The Practice of Mudra
The practice of energy manipulation in the body has been practiced for millennia. Long ago our ancestors realized that being part of nature; energy was a large part of who we were.
In many ways, we’ve lost touch with this.
We’ve gotten so far into our own heads that the world around us, with all of its energy freely given, has become foreign to us.
Sure, we know that going to the mountains makes us feel better.
Setting alongside a body of water and just listening to the waves or the babbling current makes us feel more whole.
Today we do not always have the luxury of doing these things. We do, however, have the ancient art of mudra to keep the energy flowing within us.
Keeping our minds and body’s clear of the contaminates we expose them too is difficult.
We live out our lives indoors and around mechanical machinery, computers, and artificial light sources.
We don’t feel the soil beneath our feet nearly as much as we’d like.
Fortunately, we have mudra & other forms of natural energy manipulation to balance the energy within us and replenish what has been lost.
What is Mudra
Mudra means seal, gesture, or mark.
Mudras are symbolic gestures practiced with the hands, fingers & arms, mostly.
There are a few that encompass the whole body. Some yoga poses are, in themselves, mudras.
What mudras do
Mudras help to balance the energy flow of the subtle body; the body of energy that flows around the physical body.
This in turn helps to keep the flow of energy in the blood and the function of the organs clean & free from contaminants & blockage.
Mudras help the mind in the same way. It could be said, that it is more beneficial to the mind than the body.
We know that there is a flow of energy within the mind that we are only beginning to understand scientifically.
When are mudras used
Many of the pictures you see of people in meditation are holding their hands in the form of some mudra.
Usually either chin or jnana mudra (consciousness seal), dhyana (meditation seal), or prana mudra (life force seal).
These three are used often during meditation. Many times, in the west, these are taught without explaining to the student what they mean or what the purpose is.
Other mudras are practiced while sitting, standing, or while doing pranayama (exercise of the breath).
Mrigi mudra is an example of a mudra that is used during the practice of pranayama.
The anjali mudra (salutation seal) is very familiar in the East as a salutation.
Many religions use it a salutation to a deity as they pray.
You simply touch both palms together in front of your chest. This mudra is familiar to many.
When to do a mudra
Mudras can be practiced anywhere, really. Most people incorporate them into a morning practice of yoga, pranayama, and mantra.
These practices are not all done by everyone. Many just do one or two.
Many times practitioners are introduced to yoga. Then as their practice deepens; they become curious about other aspects of practice.
This, in turn, leads to the exploration of mudra, mantra, and sometimes Ayurveda (life science).
In reality, it is all yoga. Life is yoga.
Where should I start
There are a couple of mudras that are very easy to incorporate into your life & practice.
Two of them I’ve named above would be a very good place to start.
The following instructions will help you become proficient in the practice of mudra and help you become more balanced in your daily life and practice.
Jnana mudra is very easy to do. If you are a meditations practitioner you may already be doing it during meditation.
It is practiced by sitting in a chair or on the floor; cross-legged. Hands resting with the palms facing upward on the knees.
Your thumb and forefinger should be lightly touching one another with the other three fingers straight out from the palm in a semi-relaxed position.
This is the consciousness seal or Jnana mudra.
Sitting in the same manner as above. Your hands will be in front of your naval. Your palms facing upward. The left hand on top of the right with thumbs lightly touching.
This is the meditation seal or Dhyana mudra.
This is the one most everyone would relate to Christian prayer.
In the East, it is used as a salutation or greeting. It is, however, a mantra.
Standing or sitting in your favorite position; put your palms together in front of your chest in the area of the heart.
Pay respects to the heart that beats within your chest.
Reverence to the heart seal or Anjali mudra.
This is one of my favorites. It is simple to do. You can do it anywhere, and for me, works very well with pranayama.
Sitting in your favorite position place your hands in your lap or on your knees with the palms facing up.
Put your fingers together like you are going to make the ever-popular peace or victory sign.
Instead of spreading the two fingers that are free; keep them together and extended forward.
This is life force seal or prana mudra.
As you begin your mudra practice keep in mind that you are learning something new. Be gentle with yourself.
This will all come in time.
You can explore the different mudras and find ones that work well for you.
You will soon begin to see the benefits of mudra and seek out mudras that aid in different experiences you are working through in life.
This is a very private practice full of exploration, reverence, and rewards.
The freedom within you will become noticeable by others.
You will notice a new kind of energy entering the life that extends before you.