How to Practice Yoga Mudras

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

yoga teacher trainingBy Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 250

Yoga mudras, or hand gestures, are an important part of a well-rounded yoga practice. Mudras are specific hand placements that allow energy to be directed to specific parts of the body. Yoga mudras are often used as an aide in healing common ailments, maladies, or diseases. In order to incorporate mudras into meditation, it is important to understand the specific benefits of each mudra, as well as any precautions each individual needs to take. Practice mudras on a regular basis for the best results.

Mudras can easily be incorporated into a regular yoga routine by adding them to the postures you currently perform. First, you must choose the mudra(s) that you wish to practice. Each specific Yoga mudra focuses on a different area of the body or element of life. Ask yourself if you want to improve concentration, sharpen your memory, relieve cough and cold symptoms, or cure a specific malady within the body. Then incorporate the mudra into existing seated or standing poses, or take a minute before, during, and after each series of flowing poses to sit or stand with the mudra.

To get the full benefit of a mudra, it is best to practice it during a meditation session. Choose a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down. Possible choices in Lotus, Half-Lotus, Corpse, or Easy pose, with legs crossed. Take a few deep breaths to focus the mind. Bring your hands together into the chosen mudra and continue to breathe deeply, making sure to bring the breath in through the nose, fill up the abdominal and chest cavities, and slowly let the breath out through the mouth. Certain mudras should be practiced for certain time periods, so make sure you are aware of the recommended amount of time to hold the mudra of your choice. You can choose to practice one Yoga mudra, or a variety of mudras based on your current state of body and mind.

Although it might seem less meditative, mudras can actually be practiced anywhere, anytime. If your schedule is busy, but you find yourself with small chunks of time throughout the day to practice a Yoga mudra, feel free. Perhaps while driving to and from your destinations, while waiting in line at the supermarket, while waiting for a doctor’s appointment, or even at your work desk to energize your mind.

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