Saturday, August 31, 2013

I Am

What’s wrong with the world? What can we do about it? You might not expect these questions to haunt the mind of the director of “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” and “The Nutty Professor.” But in the painful aftermath of a cycling accident, Tom Shadyac started to think differently about his life and success.  And he started asking questions.

He traveled around, enlisting the aid of what he calls “significant minds” — journalists, scientists, spiritual leaders like Desmond Tutu, scholars like Noam Chomsky — to understand life’s essential questions. “I Am” is his documentary about his quest.

The movie helps us all to stop and think about what is really important to us and more importantly why it is important. I AM gets to the heart of what is really important, and that is why it is something all of us should take the time out to consider.

This movie is an example of how we can live in a world together, giving relief of suffering to all man kind.


“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi


Friday, August 30, 2013

Jalandhara Bandha



Chin Lock is the third of the main bandhas.
In Sanskrit jal means throat, jalan means net, and dharan means stream or flow. Jalandhara Bandha can be considered the throat lock that controls the flow of energy in the nerves and blood vessels of the neck.

It said in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika that “Chin Lock destroys old age and death and stops the downward flow of the nectar into the fire of life.” The text also states that it should be used at the end of inhalation (rechaka). Indeed, Chin Lock is essential for the practice of pranayama where the breath is held in (kumbaka). Then, by regulating the flow of prana to the head, it prevents headaches, dizziness, and a number of ailments of the eyes, throat, and ears that may otherwise develop.

To find Jalandhara Bandha sit up tall, either in a comfortable cross legged position or on your shins with your butt on your heals. Place the palm of your hands on your knees. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, and lower your chin into the notch between the sides of the collarbone, thus lengthening the back of the neck. This changes the shape of the throat and slows the breathing down.

To exit lift your chin, inhale the remainder of capacity into your lungs, and exhale.

Note that the neck should bend naturally, without any tension or force.

Unlike the first two, Jalandhara Bandha is normally performed in combination with specific breathing practices, and rarely done on its own. That said, it is immensely powerful, as it compresses the sinuses on the main arteries of the neck and in doing so helps regulate the circulatory and respiratory systems. The pressure on the throat helps to balance the thyroid and metabolism. And if no one is looking at you at work, engage Jalandhara Bandha as an instant trigger for mental relaxation as well as stress and anger relief.

Maha Bandha - The Great Lock

Maha in Sanskrit means great, and Maha Bandha is the combination of the first three bandhas. It can used during pranayama and as a preparation for meditation.   

Sit in a comfortable seat, on your shins or cross legged, palms of the hands on the thighs or knees.  Inhale fully through your nose, and exhale completely through your nose. Squeeze squeeze squeeze until every last drop is out. Without inhaling engage Mula Bandha, then find Uddiyana Bandha. Inhale a tiny bit and lift your chest, and from there engage Jalandhara Bandha. Retain, pressing your palms down, as long as possible. When you have had enough, lift your head, inhale fully, and release all the bandhas.  

Maha Bandha gives the benefits of all three bandhas and regulates the entire endocrine system.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Uddiyana Bandha

Moving up from Mula Bandha we have the second bandha, Uddiyana. In Sanskrit Uddiyana means to fly up, or to rise up. This ‘flying up lock’ is thus all about your insides flying upwards, intangibly meaning your energy, tangibly meaning your diaphragm, stomach, and abdominal organs.

Abdominal Lock is basically an inward pull of the abdominal muscles above and below the navel. When practiced on its own, it is done after a full exhalation, when the lungs are totally empty, by pulling the abdomen inward and upward.

To find Uddiyana Bandha start standing up tall, feet about a meter apart.  Inhale through your nose and reach your arms up alongside your ears. Exhale out of your mouth and fold forward placing your hands just above your knees. Without inhaling close your lips, straighten your elbows, and feel your abdominal wall and organs push up and back towards your back. It should feel somewhat like a suctioning back and up of everything on the inside. If you are doing it correctly and happen to glance at your profile in a mirror, you should see your waist tiny winy, with the ribs noticeably protruding over and in front of your abdomen or belly button.  Retain as such for as long as possible, and exit the bandha via inhaling through your nose and standing up straight, raising your arms up along side your ears, then exhaling  through your nose again as you move your arms down. 


