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“Mu” means pleasure, “Dra” means to draw in or bring forth. “Mudra” is to bring forth pleasure. Often, while driving down the highway, my index finger will find its way, circling around the steering wheel, and connecting with my thumb. This connection creates a sense of peace that gently settles into my entire body.
Although my index finger will naturally find its way to that connection, I have found that it is harder for me to be comfortable with the feelings that arise with the thumb taking up the connection to the middle, ring, or pinky finger. I appreciate this awareness, as a health enthusiast, so that I can learn what my body needs at that moment. Much like practicing yoga, not all of our practices will be the same.
Some days we may not have balance in tree pose, other days we may not feel as strong as we did the day before and we find that we cannot complete side crow, and other days you may not be able to bend as far over as you did the practice before. This does not mean that you are bad at yoga, it simply means that we are fortunate to have access to a road map of what our bodies need on that day.
The study of Ayurveda is a constant practice of checking in of how the weather, food, and our emotions are affecting our life in balance. Our emotions and physical health may be lacking something that needs to be addressed. Again this does not mean that you are unhealthy. It is simply a map to constantly be aware of where our bodies need to be supported at that moment. According to Ayurveda, the thumb is represented as fire, and when it is linked to my index finger, represented as air, it creates an electromagnetic current within my body which can start to balance the imbalances that may be occurring at that moment in time.
Five Fingers for Five Elements:
- Thumb: Fire
- Index: Air
- Middle: Aakash (space)
- Ring: Earth
- Little/Pinky: Water
In the Vedic culture, our body’s energy lines are called Nadis, meaning rivers. We have thousands of nadis running through our bodies; and often, within those energy channels, energy can get stuck. Fortunately, we have the power to manipulate and support our central nervous systems, brain functions, and body energy channels so that we can receive the most pleasure out of life and this body’s form. Tantra, a practice deeply rooted in Vedic culture, is the study of removing energy blockages to clear a path to personal freedom. Vedic walking massages are also a great way to release blocked energy, but if you are not able to receive a Vedic walking massage, there are other ways as well. Mudras are my quick fix to this release.
Often in the morning, before getting out of bed, I will touch my thumb to my index finger, then to my middle finger, then my ring finger, and then my pinky. I will go back and forth assessing which one feels pleasurable, and which one my body feels it may need that day. Once I find the one that brings me the most pleasure, I stay there and meditate with it. Depending on the mudra that my body picks, it allows me to have insider information as to what I need to focus on that day. Knowledge, grounding, love, etc. Being aware of our bodies is the essence of yoga.
Choosing a Mudra:
The thumb connecting with the index finger is the mudra is called The Gyan Mudra or The Mudra of Knowledge. It is known to help one meditate and concentrate. It helps to reduce the negativity of the mind and it improves memory and aids in alleviating headaches, insomnia, and reducing anger.
The thumb touching the middle finger is called Shuni Mudra. It helps to be aware of the moment and therefore make one more patient. It is used in spiritual practices.
The ring finger touching the thumb is the Prithvi Mudra or The Mudra of Earth. It reduces all physical weaknesses, increases weight for weak life-force people, and improves the complexion of skin and makes the skin glow.
The Pinky connected to the thumb is the Varuna Mudra or the Mudra of Water. This mudra retains clarity in the blood by balancing water content in the body and prevents the pain of gastroenteritis and muscle shrinkage. Finally, an excellent one to help children focus and also improve cognitive functions in adults is The Hakini Mudra.
This is when all the tips of the fingers and the thumbs touch the corresponding fingers of each hand. Thumb to thumb, index finger to index finger, and so on. I highly recommend this mudra for panic attacks. As you inhale, allow the fingers to stretch out, and as you inhale, bring all of the fingers in together. Continue to keep contact with all the fingers, watch your hand expand, and release as you inhale and exhale.
When we are aware of what our body needs, then we will be able to draw forth all the pleasures that this beautiful existence can give us.
What's the pleasure that you would like to bring to forth into your life?