Mudra means “seal” in Sanskrit. It’s a symbolic or ritual gesture using primarily the hands. Each position is believed to have a specific effect. Specific positions can lead to specific states of consciousness symbolized by the hand positions. For example, if a person frequently and with feeling does a position of fearlessness, they will also be freed from fearfulness in time. Mudras are said to engage areas of the brain and/or soul influencing them, sometimes physically, by their use—not unlike an affirmation, or reflexology for that matter.
“One way that all of us can better care for ourselves is by developing techniques for coping with the irritations and anxiety that are part of life…
Think of these gestures as self-talk for your hands. These simple movements, the gestures that we often make unconsciously, can help us focus on our work, calm ourselves, release anger and energize us. Used for centuries by many different cultures, mudras are seen in Eastern dance and meditation, in ancient Egyptian friezes, even in Byzantine icons of Christ. Most of us use them today, too: we wave goodbye, we press a hand to our chest in distress, we wriggle our fingers to release energy, or press fingertips together to calm ourselves.
Easy to learn, mudras can be done anywhere, at any time: at traffic lights, in meetings, in airplanes, when we’re arguing, when we’re grieving, when we need to prepare for sleep. The word mudra can be translated from the Sanskrit as that which brings inner peace, and that s what mudras are: a physical means of quieting our bodies.” Product description for Mudras: Ancient Gestures to Ease Modern Stress by Emily Fuller Williams.
A great video about mudras: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7-iXzMdfIs&feature=player_embedded#at=147
I participated in another excellent YogaFit® training this past weekend called Yoga for Mental Health as part of my continuing education toward a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher certification. It was an amazing class! Below, I used the mudras outlined in a recommended book by Amy Weintraub, Yoga Skills For Therapists, Effective Practices for Mood Management. Great book! Excellent class!
Hasta Mudra #3 –Energizing
How to do it:
- Sit straight and tall. Interlace the middle fingers in front of the solar plexus with the other fingers gently curled. Pull the fingers apart with moderate pressure while inhaling and release the pressure slightly on the exhalation. Hands are in front of the solar plexus with the forearms parallel to the earth.
Hasta Mudra #3 –Calming
How to do it:
- Gently press together the tips or pads of the middle fingers in front of the solar plexus until you sense the best energetic connection. The other fingers may be gently curled in or extended out.
Source: Yoga Skills for Therapists, Effective Practices for Mood Management, ~ Amy Weintraub
(Google: LifeForce Yoga Power Point Handout – Yoga for Depression for a great PDF)