Over the years, I've be instructed to place my hands in certain ways during practice. The most notable is Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal, sometimes called Prayer Position) or namaste position. Yet, other, less popular, so to speak, hand yoga poses exist.
During this week's practice, I was reminded of another fairly common yoga hand pose. Placing the thumb and pointer/index finger together, the hands form what is similar to an a-OKAY sign except the two finger pads are pressing together (rather than the nail and thumb pad) and the palms are facing up.
It got me thinking more about what hand yoga is all about and thus, went searching for more...
Mudras, is actual term used for hand yoga. I've heard the term many times before but never connected it to the hand positions.
"Mudra (hand gesture) is a method of citta-bhavana, or cultivating a specific state of mind. There are dozens of mudras, and each represents a certain quality, such as compassion, courage, or wisdom. It is believed that, by practicing mudra, you awaken the seeds of these states within you."
The specific mudra I stated above is called Gyana Mudra and it is believed to be the psychic gesture of knowledge.
I find when I practice this position, I feel an opening or a rush of energy (or air flow) from my straight fingers up my forearms. Weird? Maybe. But more intriguing to me than any thing else.
According to one source, Gyan Mudra stimulates the root chakra and eases tension and depression. It also allows for expansion and knowledge whereby it calms and brings spiritual openness and ease in meditation.
Interestingly, the feeling I get with this mudra may just relate to the air element. Based on Ayurveda, this mudra boosts the air element and stimulates the brain, empowering the mind, nervous system and pituitary gland. Who knows if this is the case, but a logical explanation!
With so many mudras ( and not just with the hands), I have many to explore and many to research for future posts!
More and more interesting parts of yoga keep unfolding,
Some weeks it is nice to just have a laugh and not get hung up on the yoga terms and poses. In my humble opinion, yoga is suppose to be fun and not taken too seriously. I found this hilarious YouTube video that I couldn't help but share. If you need a good "yoga laugh" have a watch and enjoy your week with some yoga!
Keeping life and yoga on the light side,
As the start of the school year begins, I always have a sense of yearning towards learning. Being nine years since my "last back to school" I still can't shake the feeling of what September brings. And with that I've decided to continue my love of learning with the pursuit of becoming a yoga teacher.
Well you may say, okay Lisa sign up for one of the many 200 hour courses in Edmonton and be on with it. You have years of anatomy and physiology training so you've a got a head start. Why wait any longer?
I would rather take my time with this learning. At times I feel selfish and say that I want my practice to be my practice, and thus just let me do yoga for yoga's sake. But I know ultimately it is in my practice that I will become a better teacher. So it's my prerogative to take it week by week, class by class, pose by pose.
My more personal blog is self-reflection on my yoga practice in classes (various spots around Edmonton and area), through DVDs at home, with reading magazines and websites and ultimately practicing each week with the help of books (my collection is growing!) Expect some form of posting on a weekly basis.
So with this being my first post, I want to explore the beginning words of practice - Namaste. What does it mean anyway?
Namaste as Wikipedia states it is
"is roughly equivalent to "greetings" or "good day," in English, implicitly with the connotation "to be well". As opposed to shaking hands, kissing or embracing each other in other cultures, Namaste is a non-contact form of respectful greeting and can be used universally while meeting a person of different gender, age or social status"
This is why I love yoga so much. Practice begins with such a positive word. What a great way to express wellness with others and self than to say Namaste.
There will be more Namaste in my future...until then.
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.