Mudras help stimulate body and brain pathways
Special to The Union
The practice of yoga mudras can offer some help, particularly in times when we are keenly aware of cognitive disease such as Alzheimer’s.
Hasta mudras are believed to facilitate healing and meditation and to affect the flow of energy in the body.
The word mudra means “seal” or “gesture” while hasta means “hand.” The term refers to the spiritual gestures and energetic seals used to stimulate different parts of the body and normally used in conjunction with pranayama — a practice of controlling the breath.
By bringing our hands and fingers into different positions, we can influence our health, increase our sense of peace and contentment, reduce fear, and enhance our energy.
Each finger corresponds to an element; thumb-fire, index finger-air, middle finger-akasha or ether, ring finger-earth, and the little finger-water. Additionally, the thumb represents universal consciousness and the index finger individual consciousness so that when we bring the fingers into “Om” mudra, we are connecting individual and universal consciousness as well as uniting the elements of fire and air, and potentially relieving stress and migraines, releasing anger, sharpening memory and concentration, and increasing knowledge.
(To form “Om” mudra, bring your index finger and thumb together to lightly touch while the remaining three fingers are extended.)
Other benefits of mudras are to increase and maintain flexibility in the hands and fingers and to bring balance to the elements (represented by your fingers) and therefore to the body for greater health.
Try it: Sitting comfortably with your spine lengthened and shoulders relaxed, bring your hands into “Om” mudra while resting on your knees.
Deepen and slow your inhalations and exhalations. Visualize your breath entering and leaving your body. As things come up to distract you — thoughts, sounds, smells, sensations in your body, observe them, and bring your attention back to the breath. See if you can count five breaths with your mind visualizing the breath. Do this at least once a day — twice if you can — and see if you don’t feel more peaceful, less stressed, and maybe a bit more content.
In TriYoga, mudras are one of the three parts that make up the trinity of the hatha yoga practice — asana, mudra and pranayama.
To learn more, join Deanna on Tuesday mornings, 8:30-9:45 a.m. for a gentle TriYoga class at Full Life Yoga Studio in Nevada City. For more information, visit http://www.fulllifeyogastudio.com.
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