Have you ever crossed your fingers for luck or clasped your hands together in prayer? Guessing your answer is yes, at least in some context. Well, here is a fun fact: Whenever you do one of these hand or finger gestures, you are creating something called a mudra—an ancient, spiritual gesture that helps one reach a higher state of consciousness.
Let us explain. Originating from Hindu and Buddhist traditions, mudras are thought to create a pathway for our life force energy (prana) to flow, and to help to clear any blockages within the energy centers of our bodies (our chakras). (It will likely come as no surprise that mudras are commonly adopted by yoga practitioners.)
Mudras are beneficial physically as well as spiritually: The gestures themselves (like, say, pressing your fingertips of each hand together) stimulate the reflexes in your hand, which, in turn, send certain signals to the brain.
While sitting down in meditation is fairly conducive to adopting mudras, the reality is that they can be practiced at any time, ideally using both hands (but one can work just as well). With regular practice and a focus on healing, mudras can create minute positive changes in the body, trigger healing processes and contribute to overall good health. Here, three mudras you can experiment with starting… now.
Gyan Mudra The Mudra of Knowledge
The most well-known of all the mudras, the gyan mudra is most commonly used in meditation. Just touch the tip of your index finger with the tip of your thumb on both hands; all other fingers can remain bent or straight. This is a great mudra for doing first thing in the morning when your mind is fresh and alert, but it can be practiced safely at any time. The benefits include increasing concentration and memory.
Prithvi Mudra The Mudra of Earth
If you are feeling stressed or tired, this is your go-to mudra (and best practiced in the morning). Touch the tip of your ring finger with the tip of your thumb and press; keep all of the other fingers straight out. Ideally you should be in the sitting pose (padmasana) with both hands resting on your knees with palms facing down and elbows straight. This mudra is thought to improve blood circulation, meaning one of its benefits is glowing skin and improved complexion. It also increases concentration, patience, and tolerance, making it a good mudra for meditation.
Prana Mudra Mudra of Life
This is probably the most important of all the mudras, as it activates the energy in the body. This mudra should be practiced while in the sitting pose (padmasana). You bend your little finger and your ring finger up to meet the tip of your thumb; the other fingers can remain extended out. There are no contraindications to this mudra, so it can be performed at any time during the day. It is also great for improving the immune system, and reduces tiredness and fatigue.
So, next time somebody cuts you up at a junction and you feel like sending over some finger signals, just hang on and think about how you can better use that hand gesture!
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