Mudra in Sanskrit means Mark/Seal/Gesture. These gestures occur throughout the practice of yoga, and often take place off the mat in rituals, such as pujas. There are many that may occur without you even being aware of it 🙂 The use of Mudras is to channel energy and move it through the body in specific ways, and to accomplish specific purposes. For scholars who have scoured the ancient texts and kept track of such things, there over 100 such Mudras.
This month we are going to focus on several Mudras that offer us the opportunity to invite balance into our lives and our practices. Trying the below mudras first during meditation or breath practice allows you to engage with the Mudra, and allows you to see how they feel. Spend sometime being mindful within these to see what you experience, while practicing pranayama and meditation, then when you feel comfortable you can move these mudras into an asana practice if and where appropriate.
Apana Mudra is a place for grounding, and connects strongly with the exhale (for which it is named). This Mudra is strongly linked with promoting feelings of calmness and ease. This can be performed with one or both hands.
Apana Mudra-bring the pad of the thumb together with the pads of middle and ring finger, while the first finger and pinkie extended.
Hakini Mudra is a Mudra encourages a sense of ease, calm and alertness. This Mudra balances energies to encourage integration and harmony. This is a great way to open and close a practice, as it ties things together nicely. This Mudra is commonly held right around navel height.
Hakini Mudra-Bring the fingertips together, right thumb to left thumb, right index finger to left index finger, etc. The fingers are extended, with the thumbs on top, and the fingers held as though they were cradling something precious to you.
Bhu Mudra is a grounding Mudra that is called the “gesture of the Earth.” This Mudra encourages a sense of stability in the body and the mind. This Mudra is best suited for seated postures as the connection of the Mudra to the earth.
Bhu Mudra-Bring the ring and the pinkie finger in under the thumb, with the index and the middle finger extended. The index and middle finger will make contact with the earth, lightly. Try to not press into the ground, of feel heavy.
Enjoy playing with this new dimension of a yoga practice. In another post we will explain some of the Mudras that we are more familiar with, to gain the understanding behind this energy work!