Dec 13, 2014

Yoga mudras

In this post, we shall talk about the hand gestures, called mudras. A mudra is nothing but a gesture, but may have different meanings in different contexts such as yoga and classical dance. Many of the mudras are what we routinely do, but not as a deliberate gesture, not for a long time, and not as a discipline.

Though many mudras are seen in ancient paintings and sculptures, especially those with Budhist links, mudras are secular. Many advance mudras are supposed to help in achieving great spiritual powers. Discussing the logic behind mudras as a yogic practice will be beyond this blog.
We’ll limit our discussion to a few hand gestures that have proved to be beneficial in correcting imbalances in the body or giving quick relief in acute cases. We advise that mudras should be done separately [not in succession or in one go] and for reasonable duration at a time [about 10-15 minutes]. So, we are describing here only four mudras that are safe and yet very useful. Only two mudras given below need some caution, but as their benefits far outweigh the caution, we have included them too. Please remember that mudras too can lead to problems if done wrongly.

Practice Gyan mudra regularly during your yoga session or separately. You can sit with this mudra while doing udgitha pranayama. For specific relief, do the related mudra. Do not suddenly abandon your medicines or other treatment if you find relief after doing a mudra.

Gyan mudra: Join the tips of index finger and the thumb; let the other three fingers remain straight or slightly bent comfortably. Good for memory and mental relaxation. Gets rid of sleeplessness.

Apan vayu mudra: Bring the tip of index finger to the base of the thumb and hold it there; join the tips of the next two fingers with the tip of the thumb and let the thumb slightly press them; let the little finer be straight. This mudra has been found to bring instant relief during heart attack. Regular practice of this mudra helps in curing heart ailments.

Prana mudra: Keep the index and middle fingers straight and joined; join the tips of the thumb and the last two fingers and let the thumb slightly press them. This mudra vitalizes the body, improves confidence and improves eyesight.

Shunya mudra: Bend the middle finger till it touches the palm; bring the thumb around it and press it; let the index, ring and little fingers remain comfortably straight. This mudra relieves ear pain in a couple of minutes, and is generally useful in ENT [ear, nose, throat] problems.

The following two mudras are to be performed with caution.

Vayu Mudra: Bring the tip of index finger to the base of the thumb and let it slightly press the thumb-base; let the other three fingers be straight and joined together. Good for removing gas trapped in the food canal and in relieving most types of body-aches; found to be helpful in Parkinson’s disease. [It is advised that this mudra should be stopped when the desired result is achieved.]
Linga mudra: Hold the palms of both the hands tightly in front of your body; while all the remaining fingers clasp each other tightly, straighten one hand’s thumb and encircle it with index finger and thumb of the other hand and let the two hold the straight thumb tightly. This mudra is useful for giving resistance to body against frequent cold and cough. People with a tendency to get cold and cough every now and then, especially those who are fat also, will find it very useful. However, it is advised that this mudra should not be performed forcibly or for a long time [limit it to 2-5 minutes depending upon your capacity to do it comfortably]. One must take enough water during the days when one is practicing this mudra.