Uddiyana Bandha can be one of the most transformative aspects of your yoga practice, especially as you get more advanced. It moves the energy upwards with much more force than Mula Bandha, thus allowing you to invert and jump more easily, as well as float forward and back more lightly, and twist more deeply. Because the abdominal wall is pressing the organs and tissues of the abdominal cavity backwards, Uddiyana Bandha creates a soft massage for the deeper internal muscles of the lower back.   

In a more day-to-day sense, Uddiyana Bandha is the ultimate remedy for abdominal and stomach ailments, from constipation to indigestion. It stimulates your digestive juices, thus increasing your metabolism, and tones your overworked abdominal organs. It also balances the adrenal system, relieving stress, lethargy and tension. And best of all, it is the sure fire way to get flat washboard abs without ever doing any crunches.

Abdominal Lock should only be practiced on a completely empty stomach. Do it first thing in the morning. Avoid holding the breath out for too long, which will result in strain and gasping for air. The full Abdominal Lock should not be practiced be women during menstruation or pregnancy.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mula Bandha

The first bandha is called Mula Bandha, which translates as “root lock.” The root referred to here is the root of the spine, the pelvic floor or, more precisely, the center of the pelvic floor, the perineum. The perineum is the muscular body between the anus and the genitals. By slightly contracting the pubo-coccygeal (PC) muscle, which goes from the pubic bone to the tailbone (coccyx), we create an energetic seal that locks prana into the body and so prevents it from leaking out at the base of the spine.

Mula Bandha is said to move prana into the central channel, called sushumna, which is the subtle equivalent of the spine.

Locating the PC muscle might be difficult at first. It has been suggested that one should tighten the anus, or alternatively contract the muscle that one would use to stop urination, but these indications are not entirely accurate.

Mula Bandha is neither of these two muscles but located right between them. These suggestions have their value, however, offering some guidance until we become more sensitive and are able to isolate the PC muscle more precisely. For females it is essential not to mistake Mula Bandha for a contraction of the cervix. This contraction tends to occur especially during strenuous activity. Should a woman do this on a daily basis when engaged in two hours of yoga practice, she could experience difficulty in giving birth.

In the beginning we employ mainly a gross muscular lock, which works mainly on the gross body. Through practice we shift to an energetic lock, which works more on the subtle or pranic body. When mastered, Mula Bandha becomes exclusively mental, and works on the causal body.

To become familiar with Mula Bandha, sit tall and upright in a comfortable position and focus on slightly contracting the perineum, which is the center of the pelvic floor. With the exhalation, visualize the breath beginning at the nostrils and slowly reaching down through the throat, the chest, and the abdomen until it eventually hooks into the pelvic floor, which contracts slightly. As the inhalation starts, there will be an automatic reaching upward. Since we keep the breath hooked into the pelvic floor through contracting the PC muscle, we create suction and an energetic lift upward through the entire core of the body. This is Mula Bandha. With this movement the first step is taken to arrest the downward flow of life force, which increases with age and invites death, disease, and decay like the withering of a plant, and convert it into an upward flow that promotes growth and further blossoming.

Mula Bandha is held throughout the entire breathing cycle and during the whole practice. Every posture needs to grow out of its root. This is only finally released during deep relaxation in complete surrender.



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bandhas

The term bandha is related to the English word “bonding.” We bond breath, movement, and awareness together. The bandhas are a means of controlling and directing pranic energy in the body. They are essential to the advanced practice of yoga. Without them, the energy produced by the practice cannot be properly utilized.

All bandhas involve muscular contractions but this is only one aspect of them, and the ancient yoga texts list bandhas among the most important yoga techniques.

Practiced with pranayama or in isolation, the bandhas work with the organs and the nervous and endocrine systems. They can help to ease disorders of the reproductive and urinary systems, sexual dysfunction, back problems, and recovery after childbirth.

You can think of the bandhas like the one-way valves in your circulatory system. These valves allow blood to flow in one direction as the heart pumps but not to reverse its flow on the upstroke, ensuring proper direction of blood flow. The bandhas direct the life force in similar way.

Yoga practitioners learn to tone certain sets of muscles in order to provide a lock, or closure, that holds psychosomatic energy and moves it powerfully through the subtle energy channels. This generates a physic heat in the subtle body that helps to simulate the awakening of the kundalini energy.

There are three primary bandhas in the body - Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha. Each bandha is a lock, meaning a closing off of part of the interior body. These locks are used in various pranayama and asana practices to tone, cleanse and energize the interior body and organs. 





