yoga blog by yoga lover in Bicester


In class recently, we enjoyed the ‘three part breath’ and used hand gestures – mudras to facilitate the practice.  Hand gestures are known in yoga as Hasta Mudras.

As well as being gestures, mudras are also referred to as attitudes – ‘psychic, emotional, devotional and aesthetic gestures or attitudes’ (Saraswati, 1996, Pg 423).   They form the ‘symbolic language of yoga sending powerful messages from body to mind via the nervous system and from person to person’ (Burton, 2004).

Mudras enhance yoga practice and become a language in their own right, communicating with our deep inner systems and can transform a physical practice into something far more spiritual.  We can effectively ‘engage and influence our body and mind’ with gestures (Hirsch, 2000, Pg 2).

Brown describes mudras as symbolic signs, gestures or body positions that ‘cause’ an alteration in the body’s vital force’ (Brown, 2003, Pg 330) and says the word mudra is derived from the Sanskrit word for seal and that mudras allow us to direct the pranic life force to various parts of the body so that the energies may be harnessed with in.

Mudras manipulate energy – just as the energy from light waves can be deflected by a mirror or sound waves by a cliff face.  By creating barriers within the body (mudras) the energy is redirected within instead of being dissipated externally.  Each mudra sets up a different link and corresponds with a different effect on the body, mind or prana.  In the Three Part Breath practice in class we experienced this with the breath seeming to move into different areas of the body.

Fraser describes mudras as completing an electrical circuit (Fraser, 2003, Pg 119).   They are also defined as seals, short-cuts or circuit-by- passes.

Mudras may involve the whole body – in combination with asana, pranayama and bandhas, or be simple hand gestures.  The postures adopted establish a direct link between the annamaya kosha (physical), manomaya kosha (mental) and pranamaya kosha (pranic).  Initially this enables the practitioner to develop awareness of the flows of prana in the body, ultimately establishing pranic balance within the koshas to enable redirection of the energies to the higher chakras.

Mudras are seen in many different cultures and form a part of ceremonies.

Do let me know if you would like full details of the texts quoted from in the above article

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