midbrain and cortex.
There can be no expansion of awareness without firstly starting to become aware. During mudra practice, we start to become aware of the thoughts which emerge before, during and after the practice. We are creating fixed, repetitive postures and gestures which can snap the practitioner out of instinctive habit patterns and establish a more refined awareness. A generalized mass of energy is then specifically focused on the cortex, an organ that can be described as the higher physical representation of the psyche.
Simple hand movements to overcome any ailments!
Wikipedia defines Mudra as a spiritual gesture and an energetic seal of authenticity employed in the iconography and spiritual practice of Indian religions and traditions of Dharma and Taoism. If you are wondering how a simple hand gesture can hold such powerful powers, get ready for a surprise. Read on to know about the science behind hand mudras…
Mudras manipulate the prana in much the same way that energy in the form of light or sound wave is diverted by a mirror or cliff face. The nadis and chakras constantly radiate prana which normally escapes from the body and dissipiates into the external world. By creating barriers within the body through the practice of mudra, the energy is redirected within the body like shanmukhi mudra, vajroli mudra.
It is all about the 5 elements
The Universe is composed of five elements, earth, air, water, fire, and ether. Similarly our body is also a union of five elements which is represented by our five fingers. Imbalance of these elements disrupts the immunity system and causes disease. Hand mudras regulate these five elements in our body. Deficiencies in any of these elements can be made up by connecting one part of the body with another in a particular manner through Mudras.
FROM 1ST-10TH OF THE MONTH
When a finger representing an element is brought into contact with the thumb, that element is brought into balance. Therefore the disease caused by the imbalance is cured. Mudras start electromagnetic currents within the body which balance various constituting elements and restore health. The joining of fingers creates an effect on the human body.
- REGULAR YOGI
FROM 11th to 20th OF THE MONTH
The fingers representing five elements are: The Thumb for Fire; Rhe Index (Jupiter finger) for Air; The Middle (Saturn finger) for Ether or Space; The Ring (Sun finger) for Earth; The smallest (Mercury finger) for Water.
Mudras in general are actions of hands and fingers that can be performed at any time in any way, like sitting, standing, walking or travelling. So there’s no need to devote a special time to perform a mudra, but the maximum benefit is by doing it in sitting posture, especially in sukhasana, vajrasana, or padmasana.
- DEVOTTED YOGI
FROM 21st TO 30th OF THE MONTH
There are hundreds of mudras, some for health, some for wellbeing, some for creating certain other kinds of processes. For different aspects of life there are different mudras. Learn at Gems Of Yoga Mudras and Bandhas class some of the most popular and effective mudras like Gyan Mudra, Shoonya Mudra, Apaan Mudra, Prana Mudra, Vayu Mudra, Prithvi Mudra, Varun Mudra, Surya Mudra,Ling Mudra, Chin Mudra,Adi Mudra, Brahma Mudra, Chinmaya Mudra…
Timing and duration for mudras
In the initial phase mudras should be performed for at least 10 minutes and then can be extended to 30 minutes to 1 hour. In each yoga mudra take at least twelve breaths and closely observe the flow of prana. Feel where the breath is flowing and gently energizing and mind.
Along with hasta maudras the teacher will also introduce and join the head mudras, postural mudras, bandhas or lock mudras and Adhara (perineal mudras). The postural mudras lead you to Dharana or concenteration which helps Kundalini awakening. Mudras provide a means to access and influence the unconscious reflexes and primal,instnctive habit pattern that originate in the primitive areas of the brain around the brain stem. They are used a lot in Kriya yoga and Kundalini Yoga.