Monday, August 26, 2013

Everything happens for a reason

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.



Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Secret of Happiness

A merchant sent his son to learn the Secret of Happiness from the wisest of men. The young man wandered through the desert for forty days until he reached a beautiful castle at the top of a mountain. There lived the sage that the young man was looking for.
However, instead of finding a holy man, our hero entered a room and saw a great deal of activity; merchants coming and going, people chatting in the corners, a small orchestra playing sweet melodies, and there was a table laden with the most delectable dishes of that part of the world.
The wise man talked to everybody, and the young man had to wait for two hours until it was time for his audience.
With considerable patience, the Sage listened attentively to the reason for the boy’s visit, but told him that at that moment he did not have the time to explain to him the Secret of Happiness.
He suggested that the young man take a stroll around his palace and come back in two hours’ time.
“However, I want to ask you a favor,” he added, handling the boy a teaspoon, in which he poured two drops of oil. “While you walk, carry this spoon and don’t let the oil spill.”
The young man began to climb up and down the palace staircases, always keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon. At the end of two hours he returned to the presence of the wise man.
“So,” asked the sage, “did you see the Persian tapestries hanging in my dining room? Did you see the garden that the Master of Gardeners took ten years to create? Did you notice the beautiful parchments in my library?”
Embarrassed, the young man confessed that he had seen nothing. His only concern was not to spill the drops of oil that the wise man had entrusted to him.
“So, go back and see the wonders of my world,” said the wise man. “You can’t trust a man if you don’t know his house.”
Now more at ease, the young man took the spoon and strolled again through the palace, this time paying attention to all the works of art that hung from the ceiling and walls. He saw the gardens, the mountains all around the palace, the delicacy of the flowers, the taste with which each work of art was placed in its niche. Returning to the sage, he reported in detail all that he had seen.
“But where are the two drops of oil that I entrusted to you?” asked the sage.
Looking down at the spoon, the young man realized that he had spilled the oil.
“Well, that is the only advice I have to give you,” said the sage of sages. “The Secret of Happiness lies in looking at all the wonders of the world and never forgetting the two drops of oil in the spoon.”

Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Physics of the Future

Close your eyes and imagine the future - what do you see? 

We all wish we could predict the future, but most of us don't know enough about the science that makes it possible. That's why Michio Kaku decided to talk to the people who really know - the visionaries who are already inventing the future in their labs. Based on interviews with over three hundred of the world's top scientists, Kaku gives us an insider's perspective on the revolutionary advances that mean we'll soon be able to take an elevator into space, access the internet via our contact lenses, scan our DNA for signs of disease and even change the shape of objects - and all still within the laws of known physics. This isn't just the shape of things to come - as Kaku shows, it's already happening.




Friday, August 23, 2013

Fatima’s Hand

Hamsa is the hand of Prophet Muhammad's daughter Fatima. It is the symbol of patience, loyalty, faith and resistance against difficulties. According to common belief, it tells of the Fatima's struggle for dignity and her tough life. Thereby, purity, goodness and truth are blessed.

For centuries, Fatima’s Hand has been a powerful talisman for good luck and one of the most popular amulets in the world of Islam for protection. It is hung on the walls of the house as engraving in silver or gold or it is painted in red. It is believed that a house protected by the Hand of Fatima will not catch fire.

In Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, ornaments of Fatima’s hand have the same meaning as evil eyes. In these countries, the miracle of the hand is given a great deal of importance.

According to traditional Islamic culture, the five fingers of Hamsa represent the five requirements of Islam, which are-
  1. To profess your faith,
  2.  Pray,
  3. Give Alms,
  4. To Fast,
  5. To undertake a Pilgrimage to Mecca

The five fingers of Hamsa also represent the prophet's family (ahl al-bayt). Prophet Muhammad represented by the thumb, Ali by forefinger, Fatima by middle finger, Hasan by ring finger and Hussein by the little finger.

Fatima has a very important place in the Islamic faith, which is a symbol of sublimation to women, and her value in a patriarchal society. The authority of goddess, which has been attributed to the Virgin Mary in Christianity, has been given to Fatima in Islam. 


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hamsa and Buddhism

Hamsa emerged from India and then spread to South, South East and East Asian Countries (Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, Tibet, China, Thailand, Nepal).

