Mudras: The Power of Gesture
Some of my favorite NYC moments occur on the street and are non-verbal exchanges. Have you ever been loaded down with groceries when it’s freezing out and you are jay walking to get to your apartment as fast as your boots can carry you, when a kind driver, nice and cozy in his SUV, waves you across the street? In those moments, I always fall in love for a millisecond that kind soul. I smile or flash him the peace symbol as a gesture of my gratitude and hope he knows I’m screaming a hearty thank you on the inside.
Conversely, has someone ever flipped you the bird (Is that a Wisconsin expression? It means the middle finger!) and have you felt rage bubble up into your chest, start to tear at your insides and suddenly you turn into a close relative of the mythical fire-breathing dragon? All they did was raise one of their fingers at you.
The simplest gestures carry so much meaning and our hands are one of the most expressive parts of our bodies.
In my yoga classes each month, I pick an overarching theme to focus on and March was Mudra Month. Mudras, as you may have guessed, are symbolic hand gestures. Throughout the month, we have explored a handful (bahaha!) of mudras and the students seemed to really resonate with these gestures.
Why? I’m sure it varies for each student, but universally hand gestures are simple tools we can all do throughout our day to ease tension, release blockages, reinvigorate, focus, or use as a way into meditation.
I’ve included two of my favorites that we focused on this month below with images and directions. Feel free to use these throughout your day, in your practice, or as part of your meditations.
Please leave a reply if you and have a question or comment and please share with a friend if you think this may help them.
We are focusing on inversions in April, so get ready to see your world (and your feet) from a whole new perspective!
Hakini Mudra – Use to focus or aid in concentration.
… Because in our ADHD over-stimulated society, we can all use a little help honing in throughout the day J I recommend this for: anyone who has difficulty single-tasking/getting into the flow state (where time and space disappear because you are so engaged in your work or task) or people who look at a lot of spreadsheets and need to clear their brain, mind, and eyeballs.
- Place all your fingertips together and separate the palms
- Balances the right and left hemispheres of your brain
I like to ….
- Imagine a ball of glowing energy between my hands
- Press my fingertips together firmly for a minute and then slowly separate the fingertips. It feels like there is magnetism in between your fingertips.
This one is a little more complicated, but very a propos for this time of year! Chakra means “wheel” and your thumbs and index fingers are making two wheels and the middle finger connects your two hands, aka these two wheels or worlds. Symbolically, you could think of the middle finger as the passageway from life to death. To be a bit more light-hearted and to apply this gesture to our time spent in this life, the middle finger can represent a bridge or transition, like the transition from Winter to Spring, day to day, week to week, year to year, from one city to a new one, from an old relationship to rediscovering yourself and your power in your brand new relationship with your awesome self or a new wonderful partner. Life is full of cycles in nature as well as within our daily lives. This mudra draws our attention to these rhythms around us and within us.
- Bring both hands into jnana mudra (thumb and index fingers little connect at the finger tips)
- Turn your left palm toward your heart
- Connect the middle finger of your left hand to the point where your thumb and index finger meet on your right hand