Ever looked at the hand of Buddha on a statue? The chance is pretty big that he has two fingers connected. This hand position is called mudra. According to the yogis yoga mudras restore health: physically and mentally.
In Sanskrit mudra means closure, gesture, attitude or seal. Yoga mudras are psychic, emotional, devotional and aesthetic gestures, seals or attitudes. According to the yogis, connecting two fingers can influence the energy flow within the body; linking individual force with universal or cosmic force, but also making a ‘short-cut’.
These short-cuts play a vital role in restoring health. Our physical body is made up of five elements: air, water, fire, earth and ether (the spaces between cells). Each finger represents an element:
Thumb – fire
Index finger – air
Middle finger – ether
Ring finger – earth
Little finger – water
When one of your fingers is connected with your thumb, the element of that finger will be brought back into balance, as the fingers are essentially electrical circuits. By connecting them you create an electromagnetic current within the body, which balances the elements and restores health.
Our fingers form the end of ten of our nadis (energy lines in our body; also called meridians in acupuncture). Normally prana (energy) leaves our body through the fingertips. By linking two fingers we send the energy back into the body. By doing so we are able to influence the elements.
Yogis believe that mudras can also change spiritual and mental aspects of a person; mood, attitude and perception. Mudras are not only performed by connecting two or more fingers, but can involve the whole body in a combination of asana, pranayama, bandha and visualization techniques. Yogis see them as higher practices which lead to awakening of prana, chakra and kundalini energy.
There are five groups of yoga mudras
Hasta – hand mudras Most hand mudras are meditative mudras. They create a circuit from the brain to the hand and back to the brain, which leads to internalization.
Mana – head mudras Most head mudras are meditation techniques on their own, using the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and lips. They are frequently used in kundalini yoga.
Kaya (postural mudras) Postural mudras are performed through a combination of yoga, breathing and concentration exercises.
Bandha (lock mudras) Lock mudras are almost always a combination of a mudra and a bandha. They charge the body with energy and prepare the yogi for the awakening of kundalini energy.
Adhara (perineal mudras) Perineal mudras send energy up from the lower centers of the body to the brain. They are often used during tantric exercises and can help to have full body orgasms.