Lately I have become fascinated, once again, with Mudras. Mudra’s are the hand postitions often used in Indian dance, Yoga asana’s, and during meditation practices. If you look at the pictures of Buddah and the pantheon of other Eastern gods & goddesses you will always see them holding their hands in a particular way.
Swami Kripalu, the guru of Kripalu Yoga, was often photographed with his hands in a particular position. Many of those that had the opportunity to be with him when he was alive reported that his personal sadhana (spiritual practice) was sprinkled thruout with beautiful hand gestures and movements. It was clear to those that watched that he seemed fascinated by his hands. It seemed quite mysterious and entrancing to me when I watched a video of his practice.
As time marched on these mudras or hand positions took on a life of their own and are believed to be a ‘yoga of the hands’ with specialized healing properties. When used during asana, pranayama, or meditation it is believed that a particular circuitry of neural pathways becomes established and something happens. (ie. heart rate slows, digestion eases, etc.) If you consider the meridian system as established by the Chinese Acupuncturist, this all makes sense.) After all, we too have all kinds of ‘meanings’ that are attached to various hand gestures in our culture as well.
Palmistry, divination thru the hands, can also trace it’s origins back to the earliest of spiritual seekers. They understood that our lives are reflected by our hands and it reads just like a book if you have the eyes to see.
Most recently I began to study mudras with one of my teachers, Joseph LaPage. We are using them in conjunction with yoga therapy. Many people are unable to perform the yoga asana’s due to physical limitations. However, just about everyone can do things with their hands. When used along with the breathing practices, affirmations, and meditation, mudras can be a powerful way to create focus, concentration, stillness and a deep sense of peace. Try it for yourself.