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Thursday 6/6/13
Issue #8
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Settle the Mind with Mudras


By Liz Rosenblum - 6/6/2013

Hands in Gyan Mudra
  Photo Credit: nito / Shutterstock.com

Throughout a yoga practice, the hand position plays various roles - and often, what gets ignored is the power of the hand position, often referred to as the mudra.

Mudras, most often in seated positions, impact the flow of energy throughout the body.

Here we'll focus on 5 common calming mudras incorporated into a yoga practice or meditation:

  • Gyan Mudra (aka Chin Mudra)
  • Jnana Mudra
  • Anjali Mudra
  • Shuni Mudra
  • Buddhi Mudra

Gyan Mudra is one of the most commonly practiced mudras. It can help to bring peace and calm to the mind and body. It is done by touching the tips of the thumbs and index fingers and extending the other three fingers out. The hands are generally rested on the knees, turned up to invite in teachings and awareness. This posture can also help to improve communication.

Gyan mudra stimulates the root chakra to help ease tension.

This particular pose can also be done with the palms turned down to rest on the knees as a way to increase the feeling of being grounded and rooted to the earth.

Jnana Mudra, a calming mudra, is similar to Gyan Mudra, but instead of the tips of the thumb and index finger touching, the nail of the index finger rests under the first joint of the thumb. Again, this is done while sitting with the hands resting on the knees, this time with the palms turned to face the earth.

The benefits of Jnana Mudra are to eliminate tension, boost memory, and settle the mind.

Anjali Mudra is commonly referred to simply as prayer position done with the palms touching, finger tips up in front of the heart. It means honor or offering. This position, often done at the beginning and end of a practice, brings opposites such as masculine/feminine and logic/intuition and the two hemispheres of the brain and body together in unison. Anjali mudra can bring about a calm, focused state of mind as it closes the energy circuit between the hands and the heart.

When done while standing with eyes closed, chin tucked slightly down and feet grounded, Anjali Mudra can be extremely powerful, helping to tune out distractions and quiet the mind before beginning a practice. It's a chance to slow the breathing and prepare the mind and body to receive the benefits of the practice as a whole.

Shuni Mudra is known as the seal of patience. To do Shuni Mudra bring the tip of the thumb and middle finger together with the other fingers extended but not rigid. The position is meant to enhance focus and discipline. Shuni Mudra is also said to shift negative emotions into positive ones and help you to be in the moment.

Buddhi Mudra, done with the tips of the little finger and the thumb touching, is intended to bring about mental clarity. It can help to improve and encourage openness and communication.

Mudras are generally something that are only thought about when we're sitting on a yoga mat getting ready to practice or meditate, but the beauty of these positions is that they can be done anytime and anywhere. If you're sitting at your desk feeling a bit stressed or struggling to communicate, think about what you're doing with your hands. Engage one of these mudras, slow your breathing and see what happens to your


 








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