I attended a couple of webinars with Amy Weintraub recently, and I thought what she had to say about mudras was worth sharing (mudras are hand gestures that have both symbolic meaning and specific effects on the energetic body).
I've always enjoyed using basic mudras in my own yoga practice, but have done so more through a trust in the tradition rather than a deep personal understanding of why they work. Which is why I found Amy's explanation of mudras so enlightening, and wanted to share it here with you.
Before teaching us any mudras or informing us of their benefits, Amy had us try out a few simple hand positions, and feel their effects for ourselves.
- Close your eyes and notice where your natural breath is landing in your body
- Touch the tips of the index fingers together and notice where your breath is now
- Then touch the little fingers together and notice where the breath is
- Then touch the tips of the thumbs together and notice where the breath is located
- Then the little fingers again
- Then the ring fingers
- Then the middle fingers
- Then the index fingers again
- And the thumbs again, still noticing the effect that this has on where the breath is landing in the body
I very clearly felt my breath deeper and lower in my body when I touched the tips of my little fingers together, and higher up when I touched the tips of the other fingers. Amazing!
Apparently this is what the ancient yogi's found too. Pressing the tips of the little fingers together in various mudras directs the breath down to the lowest chakra (the root chakra), and each progressive finger directs the energy to the higher chakras. This is the basis of the various mudras that we know and love.
When I tried this exercise, I was sitting in front of my computer practicing these mudras along with Amy's presentation. I was astounded to so clearly feel such a difference in the location of my breath when I pressed different fingertips together. Once again, I am blown away by the breathtaking power of yoga (no pun intended).
Amy has a new book which is due to be released in Australia any day now (my copy on pre-order hasn't arrived yet), and if you're interested in finding out more about these practices, you might like to check it out.
I've also been working on an online course these past few months, called 'A Daily Dose of Bliss' (the secret is out!), which will include a mudra or two..... and that's I'm saying for now!
If you tried Amy's mudra exercise, leave me a comment or send me an email..... I'd love to hear about it!