Mudras for Vitality
Mudras for vitality and life force. What are mudras? Mudra in Sanskrit means “seal” and they are symbolic signs, gestures, or body positions that cause a change in the body’s life force. Mudras for vitality allow us to direct the pranic life force to parts of our body so that these energies may be connected from within.
Two of the recognized drishti’s (focus) are mudras. When we focus at the nose tip (Agochari Mudra) and the brow center or third eye (Shambhavi Mudra), we are able to calm the nervous system and increase concentration. We can feel the physical manifestation of these mudras in the poses Shoulder stand and Plow pose. When we learn to harness this energy using mudras for vitality, we will benefit more fully from yoga practice.
Mudras for Vitality- Meditation Mudras
Mudras are easily combined with yoga postures and are often used during breath work and meditation. Some mudras are symbolic and some represent a deity. Often the mudras are connected to our understand of the chakra system, Indian ayurvedic thought, or Chinese acupuncture meridians. Mudras are understood to work through the reflex zones, by which each part of the hand is associated with a part of the body and brain.
Prayer Seal (Anjali Mudra)
This Mudra for vitality is often seen in India. People use it greet, thank, and express respect. Yoga teachers use it to close class and it is a reminder to come back to your center. By grounding yourself, you can work from a clear, calm foundation. You can use Anjali Mudra to start or end a meditation session. Put some gentle pressure between your two hands to harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Then press your thumbs to your breastbone to remind yourself to cultivate the qualities of the heart during your practice. Also, try using the mudra between Sun Salutations!
“Dhyani Mudra is used for meditation and contemplation. The left hand is placed on top of the right and tips of the thumbs touch. Symbolically, the hands form an empty bowl, receptive to contemplative thought.” The Yoga Bible
Bhairava and Bhairavi Mudras
When the right hand is on top and the thumbs are laid down to rest one on the other, this double hand bowl is called Bhairava Mudra. This mudra symbolizes the god Shiva. When the left hand is on top, thumbs resting down, this is called Bhairavi Mudra. This is named for Shakti, the consort of Shiva.
Sanmukhi Mudra- Closing the Sixth Gate
This mudra allows the sensory organs to rest in deep silence as we let go of outer distractions and turn our gaze inward. Sit in a meditative position. Press on the little flap in front of your ears with your thumbs to block sound from your ears. Cover your eyes with your index fingers, touch the nostrils with your middle fingers, and place the ring and little fingers above and below your lips to symbolically cover the mouth. Keep the elbows raised, breathe steadily and enjoy the deep silence. When you feel tired, simply lower the arms and continue in mediation.
Mudras for Vitality- Pranayama Mudras
Use these mudras for vitality during breathing practices.
Curl the thumb and first fingertip to touch each other. Keep the other fingers straight. The hand can be placed palm up or down in a gesture of wisdom. The thumb is symbolic of the divine force and the index finger is a symbol of the human consciousness. This mudra encourages abdominal breathing and demonstrates the intent to unite the individual oneness with the cosmic consciousness.
While your index finger and thumb touch, curl the other three fingers down so their fingertips touch the palm. This mudra encourages intercostal breathing through the expansion of the sides of the ribcage and the middle torso.
Make a first by first folding in the thumb and covering it with the fingers. This mudra encourages clavicular breathing through the expansion of the upper section of the lungs. Many people find the difference between no mudra and these breathing mudras easily noticeable when they sit quietly and carefully observe their breath.
Make fists with the thumbs tucked in and bring the knuckles together in this mudras for vitality. Rest the hands, palms up, just under the breastbone so they are level with the diaphragm. Have the little fingers touch the abdomen. As the knuckles touch, all the energy meridians of the hands are activated. This mudra encourages full, deep breathing. While in the mudra, observe the inhale- it begins in the abdomen and moves up to fill the middle and side ribs. The inhale finally fills the tips of the lungs under the collarbone. Observe the exhale in the same way- become aware of the gentle contracting force as the air flows out of the lungs through the nostrils.
Mudras for vitality, if practiced with regularity, will become a powerful connection to your life force.
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