Healing Power of your Hands –Mudras
Let me first give you all a brief description about the meaning of mudras
A Mudra is a Sanskrit word which means “Seal”, or “Gesture” means a symbolic or a ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. There are lot of Mudras involve the entire body, most are performed with the hands and fingers. A Mudra is a spiritual gesture and also an energetic seal of authenticity employed in the iconography and spiritual practice of Indian religions. There are one hundred and eight Mudras used in regular Tantric rituals. In Yoga, Mudras are used for Pranayama (Yogic Breathing Exercises), while seated in Padmasana, Sukhasana, or Vajrasana pose to energise different parts of the body involved with breathing and to affect the flow of Prana in the body.
Amazing isn’t it, let me now take you through the Iconography of Hindu and Buddhist art of the Indian subcontinent and described in the scriptures such as Natyashastra, which lists 24 asamyuta (separated meaning-one hand), Samyuta (meaning-Joined-two hands). Mudras positions are formed by both the hands and the fingers. Along with Asana (“Seated Postures), they are employed statically in the meditation and dynamically in the Natya practice of Hinduism. Both Hindu and Buddhist iconography share some Mudras. In some regions, for example in Laos and Thailand, these are distinct but share related iconography conventions.
According to Research studies, it shows that the origin of Mudras date to estoric Buddhism, particularly in Tendai, and Shingon sects. In Hinduism, Mudras, Mantras (Chanting or words of power) And Mandalas,(Inscriptions, Paintings or Scrolls that can create spiritual energy), so much a part of the young martial artist’s curriculum once upon a time, are now, at best, mere memory. But it depends upon the teacher, if the teacher is a purist; the influence of Mudras in his teaching will not be lost even today too.
From the little finger to the thumb, each finger represents earth, metal, fire, water, wood and water, respectively. The entire universe lies within your fingers, and it’s also believed that there are infinite numbers of Mudras even though we have only 10 fingers. Mudras can be used for Meditation/ and or Healing. Mudras have several meanings; it can be a mere gesture, a position, of the hands, a symbol, eye positions, body postures, even breathing techniques. In Yoga, especially in Hatha yoga with the focus on Physical exercises, cleansing and breathing, there are 25 Mudras. In Kundalini Yoga, which aims to optimise spiritual strength, the hand Mudras are used for greater effect.
What is the Primary aim of Yoga?
The primary aim of yoga is to be oneness with nature, oneness of humanity with cosmic consciousness. The thumb is symbolic of cosmic consciousness and the index finger of individual consciousness. The index finger represents inspiration and the thumb stands for intuition. When the tips of these two fingers meet with each other, the connection is complete—Intuition and Inspiration form a closed unity.
Origins of Mudras in an brief manner, as I write this Article I feel that we have so much of innate healing powers within us, why go and search outside for that, though Nature God has blessed us with such healing powers within us. The origins of Mudras is overmuch shrouded with mystery. They are found throughout the world and have been in use for aeons. Mudras are found in everyday life, in religion, dance, art, and even in Tantra. Mudras are extremely important in Hindu and Buddhist iconography. Their significance is both exoteric and esoteric. They are also useful aid to identification of Buddha’s, Bodhisattvas and deities.
Now let’s look into various incarnations and Mudras—Beliefs are subjective and they are also dependent on various factors too, they can range from topography and climate to sheer economics and food habits. Most of the Gods and goddess in the east have been created with great skill, creativity, and imagination. Mudras depict the feelings, emotions and aspirations that they do. What amazes me is that our deities are in various Mudras. Each Mudra depicts the embodiments of divinity which are much specialised. So, Mudras are not new, but very ancient one. Long before we touched water on Mars, our ancestors knew enormous powers of our fingers.
Buddhas—In Buddhism, we find that the various schools of Mahayana, (the greater Vehicle), Buddhism (includes chines, Tibetan, Japanese) most of them are recognised. Theravada (Hinayana ‘the lesser vehicle) the Buddhism of Sri Lanka, Thailand and Burma, where we find Buddhism recognizes Sakyamuni (and Perhaps Maitreya) and a few others, Buddhism in Nepal is a mix both Hindu and Buddha deities.
Different types of Buddha’s—the five Dhyani Buddha’s which are visualised during meditation, and considered to be great healers of the mind and the soul.
Akshobhya, Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi, Ratnasambhav, Vairochana, Bhaisajya Buddha.
