In the Vedic tradition, the fingers of the hand represent the five basic elements that make up the human body: air, wind, fire, mud, and water. By positioning the fingers in various postures known as mudras, we can regulate the flow of the vital elements in the body, promoting health and mind-body balance. Joining the fingers or touching them to another part of the body creates a circuit that allows the energy or prana to flow within the physiology rather than dissipating.
Sometimes referred to as “yoga of the hands,” there are hundreds of different mudras used for specific healing purposes and meditation. Here are two you can use when you meditate – experiment and observe how they affect your meditative state. Keep in mind that the most important thing is to be comfortable during meditation, so if for some reason your hand starts to feel cramped or uncomfortable, gently release the mudra.
This mudra promotes the flow of vital energy or prana throughout the body. It is said to increase vitality, invigorate the immune system, and slow the aging process.
Prana mudra is performed by gently joining your thumb with your little finger and ring, while keeping the middle and fourth fingers apart and extended. You may hold your hands in either a vertical or horizontal position.
The name of this mudra comes from the Sanskrit word jnana, which means “pure knowledge” or wisdom. In many depictions of the Buddha, his hands are held in Gyan mudra. As its name implies, Gyan mudra is useful for sharpening mental clarity, including memory, concentration, and the ability to grasp new concepts. If you hold the mudra for several minutes, it induces a soothing, sleepy effect and is thus a good mudra to use at night if you suffer from insomnia.
Create the mudra by joining the tip of your index finger to the top of your thumb. Keep your other three fingers apart in a straight position.
Known as “the seal of patience,” the shuni mudra is formed by placing the tip of the middle finger on the tip of the thumb.
The Shuni mantra is said to promote patience and discernment, as well as the courage to fulfill one’s responsibilities.
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