Ever looked at the hand off Buddha on a statue? The chance is pretty big that he has two fingers connecting. That hand position is called a mudra. According to the yogis yoga mudras restore health: physically and mentally.
In Sanskrit mudra means closure, gesture, attitude or seal. So yoga mudras are psychic, emotional, devotional and aesthetic gestures, seals or attitudes. By connecting two fingers you can influence the energy flow within the body, according to the yogis; linking individual pranic force with universal or cosmic force, but also making a ‘short-cut’. These short-cuts play a role in restoring health. Our physical body is made up of five elements: air, water, fire, earth and ether (the spaces between cells). Every fingers represents an element:
- Thumb – fire
- Index finger – air
- Middle finger – ether
- Ring finger – earth
- Little finger – water
When one of your fingers is connected with your thumb the element of that finger will be brought back into balance, because the fingers are essentially electrical circuits. By connecting them you create an electromagnetic current within the body which balances the elements and restore health.
Our fingers form the end of ten of our nadis (energy lines in our body; also called meridians in acupuncture). Normally prana (energy) will leave to body through the tops off our fingers. By linking two fingers we send the energy back in the body and by doing so we can influence the elements.
The yogis believe that the mudras also can change spiritual and mental aspects of a person; mood, attitude and perception.
Mudras are not only performed by connecting two or more fingers, but can involve the whole body in a combination of asana, pranayama, bandha and visualization techniques. The yogis see them as higher practices which lead to awakening of the pranas, charkas and kundalini energy.
There are five groups off yoga mudras
- Hasta – hand mudras
Most hand mudras are meditative mudras. They create a circuit between the brain to the hand and back to the brain, which leads to internalization.
- Mana – head mudras
Most head mudras are meditation techniques on their own, using the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and lips. They are used frequently in kundalini yoga.
- Kaya (postural mudras)
Postural mudras are done by a combination of yoga poses together with breathing and concentration exercises.
- Bandha (lock mudras)
Lock mudras are almost always a combination of a mudra and a bandha. They charge the body with energy and prepare the yogi for the awakening of kundalini energy.
- Adhara (perineal mudras)
Perineal mudras send prana up from the lower centers of the body to the brain. They are often used during tantric exercises to send the sexual energy up and can help to have full body orgasms.