November 19, 2010 on 11:00 am
Dear Spiritual Explorer: Could you talk about mudras and their significance? Holly P., Merritt Island, FL
Mudras: Gestures of Power
Dear Holly: A mudra is a symbolic gesture in both Hinduism and Buddhism. While some mudras involve the whole body, many are performed with the hands and fingers. One hundred eight mudras are used in regular Tantric rituals. While these might be considered esoteric gestures, Sabrina Mesko in Mudras: Gestures of Power has shorn an esoteric practice and made mudras relevant and down to earth for you to use. Not only will you will learn the ancient art of ritual hand gestures, but this CD teaches you which mudras to use for spiritual growth, which mudras eliminate fatigue and recharge energy, and most importantly, how you can use mudras to calm your mind in just a few minutes a day.
In yoga, mudras are used with pranayama, generally while seated in the Vajrasana pose. The Vajrasana pose is basically the most simple of all poses. Vajrasana means “”Thunderbolt Pose” and gives the body an upright and straight posture without any extra effort. It is basically the simplest of poses and most commonly used by yoga practitioners. The purpose of mudras is to stimulate different parts of the body involved with breathing, thus affecting the flow of prana in the body.
In yoga, mudras are said to be one-handed or two-handed and the various meanings are therefore attributed to the positioning of either one. Thumb and forefinger of both hands join as a zero. The rest of the fingers are extended, with the middle finger touching the non-folded part of the forefinger. The hands are placed palms-down on the thighs while sitting in Vajrasana. This mudra activates the diaphragm, making for deep “stomach-breathing”, as it pushes out the internal organs when it descends towards the pelvis on inhalation. Slow rhythmic breathing in a 5-2-4-2 rhythm (5 being the exhalation and 4 is the inhalation) makes prana flow in the pelvis and in the legs.
And for those who wish more scientific corroboration, check out the brain research paper published in the National Academy of Sciences in November 2009. This paper demonstrated that hand gestures or mudras stimulate the same regions of the brain as language.
Thanks for writing. Spiritual Explorer
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