Today, we are very excited to introduce B Wisdom, a new Bala series in which we explore wisdom for the modern yogi that enriches mind, body, and spirit.
This month, we are covering Mudras. Meaning “to seal” in Sanskrit, Mudras are also known as yogic hand expressions with the power to shift our internal energies. Each area of the hand is connected with a part of the body and brain, and each finger is connected to one of the five elements. The idea is that when we place our hands in a Mudra, we stimulate desired areas of the body and evoke certain elements to create an energy circuit. We can use these circuits in our asana practice, as well as meditation, to facilitate a deeper connection between the spiritual and physical, and to evoke desired qualities.
Got your attention? Mudras are a very powerful addition to any practice. Here are five of our favorite Mudras to start with. We suggest picking a Mudra that calls to you, and working with it for at least 30 days to get a good sense of its energetics and benefits.
How: Bring your ring and middle finger to meet your thumb, keep your pointer and pinky fingers extended long.
Why: Apan Mudra is used for energy and detoxification. It is said to help with the removal of waste and toxins, and has a balancing effect on the mind that brings about qualities of patience, harmony, and peace. Some believe that practicing this Mudra is very empowering for new beginnings.
How: Begin with your hands in prayer in front of your heart. Keep the tips of the little fingers and thumbs together, as well as the base of the palms. Extend the rest of your fingers wide apart to form the shape of a lotus opening its petals.
Why: The Lotus Mudra opens the heart chakra and is a symbol of purity. It symbolizes the lotus flower rooted in the muck, rising above, reaching to the surface, and budding into the representation of true beauty and light. It is also said to calm the body and mind, to aid in digestion, and to dispel depression.
Shiva Linga Mudra
How: Bring your left hand flat and your right hand into a fist with the thumb facing up towards the sky. Set your right hand in the palm of your left hand.
Why: The Shiva Linga Mudra symbolizes the union of Shiva and Shakti, the masculine and the feminine. It brings balance into our life through dissolution and transformation. Out of what is no longer serving, we make room for something new. This Mudra is often used to dispel fatigue, listlessness and depression. Practice it when you are feeling drained, depleted, or in great need of healing.
How: This Mudra can be intimidating, but don’t worry, it gets easier with time as your fingers get used to it! Bring your hands side-by-side, palms facing up and outer edges of the pinkies touching. Bend your pinky and middle fingers down into your palms. Hook the opposite ring fingers behind the bent middle fingers, and wrap your pointer fingers around the tips to hold the ring fingers in place. Finally, straighten your middle fingers and pinkies, and bring the tips of your thumbs to meet your pinkies. Here is a video that will help guide you if you get confused.
Why: This Mudra is designed to evoke the Goddess. Its shape represents the female reproductive organs, a place of deep intuition where we hold and process emotions and from which creativity is born. This symbol signifies a great source within us. What do we want to give birth to? Use this Mudra to evoke qualities of creativity, nurturing, and flow, or to address the female reproductive organs regarding menstrual imbalances, menopausal symptoms, and infertility. Please note, men can use this Mudra too! We are all a composite of the divine masculine and feminine, no matter our gender.
Let us know which Mudra you choose to work with, and what it brings to your practice!