I became interested in mudras about a year or two ago, when I started my yoga practice.
If you’re wondering…
Mudras are physical hand (and finger or body) gestures or seals, used in meditation, martial arts, and in yoga, that connect us to the energy pathways of our chakras, our organs, and to our emotional states.
And while all that may sound like a bit of “woo woo”, mudras have been used at least since antiquity (1500 BCE) and conceivably even in prehistoric religious practice (70,000 BCE), so we can rest easily that their usefulness has been tested.
Wikipedia has this to say about mudras:
A mudra (i/muˈdrɑː/; Sanskritमुद्रा, “seal”, “mark”, or “gesture”; Tibetan: ཕྱག་རྒྱ་THLchakgya) is a symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. While some mudras involve the entire body, most are performed with the hands and fingers. A mudrā is a spiritual gesture and an energetic seal of authenticity employed in the iconography and spiritual practice of Indian religions.
In yoga, mudras are used in conjunction with pranayama (yogic breathing exercises), generally while seated in Padmasana, Sukhasana or Vajrasana pose, to stimulate different parts of the body involved with breathing and to affect the flow of prana in the body.
Even if you’ve never done yoga, you are probably familiar with the chin mudra…which has become a kind of symbol for “I’m meditating”…but is actually a seal reminding the practitioner of the union of the individual soul with the universal soul.
What really began to fascinate me were the more complex mudras, particularly the ones that involve two hands…there was power, strength, and flexibility in their complexity…I, quite literally, could FEEL IT!
Most you hold for a length of time…anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes, or more…while in meditation or a yoga pose. And while nearly all are indicated for specific physical impairments, the strongest impact I feel is on my emotional state. Mudras have helped me both define and understand certain emotional states that cause discomfort…anxiety…depression. Perhaps it is actually about focus, intense inward focus…and if that’s the case…that’s cool too…all I know is that…MUDRAS WORK…ON CLEARING AND STABILIZING YOUR HEART-MIND SPACE.
And so, with that introduction…I present my first mudra to you here…fellow NymphoBrainiacs. Appropriately, it is the FEARLESS HEART mudra:
The Fearless Heart mudra, or Abhaya Hrdaya Mudra in sanskrit, is meant to engender trust in your own strength and vitality…trust in your Fearless Heart. It should be used anytime you need to tap into your inner truth…your courage, your essence and power. In times when you feel that fear has caused you to curl-in on yourself, to give up your dreams, doubt your own desires and goals…to…shut down…call on your Fearless Heart and its infinite wisdom.
A word, this mudra requires some dexterity, and may take a couple attempts before you get it right…but don’t give up…it’s worth the contortions, trust me!
Here’s the step-by-step breakdown:
- Raise hands in front of the chest, palms facing center.
- Cross the wrists at the backs of the hands touching, right hand closest to your body, palms facing to the sides.
- First interlock the index, middle, and little fingers, while connecting the tips of the thumb and ring finger on both hands, forming two rings.
- Note: Cupcake Pastease are optional, however extremely inspirational when channeling that humor (ego-less) chakra 😉
Find a comfortable seated position, close your eyes, roll your shoulders down and back, root your seat into the floor, and pull your interlocked hands down gently to rest at the base of your sternum (or your heart). Alternately, this mudra can be done laying down, with your head carefully elevated. Take long, deep breaths. If it helps, visualize energetic light flowing in and out through the crown of your head to the base of your spine…light in…light out.
And…indulge in the power of your Fearless Heart.