by Beth Haley
I had started studying mudras months ago, but before I could really get started on mudras, I became captivated with the principles of mantras. So this week, I am picking back up with mudras for a class.
The word mudra means seal, gesture or sign.
What has been interesting to me in studying mudras, is that many hand positions that I’ve often seen others, or myself do, are actually mudras: they have a name, and have a specific effect on the body, mind, and emotions.
Which, is why we do them instinctively.
For example: the habit of placing the fingertips of one hand against the fingertips of the other hand, is something I see people do when they’re thinking or need more clarity, which is called the Hakini mudra.
Another well-known hand gesture is to hold your hands in the prayer 🙏 posture. This is known by a few different names such as: Anjali mudra, Pranav mudra, and Namaste mudra. According to Zenned Out, this mudra represents union, connecting the left and right sides of the brain, and also connects our masculine and feminine energies. I’ve seen prayer posture held before the heart and also against the forehead.
Why do children suck their thumbs?
This is another aspect of the magick in our hands that I had never really thought about.
The thumb is associated with the element of fire. So what do you do when there’s a fire, such as an emotional upset? Sticking it in your mouth helps to sooth and put the fire out.
This mudra is done by placing your thumb next to the base of your pinkie finger, and then wrapping all of your fingers over and around your thumb.
This is another one I didn’t know was a mudra, or know that it had a name. I now know that some of its benefits are to help soothe and relax.
For about 3 years, I often fell asleep with this mudra, or I would hold my hands this way when I was anxious or stressed in some way. I didn’t know why. It just seemed comforting. I saw a picture of it today, and realized that I rarely ever use this mudra anymore.
A few years ago I was beginning to be interested in the practice of mindfulness, and I spoke to a counselor who specialized in mindfulness training. I entered her office with my stack of mindfulness books. After I met with her a few times, she looked at me very quizzically, and asked, “Why do you have all these mindfulness books for anxiety? You’re not anxious.”
That was a fine moment: to be able to look back and see that where I used to be standing, is no longer where I am standing today.
I realize now, that the years that I used this mudra and studied mindfulness books for anxiety, were during the same years. And today, I am free of both: the anxiety and the need to use the mudra.
The mudra, along with mindfulness practice, were tools. They were coping skills.
However, the most healing thing I’ve done since those years, is to remove myself from the situation that I was in at that time. Coping skills can only do so much… you have to remove yourself from unhealthy situations, and not return to them.
All this to say: Mudras! They really work. For whatever issue you are dealing with, physically, emotionally, or mentally… there’s a mudra for it!
Note: If you, or anyone you know, suffers from abandonment / separation anxiety, give the Adi mudra a try. Use it like a meditation for 10 minutes a day. And, if you combine an intention with your mudra, and a mantra (stating your intention out loud), it is even more powerful.
As with any alternative practice: mudras, and the content written here, are not meant to take the place of professional advice. Even the best practices can come with contraindications, precautions, and warnings. While mudras are beneficial, working with our bodies energetic meridians, energy points, and chakra centers, not all mudras are a good fit for everyone. If in doubt, check with a health care professional first.