Buddhism is a belief system with many rich symbols of which Mudras is of great importance as in Hinduism.  It draws attention to two Mudras in terms of it is similarity with Hamsa.




Varada Mudra - Hand faces down in to feel that blessing and fertility will come, and that prayers will be accepted and requests will be given.

Abhaya Mudra - Hand faces up. Do not be afraid, the protective hand and goodness are with you.

There is an interesting link between the number five and Buddhist mudras as it represents the by five-directions and the five colours of white, yellow, red, blue and green.

East signifies confidence and fearlessness. The hands are in a mudra of casting out fear. With the daily occurrence of violence and natural disaster around our world, many people find it difficult to pursue their way forward into the future. The tranquility gained from following the Buddha’s way better enables one to remain calm; like a mountain unmoved by ravaging elements, one can approach each day without fear.

West whose hands are in a mudra of meditative concentration. It signifies infinite light and boundless life. Amitabha Buddha presides over the Western Pure Land.

The central direction represents wealth.  The hands are in the mudra of the ceremony of unction. Humans craving for material-wants find themselves in a futile exercise. At best, the joy derived from materialism is short-lived.

South. The hands are in a mudra of touching the ground, which symbolizes Sakyamuni Buddha’s resolve to overcome the temptations of Mara and thereby gain supreme enlightenment. He represents beauty and dignity. The practice of Buddhism cultivates inner beauty and sincerity. This in turn results in a more relaxed and pleasing external beauty.

North. Signifies calmness and purity. The hands are in the mudra of casting out fear. 

The teachings of the Buddha can purify and calm the mind so that fear-creating problems can be faced, and brought under control.




Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hamsa and Hinduism

Hamsa has a special position in India's rich culture and has become one of their most sacred symbols. It came to India without changing its form or meaning. Indians call Hamsa, Humsa Hand. It is a symbol, which is well known and loved in India culture. The five fingers in the hand of Hinduism represent the five elements of nature and the five energy centers of our body (chakra).

In Hinduism, the name of this practice is Mudras, which corresponds to the culture of Hamsa. According to Mudras, the five fingers of the hand represent the five-energy flows of the human body that are continually going up and down throughout the body.

Hands are a source of healing for Hinduism. Mudra is the symbolic language of the hands and means the movement of the hands.The reason for all illnesses (whether flu or cancer) are stress and sadness as all diseases are caused by subconscious reasons. It is possible to change the mood and prevent disease by applying the fingers to cure it using Mudras.

Each finger represents a different element and Energy:

Thumb - (Agni Tattava)- Fire Element - The Solar Plexus Chakra 

Forefinger, index finger - (Vaayu Tattava) - Air Element - The Heart Chakra

Middle Finger - (Akaşa Tattava) - Ethereal Elements - The Throat Chakra

Ring Finger - (Prithivi Tattava) - Land Element - The Root Chakra 

Pinkie, little finger - (Apas Tattava) - Water Element - The Sacral Chakra



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hamsa



Hamsa Meaning or Hand of Fatima - A Universal Symbol of Protection
Studies have shown that this image and belief started to solidify in the Middle East, before the time of the main Egyptian civilizations in two basic forms.

Historically a wide geographic area, included the Middle East, considered the Hamsa sacred hand symbol as the symbol of God's hand in the earth. It helped to make them feel the existence of God in everything and in every new formation. The Hamsa amulet was seen as the symbol of holiness, healing and miracles, which would pull the forces of good to the bearer and protect them from unseen dangers, disease, and neutralize the negative energies of envy and the forces of evil.

These symbols and belief slowly transmitted themselves into the Jewish religion and into the first great symbolic culture of the Egyptian Civilization.

The Hamsa icon not only has a special place in Judaism, it has also evolved to become regarded as sacred and respected symbol in Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shamanism, Jain beliefs and in Anatolia.

In its simplest form the symbol for Hamsa is the hand.

It is talismanic symbol that they believed would protect them from harm against the evil forces and bring them goodness, abundance, fertility, luck and good health.

Hamsa is an icon used by man as a defence, in his struggle against the forces of evil.

Hamsa hand or Hand of Fatima can now be found as an attractive symbol in people’s homes or may even be worn by them as ornaments. Many people still place it in their homes where the guests can see in the moment they enter. As there is a widespread belief that it will protect the house and household from disasters primarily fire.



Monday, August 19, 2013

The cycle of nature

In the cycle of nature there is no such thing as victory or defeat: there is only movement.

