Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark

From Hand to Heart

Discover the power of mudras (hand gestures) for cultivating inner peace, courage, and confidence.

By Kelly McGonigal

Practicing mudra during asana, meditation, pPranayama, or kirtan (chanting) will help you quiet the background chatter of your mind. But the power of these seemingly simple hand gestures goes far beyond adding focus to your practice. Mudras can remind you of two important pieces of yogic wisdom. First, you are already whatever you seek to be. It's easy to see courage and wisdom in the stories and images of Hindu deities or the Buddha. It's much more difficult to see that those qualities reside in you. Mudras can remind you that these are not traits that you either have or don't have. They are states that you consciously choose to feel and express. Second, mudra practice can help you find a way to translate good intentions into skillful actions. Mudras are the bridge between your inner spiritual experience and your outer interactions with the world. Actions speak louder than words, and mudras are like prayers translated into physical form.

You can include mudras in your yoga practice in many ways, and they can add inspiration to any meditation. Choose one whose meaning matches the focus of your meditation—such as Lotus Mudra, which suggests heart opening, for lovingkindness meditation. To help you focus your mind and channel your energy during pranayama or kirtan, choose a mudra such as Dharmachakra Mudra to reflect a state of devotion. Combining mudra and asana can enhance the power of a pose. In a typical practice, it's easy to focus so much on the alignment of your knees and shoulder blades that you fail to notice the alignment of your mind. Adding a mudra reminds you of the meaning of a pose; Abhaya Mudra with a Warrior Pose, for example, will tap you into your fearlessness and compassion.

Perhaps the greatest gift of mudra is that it honors your deepest, most heartfelt reasons for showing up on the mat. Mudra can become the catalyst for a yoga practice that brings out the best in you. Try the five suggested mudras in asana or meditation to spark your inner compassion, strength, and wisdom.

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark
Full Name
Address 1
Address 2
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email (req):

Reader Comments

Jeanine

Darlene - I would suggest some beginning yoga DVDs - these would allow you to follow along and learn some basic, gentle yoga poses. I personally think Suzanne Deason has some great gentle videos - try "Yoga for Weight Loss" or "AM/PM Yoga" by her; those are basic and gentle, she provides good cues for the poses and her voice is soothing. I have seen them on Amazon and at Target...Hope this helps. Best wishes...Namaste. - Jeanine

muniraja

thanks for this =)

Darlene

I am a newcomer and I have a couple of questions. First, I am finding it difficult to relax as I do some of the poses, because as I am trying to manuever to pose, I either straining or I really just get out of focus. Is there certain poses for the beginner to get adjusted to the bends & poses? The other question is how do you know what music to play in the background? I know these are probably silly questions, but I really would like to get more flexible, I am diagnosed w/ fibromyalgia and when I stretch, I feel really great. Thanks, Darlene

Add a Comment »

Your Name:

Comment:

Stay Connected with Us!

Yoga Journal Live events
ep14 YJ LIVE! Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado
Sep 14-21, 2014
Register
florida YJ LIVE! Florida
Hollywood, FL
Nov 13-17, 2014
Register

More Events

Join Yoga Journal's Benefits Plus
Liability insurance and benefits to support
teachers and studios.
Learn More
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 4 FREE GIFTS
Your subscription includes
Yoga for Neck & Shoulders • Yoga Remedies
Yoga for Headaches • Calm, Cool, Collected
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Yoga Journal
and my 4 FREE downloadable Yoga Booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions