The Use Of Mudras In Meditation
The Benefits Of Mudras In Mental And Physical Health
Mudras for healing have been in existence since ancient times. They are essential to the wellbeing of every Chakra in the body. Each mudra should be practiced with a slow and steady breath, taking long inhales and exhales through the nose. Once you find your rhythm with your breath bring your attention to the point where your fingers touch in the mudra. Allow your awareness to rest on that point and breathe for the length of time that you are working with. Read on to discover how they can help you on your path to mental and physical freedom from disease.
Scientists have proven that there are different types of pranic energy from our body emitted through our fingertips in the form of magnetic energy. Therefore, through the use of Mudras, we can harness them to cure many diseases and also prevent this Electromagnetic energy from leaving our bodies.
Here are 10 commonly used mudras that have been on the first list for centuries for their efficiency in providing health and empowerment. In general, I’ll divide it into two groups that are beneficial – Mental and Physical.
Before jumping in, let’s understand the ELEMENTAL STRUCTURE OF THE HAND
- Thumb: Space/Fire
- Index Finger: Air
- Middle Finger: Fire/Space
- Ring Finger: Water
- Pinky Finger: Earth
The way we position our body and our hand positions during meditation has a deep effect on our mental and spiritual state. You don’t have to stick to the same mudra in every sitting.
Match mudras to your changing needs to create meditation sessions that work for you. Having said that, note that it usually takes some time practising with a particular mudra to appreciate its subtle effect on your energies. Be patient, take your time.
Mental Health Benefit
This is one of the most common mudras many meditators use in their meditation practice. It helps to stimulate the brain, increasing mental focus and clarity, thus, the brain becomes more receptive to learning, memory and intellect, due to its stimulation. Regular practise of this ancient method definitely helps to increase the power of the mind. This is a great mudra to use when seeing to gain knowledge. Try holding this mudra while meditating for insight into your life or specific issue.
Method: Just like forming an “OK” sign, by touching your index fingertip to the tip of your thumb while holding the other three fingers straight. When you are seated in a cross-legged position, rest the backs of your hands on your thighs.
Element: Space + Air
The essence of this Mudra is all about Mental Clarity and getting in touch with the underlying energy of your energy system which is grounded, cleansed, and transformed. This gesture will get you in sync with your subconscious, helping you to understand intuitive messages (e.g. Dreams) and make mental contact with the god or deities. One of the most powerful benefits of this mudra can be found in the improvement of communication, such as improving internal and external dialogue as well…
Method: This mudra is performed by touching your thumb to your pinky finger while holding your other three fingers straight. In each Mudra, exert enough pressure to feel the flow of energy but not enough to whiten fingertips.
Elements: Space + Earth
Shuni (or Shoonya)
One of the most ancient and popular mudras, the Shuni or Shoonya is also known as ‘The seal of patience and discipline’ it helps us generate a feeling of stability. This mudra is a combination of poses that balance the energy in your body, allowing your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing to rise dramatically. It is used to improve intuition, alertness, and sensory powers. Its sensory powers also purify your emotions and thoughts. Use this mudra when you feel the need for additional strength, courage and prudence to follow through with difficult tasks.
Method: Forming an “O” by touching the tip of the middle finger to the thumb tip while keeping the other three fingers straight and relaxed. you may sit or lie down, but make sure you straighten your back, neck, head and back are aligned.
Elements: Space + Fire
Prana Mudra is the foremost hand posture that helps in channelling life force energy in the body. Prana is believed to be the first life force energy that is produced in the universe. The Prana is believed to be transferred through the respiratory process. In a very deep way, the Prana energy flows through the entire nervous system, including the brain, the heart, the spleen, the gallbladder and the skin. When there is a proper flow of Prana energy, it helps to purify and cleanse the system from all negative forces and influences.
This mudra is very effective when you’re feeling low of energy or excessive yawning decreasing your productivity during working hours. It is said to be one of the most important mudras due to its ability to activate dormant energy in your body and is the vital life force within all living things. This mudra will help awaken and enliven your Personal Prana and put you more in tune with the prana around you.
Method: This mudra looks like a victory sign. Touching your ring and pinky fingers to the tip of your thumb while keeping the other two fingers straight and together.
Elements: Space+ Water.
The Dhyana mudra is used across several eastern meditation disciplines. Based on Buddhism, the triangle formed when performing this mudra represents the three jewels of Buddhism: Buddha (the enlightenment one), dharma ( law and order) and Sangha (community). The three main important pillars in his teaching. Besides, the right hand signifies knowledge, wisdom, and awareness and the left hand represents the fantasy of existence in this world. When the right hand is placed over the left hand in Dhyana Mudra, it represents the dominance of knowledge and awareness over the illusions created by the world.
It also indicates the balance of dualities (solar and lunar energy, hot and cold, masculine and feminine energies) in the body. The whole gesture signifies the balance of all the elements and souls. This gesture is often pictured in the Buddha. The significance of this mudra is to bring you into deeper, more profound concentration, tranquillity and inner peace.
Method: To do the Dhyana mudra, simply sit with your hands facing upward, your right hand resting on top of your left palm. The right hand signifies enlightenment and higher spiritual faculties and the left hand, representing the world of Maya, or illusion. The reason why is right over left as it represents the dominance of knowledge and awareness over the illusions created by the world.