Now let me tell you dear friends that your hands possess an innate healing power that have been used for ages—
Mudras we find that in the East for thousands of years and were practiced by many spiritual leaders including Buddha. Today we find that Mudras are still used in Yoga and Meditation. Sometime we may subconsciously place our hands into different types of Mudra positions without even knowing it and other times we can use them to help channel and stimulate healing. There are hundreds of Mudras, but let me give you some of the most common Mudras used…
Gyana Mudra- This perhaps the most commonly used one, and is also known as chin Mudra, brings the tips of the thumb and index finger together, and keep the other three fingers together, lightly stretched out. This means the unity of fire as well as the unity of universal and individual consciousness. It increases concentration and is also for knowledge and by doing this often we feel more grounded ourselves.
We need to bring the tip of the middle finger and thumb together, uniting the elements of fire and connection. By practicing this particular mudra, benefits are patience and discipline and helps in giving stability in our lives.
Surya Ravi Mudra
We need to bring the tip of ring finger and the thumb, bringing together the elements of fire and earth. This mudra represents energy and health, and this also gives us a feeling of balance in our lives, leading to positivity in our lives.
We touch the tips of the little finger and thumb together; we are enhancing our thought process and communication skills. This leads to more connect and openness and also strengthens our intuitive knowledge.
Under Prana Mudra, we become an active person from dormant one. We need to place the tips of your thumb, the ring finger, and little finger altogether. This particular Mudra symbolizes very important energies of Prana, which helps in the deriving flow of energy, feel energetic and strong too.
In this Mudra, we find it provides us with calmness for Meditation and also enhances more for contemplation. We need to place our hands on our lap, left palm under, palms facing up, and the tips of the thumbs touching.
Namaste, Namaskaar, Namaskaaram
We need to bring the palms together in front of the heart space, which symbolizes honour and respect towards ourselves and towards the entire universe. This brings out our Love and gratitude for everything.
We need to use our ring finger and touch our thumb with it, keeping other fingers straight. By doing this Mudra it increases our life functions of our body. It enhances our physical and spiritual elements. This can be done anytime.
Varuna Mudra (Mudra of water)
This Mudra helps us to retain water, helps to keep our emotion very stable and balanced helps during cramps, also helps in regulating Menstrual cycle for females. We need to use our smallest finger to touch the thumb and keep our other fingers straight.
Vayu Mudra (Mudra of Air)
By practising this particular Mudra, it reduces a lot of stress and anxiety in one’s life. We need to use our thumb and wrap it around the index finger, keeping rest of the fingers straight.
Apana Vayu Mudra (Mudra of Heart)
An Important Mudra, which helps in our circulatory system. It also has the capacity to heal your heart, especially the heart burns. It also can help in reducing gassy feeling inside our system. We need to touch our index finger and bend it to the base of the thumb; middle and the ring finger should bend to touch the tip of the thumb.
Another important Mudra which helps to reduce congestion, reduce phlegm, and also stimulates the heat of the body. Using both our hands and interlocking them, except for our thumb of the left hand which has to point up. We need to use our right thumb and wrap it around our left thumb so that it touches the index finger of our right hand.
Mudras are easy to do, their effects are multiplied when done properly and systematically. As I have given you few types of Mudras among various types of Mudras, there are no hard and fast rules, but guidelines help. Mudras can be done in any position. One can be seated, standing, lying down and even walking too. The body needs to be relaxed and loosened enough to stimulate the free flow of energy. Mudras are meant to loosen up, travel into consciousness and heal. Mudras can be practised at any time and in any place. We need to feel the Mudras, shouldn’t expect the miracles overnight, as they work inside you. They give you a holistic and a divine experience by balancing all chakras of our body. With the continuous practise of Mudras, along with visualisation and affirmation, we will find that we have embarked on a whole new journey of self-discovery. The chakra energy will be in use, our spirits get lifted up and leading to synchronize our mind, body and soul.
In the present day stressful schedules of our Lifestyle, we need to take out some time to practise these Mudras to bring stability in our lives. We are very fortunate to have a leader at the helm of affairs, Our Pradhan Sevak PM Modi. Who is a yogic, this is the reason he is able to balance and meet his set targets, working selflessly & tirelessly for our Nation, taking Hindustan towards Vikas.
Dr. Sukanya Iyer