Mudras, Sanskrit for 'seal', are symbolic gestures made with the hands and fingers used in many Indian religions. A visual language, this form of wordless communication helps to realign and direct the energy in the body, mind, and spirt for connections and healing. Often used in yoga as well as meditation, you may use mudras on their own or along with pranayama, or breathing techniques, to cultivate a correct flow of prana in the body. Here are 6 mudras you can use every day to relax, reflect, restore and renew, check out the Goddess Shopping and Resource guide for more information.
Anjali Mudra-The Mudra of Intention & Reverence You most often hear yoga instructors speak of this mudra throughout class, hands placed in a prayer position in front of the chest, followed by the word 'Namaste.' Allow the palms and fingers to touch, rest the base of your thumbs on your sternum and hold in front of your heart. This symbolic gesture seals our intention, invokes devotion, and connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Anjali mudra is a beautiful way to cultivate reverence; as symbol of honor to those around you and as well as respect for yourself. During yoga or meditation, use this mudra while tuning into your breath and set a positive intention. Settle into your calm center and connect all aspects of yourself-body, mind and spirit. I often raise my hands and rest the base of my thumbs on my Anja Chakra, or Third Eye for added guidance and intuition.
Shankhavarta Mudra-The Mudra of Inner Stillness & Intuition Begin with palms in Anjali mudra and hold slightly away from the chest. Keep finder tips connected then press palms away from one another and drop the right first finger towards the center. Invoke inner stillness, holding this mudra in front of the heart. As you allow the outside influences of the world to melt away, open up the heart and the mind to simply be present and listen. Connect with your own inner teachings on what's true in your heart and soul.
Garuda Mudra-The Mudra of Fierceness and Protection Hold hands in front of you, palms facing the chest. Cross left hand over the right (left hand furthest away from you) and interlock the thumbs. Stretch the remaining fingers out like the wing span of a bird-Garuda is a fierce, eagle-type creature. Relax the shoulders and allow the elbows to sink down by the rib cage. Hands can reach down to settle in front of the space above the navel. This area is know as the Manipura Chakra, a place of personal power. Use this mudra when depleted of energy to spark the fire in the belly and surround yourself with protection. Hold, breathe, and stoke the fire of your inner awesomeness to take on anything.
Panchamukha Mudra-The Mudra of Memory & Healing Begin in Anjali Mudra, then press palms away keeping the fingertips connected and hollowing out the palms of the hands. This mudra is said to enhance our memory retention and improve our concentration. Close your eyes and begin to sharpen your awareness, noticing subtle movements in the body. Concentrate on your breath, how the body responds as you breathe, and tap into the body's natural healing abilities. Use this mudra before a big test, presentation or to simply keep the mind sharp and offer healing.
Sahasrara Mudra-The Crown Chakra Mudra Sahasrara is Sanskrit for 'Thousand-Petaled Lotus', our highest self Chakra or energy center located above the crown of the head. Hold your hands with palms facing away from you, join the first fingers and the thumbs to form a diamond shape. Either standing or sitting, hold this mudra above the head and imagine a divine, white light above your head. Our crown chakra is our oneness, our connection to the divine. Connect to your highest spiritual self and draw a sense of calmness into your spirit. This mudra is also said to reduce headaches and improve brain function.
Samputa Mudra-Connect to your True Nature Mudra Samputa means 'bud' or 'vessel' in Sanskrit. Join the hands in front of the chest with thumbs resting side by side. Keeping tips of fingers connected hollow out a small space in between the hands; like you're holding a baby bird or mouse, gently tuck thumbs in the hollowed space. Gently lengthen through the back of the neck and drawn chin down towards the chest. Use this mudra to help balance all 5 elements, reduce mental and emotional suffering and connect with your true Original Nature.
Padma Mudra-The Grounding Mudra Start in Anjali mudra, keep the thumbs and tips of pinkys connected the spread the hands and other fingers apart-keep the base of the hands connected. Padma means 'lotus flower' and it resembles a blooming flower. The lotus signifies grounding, and this mudra helps to weaken ego grasping and settles the mind. Use to balance the immune system and ignite spiritual devotion.
Use these along with your rituals and meditations to help connect, offer strength and healing. Remember every day that you have the power take charge and renew, giving your soul a peaceful place to dwell. Namaste.