By Faye Martins
Incorporating mudras into your Yoga training session can greatly enhance the effect of the Yoga postures on your body and mind. “Mudra” is a Sanskrit word that means gesture or lock. In many different practices, a hand mudra is often used as a symbol or ritual greeting. Mudras also seal or lock in prana as it flows throughout the body. Sealing this energy can help increase your level of energy for the practice of Yoga asanas and meditative techniques. In order to enhance their power and effectiveness, mudras are often practiced in conjunction with Yogic breathing techniques while practicing Yoga asanas.
One of the primary hand mudras practiced in Yoga schools today is Anjali Mudra. This mudra is a gesture of greeting and offering. It is the classic prayer position of most religious traditions. When greeting a person, Anjali Mudra is often accompanied by a verbal greeting of “namaste.” Namaste literally means: “the divinity in me greets and honors the divinity in you.” This is one of the core fundamental aspects of Yoga practice, the ability to see the divine energy coursing throughout all of creation. As you hold your hands in Anjali Mudra in front of your heart chakra, you are also balancing and connecting the left and right sides of your brain. Beginning your Yoga session by practicing Anjali Mudra helps to align your mind and spirit with the fundamental goal of all Yoga practice, an awareness of the value, divinity and oneness of all beings.
The heart chakra is often visualized as a blossoming lotus in both Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Anjali Mudra is a gesture of love and honoring of the blossoming of the lotus flower in the divine heart as it is nourished by reverence and gentle acknowledgment. Lotus Mudra is also an exquisite hand mudra that is usually practiced directly after Anjali Mudra at the beginning of a Yoga class. The image of the lotus flower is one of great perseverance, strength and beauty. Time and time again, the lotus flower makes its way up through the muddy water as it reaches for the light in order to offer its beauty to the world. To practice Lotus Mudra, simply open your fingers up as you hold your hands in Anjali Mudra and make the form of a lotus blossom. Take a moment and bow your head in offering and reverence. The practice of Lotus Mudra will help you to open your heart, allowing the energy of love and companionship to flow more freely into your life.
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