The winter struggles to reign supreme, but, in the end, is obliged to accept spring’s victory, which brings with it flowers and happiness.

The summer would like to make its warm days last for ever, because it believes that warmth is good for the earth, but, finally, it has to accept the arrival of autumn, which will allow the earth to rest.

The gazelle eats the grass and is devoured by the lion. It isn’t a matter of who is the strongest, but God’s way of showing us the cycle of death and resurrection.
And within that cycle there are neither winners nor losers, there are only stages that must be gone through. When the human heart understands this, it is free, able to accept difficult times and not be deceived by moments of glory.

Both will pass. One will succeed the other. And the cycle will continue until we liberate ourselves from the flesh and find the Divine Energy.

Therefore, when the fighter is in the ring – whether by his own choice or because unfathomable destiny has placed him there – may his spirit be filled with joy at the prospect of the fight ahead. If he holds on to his dignity and his honour, then, even if he loses the fight, he will never be defeated, because his soul will remain intact.

And he will blame no one for what is happening to him.
Ever since he fell in love for the first time and was rejected, he has known that this did not put paid to his ability to love.

What is true in love is also true in war.

Paulo Coelho – Manuscript found in Accra



Sunday, August 18, 2013

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...



“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Celebration Is Unconditional

"To me, life in its totality is good. And when you understand life in its totality, only then can you celebrate; otherwise not. Celebration means: whatsoever happens is irrelevant – I celebrate. Celebration is not conditional on certain things: "When I am happy then I will celebrate," or, "When I am unhappy I will not celebrate." No. Celebration is unconditional; I celebrate life. It brings unhappiness – good, I celebrate it. It brings happiness – good, I celebrate it. Celebration is my attitude, unconditional to what life brings." - Osho


Friday, August 16, 2013

Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.
― Mother Teresa

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What is Karma?

There is a lot of misunderstanding around this word. Karma simply means action. Every action has consequences. Conscious choice making is the most effective way of creating future consequences of karma. Karma creates the future, but it is also an echo from the past. Karma conditions our soul through memory, desire and imagination. Most people are prisoners of Karma, because it becomes a conditioned reflex and produces predictable outcomes in their lives. The goal of enlightenment is to break the in shackles of Karma.

Karma is not physical, it is spiritual, and we carry karma forward through time within a given lifetime or, as some believe, from one lifetime until the next. Once accrued, the balancing action of karma plays out on the stage of our everyday lives through our bodies, thoughts, feelings, relationships, circumstances, and experiences. The name of the game of life is to pay off our karmic debts rather than accruing new ones.

Just as gravity is a law of the physical world, so is karma a law of the spiritual world. We are held responsible for our actions and, more precisely, for the intention of our actions. Spiritually, as well as physically, the type and quality of seeds one plants will determine the quality of the crop to be harvested.

If we have imbalances in our consciousness (known as karmic debts), we either find ourselves presented with the same lesson again and again within one lifetime until we gain the wisdom and value of the lesson being presented, or we re-embody, carrying the karma over from one lifetime till the next. Spirit is forever patient with our process of learning.

Karma is not about retribution, vengeance, punishment or reward, but a reaping of the harvest we ourselves have planted. Through our thoughts and behaviors, we sow seeds that are later harvested.

When karma comes present in our lives, it is because we are being given the opportunity to reap our harvest. There is no such thing as a good harvest or a bad harvest. It is just our harvest. It is our opportunity to make different choices in life than those that caused our karmic accrual in the first place. Karma is at once the consequence of past actions and the opportunity for healing and balancing in the present. It is a balancing action that offers us chances through life circumstances, situations, and relationships to learn important spiritual lessons.



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pranayama Mudras

Hand Seals for Breathing Practices

Gyan Mudra - Chin Mudra

The word Gyan means wisdom in Sanskrit. Thus, practicing the Gyan Mudra is believed to help instill wisdom and spiritual enlightenment. This is why the Gyan Mudra is widely used in many yogic meditation poses such as Pranayama. The Gyan Mudra is also known as the Chin Mudra. Yogis also state that this mudra is the gesture of knowledge.
One of the main benefits of the Gyan Mudra is its ability to relax the body and focus the mind to the task of meditation. It also helps to relieve stress and transcend worldly problems.
This mudra helps gain control of the lower parts of the lungs in adham pranayama. Join the tips of the thumbs and index fingers in as perfect a circle as possible. The other three fingers should be kept parallel to one another. Place the mudra facing downwards on the upper thighs and breathe deeply.

