What is a Mudra? You have heard the word before and if you have ever been to yoga you have probably even used one or two Mudras. But what is a mudra and more importantly what is the point?
In Sanskrit, Mudra is defined an attitude, gesture or seal. It is a series of ancient Indian gestures used to aid in meditation and express creativity. Each hand has a reflex reaction in a specific part of the brain. Mudras use these reflex lines of energy as forms of expression and connection with Source. They lock and guide or “seal” the energy flow guiding the reflexes to the brain.
The hands are a very powerful part of the human body. From playing an instrument to delivering a baby, the hands harness an undeniable power. Shaman kings of Ancient China believed all things on earth were manifestations of changing relationships between the Five Fundamental Principles or Five Elements; water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. Therefore, the human hand was viewed as a perfect analogy of the universe with each finger representing one of the Five Elements. The Theory of the Five Elements is woven into the philosophy of all Chinese Arts from Chinese Medicine to Martial Arts.
Similarly, in Ancient India, Vedic Sages and Tantric Yogis developed a similar but not identical theory to the Chinese who use their hands as a tool based on the Five Elements. The Indian traditions teach that any mind or body disorder indicates an excess or deficiency in one or more of the elements. Combined with the Asian influence and centuries of research and experiments concerning the different hand techniques used to influence energy, Yoga Tantra Mudra Vijnana was founded. Here is where the relationship between the five fingers and Five Elements was mastered and set forth as Mudras.
Traditionally, Mudras have three main places of use in India – Yoga, Indian Religious Ritual and Indian dance and drama. Each of these areas uses Mudras in such a way that is most beneficial to the harmony of the body. The most commonly known use for Mudras in the West is in the practice of yoga. Mudras are able to guide the flow of energy and lengthen the connection between body and spirit by energizing the yoga positions. When Mudras are combined with yoga positions and breath, miraculous transmissions go through the body and these synapses awaken parts of our neurological system that tap into spirit.
Most Hindu and Buddhist rituals use Mudras to relate to different deities and powers. They believe that Mudras are not simply personal expression, but ways of communicating and drawing in the divine grace of specific deities into their lives. Mudras are used as focal points during meditations similar to that of prayer beads. They help to focus the mind and direct its attention. They are like hand mantras putting energy into our intentions. For example, if one is trying to manifest something here on earth yet continues to hit road blocks one after another they would incorporate mudras with mantras that honor the Deity Ganesha who is the remover of obstacles.
In Indian dance and drama, a Mudra will express a certain attitude and emotion. It creates a flow of energy from the source through the performer to the audience. Although it is used mainly as artistic self-expression, it is still symbolic in representing different deities.
Although the spirit world seems all knowing, what they don’t posses and we do, is the physical form. Mudras are a beautiful expression and connection. They are able to enhance your meditation and open your channels of communication with the spirit world.