What are yoga mudras and how can they add to your yoga experience? Here is a bit more information about these unique & powerful yogic techniques…
Once you’ve been practicing yoga poses or asanas for a while, you may wish to take your yoga practice to the next level. Yoga mudras are one way that many yoga practitioners learn to go beyond the basic physical aspects of yoga, and begin to experience some of the deeper benefits that yoga has to offer.
If you have done any kundalini yoga practices, you may have been introduced to some basic mudras already – even if you didn’t realize it.
But what is a mudra anyway, and how can it enhance your yoga practice?
According to YogaBasics.com,
Mudras are subtle physical movements of the hands, face, and or body. Complex mudras involve the whole body in a combination of asana, pranayama, bandha and visualization, while simple mudras range from hand positions to meditation techniques. The purpose of a mudra is to activate and create a circuit of prana in the body. This circuit channels the prana in a specific way to create a subtle effect on koshas and to regulate and awaken the prana, chakras and kundalini. Mudras are used only after proficiency in asana, pranayama and bandha has been achieved, and when one has obtained some cultivation and awareness of prana. In hatha yoga, the level of progression is asana, pranayama, bandha, mudra, samadhi. Thus, mudra is the advanced practice leading up to the attainment of enlightenment or samadhi.
The most commonly practiced yoga mudras in the West are typically the hand mudras, or hasta mudras, of which there are many different methods. These are typically used during meditation, but may also be used during asanas or pranayama, as well as daily activities. Hasta mudras are designed to redirect the prana from the fingers back into the body, and some are believed to help heal mental and emotional issues as well as physical diseases.
It may sound a little “woo-woo,” but in fact, as explained in this article from Yogi Times,
Modern science has confirmed that there are concentrations of free electrons surrounding the tips of every finger. When tension is applied to the fingers and parts of the palms, the energy is directed through the body along specified nerve conduit channels (nadis), radiates from central nerve locations (chakras), and flows back up to the brain. This balancing and re-direction of the internal energy effects change to occur in the veins, tendons, glands and sensory organs, allowing the body to be returned to a state of wellness…
There are countless mudras, some dating back thousands of years among many different religions, peoples, and continents, and others being of more recent origin.
Besides the hasta or hand mudras, there are also mana (head) mudras, which utilize the sense organs of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and lips, contraction mudras, which involve the engagement of subtle skeletal muscles, mostly in the area of the pelvis, and kaya (postural) mudras, which are similar to asana, but combine the other types of simple mudras with pranayama and concentration. Most of these techniques are fairly complex and require intense concentration, so they are typically done during meditation and involve deep inward focus in order to intentionally direct prana, awaken kundalini energy, and induce higher states of consciousness.
As many mudras as there are, there are even more benefits to be found from practicing these techniques.
Just a few of the benefits you may experience include clarity, contentment, self-confidence, happiness, physical, mental and spiritual balance, and accomplishment in perfection of skills and capabilities. Some even believe mudras may help one to develop supernatural abilities such as clairvoyance, levitation, and psychic intuition!
If you are seeking a deeper experience in your yoga practice, exploring the use of yoga mudras can be an enriching and rewarding experience. According to YogiTimes.com,
Mudras connect ourselves to a higher understanding, a knowing of our own being, and an experience of One~ness that can be realized as God. This is a focus in life, to awaken the spirituality that lies within and allow our radiance to shine outward in perfect harmony. It is unity with the divine we seek to attain, a sealing of energy emanating in wholeness. Mudras are an art and science perfected through wisdom, they imbue tranquility, balance, and serenity for You and all the Universe.
Sound good? 🙂
When you feel ready to move beyond simply physical yoga poses, try a Kundalini or Ashtanga yoga class to learn some yoga mudras and experience their benefits for yourself. You can learn about some of the more common hasta (hand) mudras here: https://chopra.com/articles/10-powerful-mudras-and-how-to-use-them.