Mudras, a set of certain posture combinations, are practiced to channelise a particular force to a specific area of the body. By way of certain permutations and combinations, they have an effect on both the physical and the etheric layers of a being.
In a healthy body, the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether) are in a state of equilibrium. Any imbalance in these causes disease in the body. Such imbalances can be corrected simply by using our fingertips. The thumb represents fire element, the index finger represents air, middle finger, space or ether, ring finger, water and the little finger, earth. Thus, forming a particular mudra using your fingers will help control, guide and balance the flow of prana in your body. Any finger, when touched with the tip of the thumb, increases that element in the body, and touching a fingertip with the base of the thumb decreases that element.
A mudra is a combination of different forces — it has the ability to change the composition of elements in your body. Never fall for the “interesting” but misleading pictures showing people in different mudras. Mudras are very potent tools and should only be practiced under the guidance of your Guru; otherwise they can create imbalance, especially if you and your body are not prepared for those kinds of practices.
Sanatan Kriya tells us that initially a sadhak is supposed to sit with the palms lying open, symbolic of accepting whatever the Guru thinks is required by the sadhak. No mudra is adopted. After initiation, the sadhak will sit in the Bhairav or the Bhairavi mudra. In this mudra, the sadhak sits with palms overlapping each other. This completes the circuit of prana, which prevents prana from flowing out during dhyan.
Men sit with their left palm over the right one and women sit with their right palm over the left. This is done in order to balance the forces of Shiva and Shakti. The left palm represents the feminine force, Shakti, and the right palm represents the male force, Shiva. The Guru knows when to change the bhairav to bhairavi and vice versa, and ultimately both have to be balanced to achieve yog.
Now we’ll talk about the panch mahaprana or five vayus.
Prana vayu is the upward rising force in the region between the diaphragm and the shoulders. Salutations are paid to this by touching the tips of the middle finger and the ring finger to the tip of the thumb. This is called prana vayu mudra.
Apana vayu is the downward moving force, from the navel towards the pelvis. Salutations are paid to this by touching the tips of the ring and little finger to the tip of your thumb. This is the apana vayu mudra.
Samaan vayu is the balancing force between prana vayu and apana vayu. It is the outward and sideways moving force in the region between the diaphragm and the navel. Salutations are paid to this by touching the tips of index and middle finger to the tip of your thumb. This is called the samana vayu mudra.
Udana vayu rises upwards from the pit of the throat. Salutations are paid to this by touching the tips of your index finger, middle finger and ring finger to the tip of your thumb. This is the udana vayu mudra.
Vayana vayu is the all-pervading force. Salutations are paid to this by touching the tips of all your fingers to the tip of your thumb. This is known as the vayana vayu mudra.
There exist various other mudras that can be practiced after one reaches a higher level of evolution and has the capacity to hold the intensity that force generates. One of them is the gyan mudra, where you join the tip of your index finger to the tip of thumb—this stimulates the flow of gyan. The next is dhyan mudra, where the tip of your middle finger touches the tip of your thumb. The abhaya mudra is the same as the gyan mudra, the difference is in the placement—you take your hands a little higher than your throat. This mudra helps you rid fear inside you. However, you should be under the complete guidance of a guru if you want to carry out any mudra safely.
Yogi Ashwini is an authority on the vedic sciences and the author of ‘Sanatan Kriya—The Ageless Dimension.’ He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published Date: Aug 08, 2012