This mudra helps us to breathe better into the middle sections of the lungs in madhyam pranayama. Join the tips of the index fingers and thumbs as in chin mudra and then curl the other three fingers into the palms. Place the mudra on the upper thighs and breathe deeply.







Adhi Mudra

The upper regions of the lungs are especially utilized when we breathe in the adhyam pranayama with the adhi mudra. Close all the four fingers in a fist over the thumb. Place the mudra facing downwards on the thighs and breathe deeply.



Brahma Mudra

This mudra is used in the performance of complete yogic breathing (mahat yoga pranayama), in which we consciously breathe into each of the different lung sections, in succession. Make both hands into a fist with the thumbs inside the fists (as in adhi mudra). Turn the fists under so that the backs of the hands are facing downwards. Bring the hands together, with the opposing knuckles touching each other, hold them in front of the navel and breathe deeply.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Meditation Mudras

These hand gestures are easily combined with yoga postures and are often used during breath work and meditation. Some hasta mudras are symbolic, representing a certain deity or quality. These often tie in with our understanding of the chakra system, Indian ayurvedic thought, Chinese acupuncture meridians, and even astrology. In general, mudras are considered to work through the reflex zones, by which each part of the hand is associated with a part of the body and brain.


Anjali Mudra – Prayer Seal

This mudra is often seen in India, where people use it to greet, thank, and express respect. Anjali is Sanskrit term which means, “to offer” or “to salutate”, and the term mudra means “seal”. So basically, it symbolizes that we are “honoring and celebrating this moment”. Anjali mudra sign has many meanings.


“This gesture signifies the potential for an intention to progress to greatest spiritual awakening. When done properly the palms are not flat against each other; the knuckles at the base of the fingers are bent a little, creating space between the palms and fingers of the two hands resembling a flower yet to open, symbolizing the opening of our hearts.” - Krishnamacharya

We can apply this gesture to many asanas instead of keeping our hands separate; it can be a reminder for us to keep an inner attitude of peace during our practice. Also, once we truly understand what it means and we embrace this meaning it can help us ensure the position is based on humility rather than an ego expression to achieve perfection on a physical level. Anjali mudra it is known also as Pranam Mudra, Namaste Mudra and Pray position and most of the time we perform it with our hands in the center of our heart chakra, this represents the balance and harmony between the right and left side reunited on our center. This balance can be not only physical but also mental and emotional, and the idea is to bring us to the center to prepare ourselves for meditation and contemplation.

Dhyani Mudra

In this mudra, the back of the right hand rests on the palm of the other in such a way that the tips of the thumbs lightly touch one another. The hands rest in the lap. The right hand, resting on top, symbolizes the state of enlightenment; the other hand, resting below, the world of appearance. This gesture expresses overcoming the world of appearance through enlightenment, as well as the enlightened state of mind for which samsara and nirvana are one. In a special form of this mudra, the middle, ring, and little fingers of both hands lie on top one another and the thumbs and index finger of each hand, touching each other, form a circle, which here also symbolizes the world of appearance and the true nature of reality.


Bhairava Mudra

Bhairava is one of the forms of Shiva, said to be fearsome and formidable. The consort of Shiva in this case is called Bhairavi (Shakti) that is, the power that manifests this particular aspect of existence.There is a distinct sect of tantra who worship this aspect of Shiva and Shakti. They are called bhairavis. There is also a well-known tantric text called the Bhairava Tantra. For the purpose of meditative practice, this is a particularly comfortable mudra. It is a mudra that people do almost automatically.


Sanmukhi Mudra – Closing of the Six Gates


This mudra allows our sensory organs to rest in deep silence as we let go of outer distraction and turn our gaze inward. As the “seal of the inner source”, it is also known as Yoni mudra. 
Sit in a meditative position. Press on the little flap in front of your ears with your thumbs to block sound from your ears. Cover your eyes with your index fingers, touch the sides of your nostrils with your middle fingers, and place the ring and little fingers above and below your lips to symbolically cover the mouth. Keeping the elbows raised, breath steadily in Sanmukhi Mudra and enjoy this deep silence. When you feel tired, lower the arms and sit in quite stillness for mediation or contemplation. If you wish, apply a light, equal pressure to both nostrils while still allowing space for an even flow of air.