I'm a self-confessed mudra junkie. I love mudras (sanskrit for "seals"), which is essentially yoga for your hands. We use mudras as a form of light meditation and manifestation to evoke certain qualities into our lives. Some mudras, though not all, as you'll no doubt gather, are named after prominent figures in Hinduism. Here's a few of my favorite mudras to use in class:
Ganesha Mudra- Named after the Hindu deity Ganesh (also known as Ganesha or Ganapatye and probably a million more names) who removes and places obstacles in our path, the patron of the arts, the remover of ignorance, and most importantly... he's all about change! This mudra keeps us grounded (Ganesh is also the ruler of the root chakra) and focused on what we need to do to make positive change in our lives. If you're into ayurveda, this mudra can evoke kapha dosha.
To get into Ganesha mudra, bring your hands to prayer at heart center. Spin your fingers in opposite directions and slide them across your palms and hook the fingers together.
Prithvi Mudra- Another grounding mudra, this is a mudra that connects us with the earth. Next time you find yourself stressed out or completely overwhelmed, use this mudra and see how it helps! This mudra can help create kapha.
To get into prithvi mudra, extend all fingers out like you're finding the webbing in all of your fingers. Bring your thumb tip to touch the tip of your ring finger. Relax the fingers so that they're extended but touching, keeping this connection.
Garuda Mudra- This mudra represents Garuda, who is a giant bird creature that is Vishnu the sustainer's vehicle. Whenever Vishnu needs to go anywhere, Garuda is there for him. Fun fact: In most Vaishnava temples, i.e. where the main deity worshipped is Vishnu or one of his avatars, there's usually a sculpture of Garuda in one corner of the space. Garuda represents freedom, so when we use Garuda mudra, we are manifesting freedom, in many different forms, into our lives. This mudra can evoke vata.
To get into garuda mudra, fan out your fingers and hook your thumbs together. I like to cue for this mudra during flows, as it fits in perfectly with crescent pose and warrior 1.
Jnana Mudra- Perhaps one of the most well known mudras, jnana mudra (or "chin mudra"), represents the universe (the thumb) crushing the ego (the index finger) and the other fingers represent the three Hindu gunas. We use this mudra to remind ourselves that the universe is bigger than ourselves, bigger than any of our problems, and to disconnect from our sense of "self" (the ego) and return to our natural state of oneness with the universe and each other. This mudra can help balance the doshas and helps soothe vata dosha.
To create jnana mudra, bring your thumb to rest on the nail of your pointer finger. Extend the other three fingers along side one another.
I hope to add some more mudras to the blog soon! Keep checking back! -Katie