October 04, 2023
Mudras known as gestures are mostly performed with the hands (however they can involve other body parts too) they add additional focus and depth to some practices. There are so many different mudras to explore.
Mudras are based on pressure points in the hands (there is a large number of nerve endings in the hands this makes the hands especially sensitive).Prana travels all the way around the body, vyana vayu carries prana to the extremities and is responsible for complete circulation. When energy reaches the tips of the fingers mudras act as a means to prevent energy exiting the body and instead, they redirect, harness or accumulate the energy. Mudras work with the prana and energetic body - the pranamaya kosha. There is no clear division between each kosha and as prana flows freely through them all. Energy causes vibrations, the more energy something holds the faster the molecules or atoms vibrate (this is brief), but it might help us understand why at times when we perform modules we can feel tingling in the fingers.
Many ancient practices recognise the five elements earth, water, air, fire and space as building blocks, that are present throughout the universe and of course present in the body. In some yoga practices each finger including the thumb corresponds with an element. However, different schools of yoga might label each finger differently. The fingers are viewed as being rich with energy, sometimes they are considered as live wires of energy. When a hand (hasta) mudra is formed, one or more of the fingers creates shapes to complete an energetic circuit, doing so allows pranic energy to flow through that circuit to balance the elements represented by those particular fingers. Or the energy might be redirected to a different area of the body which could be physical, energetic or emotional part of the self.
Elements and the fingers.
The thumb - represents the fire element.
The index finger - represents the air element.
The middle finger - represents the space element.
The ring finger - represents the earth element.
The little finger - represents the water element.
Mudras can manipulate the prana increase or decrease the prana to a specific part of the body. When a mudra is practiced as well as redirecting energy it can also seal or lock pranic energy inside the body for a specific purpose, this might encourage prana to build up in one area and when the mudra is released energy can move quickly helping to remove blockages from within the energetic body.
Through mudra energies are balanced, enhanced, decreased (if required) all with a goal of enhancing the ability to move through the limbs of yoga helping practitioners reach pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), so that focus (dharana) can be enriched and dhyana (meditation) can be experienced.
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