Physical Health Benefit
In Sanskrit, Surya is derived from the words “sun” and “mudra.” Surya is the seventh chakra located in our solar Plexus-mouth area and located above the base of the skull. When the energy accumulated in this chakra reaches a saturation point, a person’s life experience will change radically. According to the ancient texts, Surya mudra grants supreme pleasure and bliss, purifying the mind, body, and emotions.
Surya mudra is a balanced posture in meditation. This type of posture originated in Northern India and Tibet around 500 years ago. The ultimate goal of this position is to make the body and the mind harmonious and balanced. Surya mudra is basically a balancing and internalized pose that is meant to improve the power of concentration.
Why is Surya mudra needed? Like other mudras such as prostration, this posture uplifts and eases the body, making it more flexible and less rigid. This posture improves the energy circulatory system, improve metabolism and digestion. It increases the metabolic rate and decreases sugar cravings. This mudra grants supreme pleasure and bliss, purifying the mind, body, and emotions. With proper practice, you will find yourself becoming increasingly aware of yourself, and the world around you.
Method: Perform this mudra by bending your ring finger to the base of your thumb so that your thumb touches the ring finger’s knuckle. Stretch your other three fingers straight without stressing the hand.
Elements: Space+ Water
The Apana mudra is good for mental or physical detoxifying and eliminating the subtle energy systems from the body and consciousness. It is also a form of aiding in mental and emotional digestion when applied to “evil” outside of the body. The Apana Mudra incorporates the five elements within the aura to create a vibrational field that cleanses the aura.
Method: To do this posture, join your second and third fingers to your thumb. Some say that you should rest the two fingers just slightly behind the tip of the thumb, but in many depictions, this mudra is demonstrated by bringing the middle and ring finger to the tip of the thumb. It all depending on the discipline you are learning from.
Elements: Space+ Fire+ Water
This Mudra is named after the Hindu elephant God Ganesh, which is believed as the remover or destroyer of obstacles. This mudra is great for enhancing self-esteem and self-confidence, whilst cultivating a sense of inner power. It can also help you regain positivity and courage, develop strength and resilience when dealing with hard times.
When performing this mudra, focus your attention and feel the energy at the centre of your heart, opening up your lungs and heart to the subject of your meditation. You may experience a strong feeling of expansion and warmth in the heart area which is beneficial for people who is suffering from the blockage of the heart, depression or feelings of heaviness and sadness.
Method: Hold your left hand before the chest with the palm facing outward and bend the fingers. Next, place your right hand in front of your left with your right palm facing toward you and your left palm. See that both the hands are clasped. Bent fingers are hooked & locked, holding them in a half-bent position like a claw.
During your meditation, inhale deeply and pull your hands apart without releasing the grip, feel the stretch and tension along your shoulders and chest. Exhale upon the release of the tension. Repeat this motion up to six times, then reverse the gesture. (Now the right hand facing outward)
Vayu mudra is a unique technique but, its effectiveness has only just come into the limelight in the last few decades.
Vayu mudra is good for diseases related to air imbalances, it is a safe and efficient technique that is used to treat many medical conditions. It is particularly effective for treating Vata imbalances like nervousness, stress, nausea, burping and gas. It also helps in treating muscle and joint pain & numbness very well. The mudra not only increases the flexibility of your joints and muscles but also revitalizes your blood vessels by bringing your air element back into its proper flow.
Method: This mudra may seem very similar to the Gyan mudra, but instead of touching the fingertips, Vayu Mudra is done by touching your index finger at the base of the thumb and slightly pressing it with the thumb finger at a comfort level. Without disturbing the gesture, place your hands on both of your thighs when you meditate.
Elements: Space + Air
The word Rudra means ”lord” in Sanskrit and is related to the Hindu god Shiva. It is believed that this mudra activates the solar plexus which improve the clarity and concentration of thought associated with personal transformation power.
Many use this to combat dizziness, exhaustion, and chronic tension in their body. You can use the Rudra mudra to empower you to reach your highest potential or goals like energizing your physical body, heightened sensory awareness, mental stability, and spiritual growth
Method: To do this mudra, connect your thumb to your index and ring fingers while keeping your other two fingers extended as straight as you can. Without disturbing the gesture, place your hands on both of your thighs as you are sitting in Padmasana (lotus position) or Vajrayana (thunderbolt pose). You can even do it standing if you have difficulties performing those poses. Now, focus on your breathing.
Elements: Space + Air + Water
The beauty of these mudras is that you can use them any time anywhere, not necessarily in a formal meditation session. Incorporate it into your life need not be complicated or hard. Feel free to do it while you are walking, lying down or even on a hike in nature, allow yourself to be open to receiving the messages they share with you!
Lastly, mudra is not everything, the experience sensation varies from person to person. Some may feel a tingling sensation at the fingertips while others might feel a pulse-like beating or warm-up of their hands. There are many who don’t feel a thing at all. Regardless of what the reactions may be, don’t focus all your attention on hand gestures alone, after all, it is only a part of meditation and not the reason why you are meditating.