A simple teaching in yoga that I find myself coming back to again and again is this: If you can learn to change your mood, you can change your life.
All of the practices of yoga are designed to teach and reteach us this lesson, and most likely we've all heard it before. But I find that very few yogis know that mudras, symbolic and ritualistic hand gestures, are great ways to guide you to changing your mood. Mudras can guide you to a deeper state of meditation, to help you discover not the person you think you are but the person you really are.
The word 'mudra' is derived from the Sanskrit words MUD (delight or pleasure) and DRA (to draw forth). Mudras move us toward joy, reconnecting us with our highest selves.
Mudras are a meditation, a silent form of chanting, that have changed my life and literally lifted me out of some dark places. I find it fitting that 'mud' is in the word, as mudras have the power to lift us up out of our internal muddiness and heavy sluggishness, so we can lean into the light.
Mudras are the sign language of yoga, often referred to as energetic ‘seals’ as they can alter our attitude and perceptions, while deepening awareness and concentration. They're just as important as the chaturanga or the backbend because like all asanas, mudras remind us that happiness comes from within a very deep place inside ourselves...and it's our job to call it up.
Another reason to love mudras...you can do them anywhere and anytime. You don't need a yoga mat or other props.
Ready to be fearless and fire up more mojo this spring? Ready to open up your heart once again to romance? It's time to bust out some yoga in your hands! Here are five mudras that will change your inner/outer world as fast as you do them.
1. Abaya Mudra — Be Fearless. Call On Courage. DO YOU!
In this mudra, raise your right hand to shoulder height with your fingers extended and palm turned outward. Looks like you're swearing under oath. It's the, 'I-swear-to-tell-the-truth-the-whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth-so-help-me-God" mudra.
It's not your business what other people think of you. Stand in the middle of your fear with courage or have the fear and do it anyway.
2. Ganesh — Meet The Remover Of Obstacles.
In this mudra, clasp your hands in front of your heart and tug 100 miles an hour on the exhale and relax on the inhale. Do this three times on each side, sit and feel the effects.
Often Ganesh puts apparent obstacles in our way so that we can see them and have the opportunity to do the work of removing them, stretching us to grow and change.
3. Shiva Shakti — Engage Your Energy.
In this mudra, place your right hand with thumb extended upward, on top of your left open hand. Position hands near your belly with elbows pointing wide. Free breathing or pump it up, literally!
Ready to give your energy a massive boost and blast into new positive life enhancing habits, you can even add some breath of fire or kappalabhati breathing into this, moving any stuck (old) energy from your lower centers and chakras to move upward. This is your natural Prozac.
4. Lotus Mudra — Open Your Heart To All Situations & Beings.
In this mudra, your hands meet in the front of the heart, palms open forming a lotus with thumbs and pinkie fingers touching. Out of the mud comes the most beautiful flower, this is the story of our transformation each and every day. With daily practice we can stay open and loving.
5. Anjali Mudra — Practice Gratitude.
In this mudra, fold your hands into a prayer at your heart, the lotus hands merge together into a Namaste. Our hands become instruments for healing our mind and body and connecting us in this sacred way to our highest self!
Gratitude. Every breath is a blessing, every breath is a second change. Count your blessings loves! We have so much to be grateful for. Focus on what you have. My two favorite words: THANK YOU! Say them as much as you can.
If you're new to the practice of mudras I recommend a 40-day sadhana, or practice, to change your world. Habits can be made holy and joyful practices. Practice your mudra each and every day around the same time and repeat them with awareness on your breathing. You will feel your prana, force of life change, shift.
Try all of them, and if you're drawn to one mudra in particular, stay with that one and repeat it daily for 40 days. Start your morning with your mudra and see where it shows and flows in the rest of your day.
Using our hands in this powerful way is the ultimate high-five. It's my high five to you, family.