Don’t you love it when someone takes your hand and holds it lovingly? It could be your partner, a child, a friend or that handshake when you meet someone new. The sense of touch is essential to our development. Studies have shown that children learn better when they are hugged and touched by their parents because touching releases oxytocin, the feel good hormone. In Yoga there is a practice called Mudra which involves the hands. Mudras are hand gestures that act like switches and turn on the part of the brain responsible for movement and emotion. By bringing fingers together, interlacing them or holding them in certain positions the mind and emotions relax. Instead of holding someone else’s hand, you hold your own.
In Yoga each side of the body has a different quality. The right side is the sun energy and is active, masculine, heating and relates to our rational and logical side of the brain. Whereas the left side of the body is the moon energy and is reflective, passive, feminine, cooling and relates to the creative and receptive side of the brain. When we bring the hands into different gestures we balance the magnetic forces of the sun and moon in our own bodies.
Bringing the fingers together in a Mudra also has significance as the fingers relate to the 5 elements. There are some beautiful books available on the subject if you’d like to explore further.
Today the focus for our practice is to balance the emotions and nervous system through three simple hand gestures that you can do every day either after a breathing, meditation or asana practice or whenever you need to relax and come back to yourself.
Start with Anjali Mudra bring both hands together and feel the pressure between the left and right palms. Imagine the forces of the Sun and the Moon coming together, balancing your entire system. Gently close your eyes and breath normally. Hold between 2 and 5 minutes and let the thoughts come and go without judgement.
Bring the heels of the hands together and extend your fingers like a flower. This is Lotus Mudra. Imagine you are holding your favourite flower in your hands and smell its fragrant perfume. Imagine that all your emotions favourable and challenging are resting in the palm of your hands. Feel all the emotions coming and going in your presence. Gently close your eyes and hold the gesture between 2 and 5 minutes. Breathe normally.
Our last mudra is the Inner Mudra. Cross your hands at the wrists and bring all the fingers to touch resting the tips of the fingers at the sternum so that your cupped hands surround your heart. Feel the space between the hands and imagine your heart like a precious jewel shining in the centre. Feel how there is nothing you have to do to be yourself. Like the wave is naturally part of the ocean you are not separate from your thoughts or feelings. Without you, a thought or feeling means nothing. You are the meaning in every thought and feeling. Gently close your eyes and hold the gesture for 2-5 minutes and enjoy yourself, the stillness peace and beauty itself.
Open your eyes come out of the Mudra and have the best day…. with great respect Rachel