Friday, August 23, 2013

Introduction to Mudras

Mudras are often thought of as stylized positioning of hands and fingers for the purpose of affecting the vital energy or enhancing mood but a particular mudra may involve the whole body.
The most well-known mudras are probably the ones used in meditation. Many people sitting in meditation with crossed legs will place the hands on the knees, with the tips of the thumbs and index fingers touching. 

Another common mudra is placing the hands in the lap with the fingers of one hand resting on the palm of the other. The Indian “Namaste” greeting with hands held in front of the chest, palms touching is familiar to most of us. And the Christian practice of interlacing the fingers of both hands in prayer is yet another common mudra. The Christian gesture draws the attention within, while opening the heart.

The Indian gestures puts one into a mood of respect.

There is at least one mudras performed spontaneously by many people. It is called the Hakini mudra, where the tips of all fingers of the right hand touch the fingertips of the left. This mudra helps to focus the attention.

Hakini Mudra
Hakini mudra

Using Mudras
The Indian Namaste and the Buddhist whatever are usually performed for a few seconds when used in greeting or to show respect. Still, in most settings it's recommended that a mudra be held for at least a couple of minutes or longer. 
Hold the finger-positions with both hands, at the same time. This will have a more powerful effect than doing a mudra with just one hand. Using mudras in meditation is a particularly effective way to focus the attention and establish intent. 

Mudras may be quite simple like the set of four used to balance vital energy in the body or they may be more elaborate such as these meditation mudras.


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