From Hand to Heart
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-->