15 Aug Mundras
MUDRAS – The power in our hands
As I was recently reviewing Gertrud Hirschi’s amazing book, Mudras – yoga in your hands, I read the paragraph on her meditation on the term mudra, and the symbol of a lock that was revealed to her. A lock always hides a secret. And so the desire was born to write some things about the secret power that is in our hands.
We frequently use gestures in an unconscious way to seal something, for example, when giving special weight to a decision, or reaching an agreement with another person, or even with cosmic consciousness. In precisely the same way, we may also seal something with our inner forces – we reach an understanding with ourselves. I don’t believe we will ever completely understand the essence of the mudras, as Gertrud Hirschi says.
But what is certain is that we can effectively engage and influence our body and our mind by bending, crossing, extending, or touching the fingers with other fingers. Isn’t this wonderful? The palms and soles of the feet, the fingers and the toes, are reflex points that have to do with the meridians and with many interactions. They, also have an additional direct relationship to the heart and lungs. The extension of the ten fingers has a reflex effect, enlarging the thoracic vertebrae and increasing the volume in the lungs. The thumbs and index fingers influencing the upper lobes of the lungs, the middle and ring fingers the middles lobes and the little fingers the down lobes. The simple stretching and opening of the fingers has a positive effect on the function of the lungs and the heart and strengthens the respiratory and cardiovascular system. This information could well be incorporated by formal medicine in conjunction with the appropriate treatment of an asthma patient for example, to expedite his recovery. With increasing age, many people can no longer properly stretch their fingers. This shows tension in the heart area, which often indicates the prelude to heart disease or a tendency toward osteoporosis. This slightly crooked hand position also impedes inhalation. The result is that the optimum amount of air is not drawn into the lungs, especially into the lung borders, which promotes contamination in those areas. I believe that if modern medicine used ancient knowledge in combination, the treatments would be done faster and easier. The success rate of medicine would increase rapidly if modern knowledge of science were combined with ancient knowledge and tradition. But to return to our main topic, various gestures and positions of the fingers can have a positive effect on both our physical and psycho-emotional level. Isn’t it wonderful that a mudra can have so many positive effects? Not only can we use mudras to influence all of our body region and functions, but every act of touching and every movement of the hands has its special effect. Doing handicrafts, playing an instrument, washing the hands, or massaging, all of these acts have long lasting effects. Particularly when you wash your hands, you can squeeze them vigorously and massage them at the same time. Press the four fingers of one hand together with the other hand and turn the fingers you are holding to both sides. Then make fists, open the hands again, and spread the fingers. Or vigorously rub both palms together. Or cross your fingers with each other, turn the palms outward, and stretch your arms. This will refresh you, improve your breathing and strengthen your heart. If you sit at a desk for a longer period of time and your neck becomes tense or painful, use the thumb touching the inside of the hand. If you place the index finger, middle finger and ring finger of one hand on the longitudinal grooves of the back of the other hand and gently massage back and forth, this will have a regulating effect on the blood pressure. A pleasant game to improve your mood, refresh you in a holistic way and stimulate every bodily function is hand tapping. It is hard to stay serious when you do this, and children can‘t seem to get enough of it. Clap or tap your hand at least eight times in rhythm. At first clap in the usual way. Then let the hands hang down and clap the back of the hands together, then the back of the fingers, the fingertips, the outer side of the hand, the inner side of the hand, the wrists, the knuckles, etc. The only limit is your imagination. Now you will notice that depending on what you are tapping or how you are clapping, a different tone is created. Use your hands to play your own drum concert. Drumming haw been used since time immemorial to initiate healing processes. Today, people are using it for this same purpose again. With a bit of imagination you can put together your own program of hand exercises. You can’t do anything wrong here if you carry out every movement slowly and consciously. Run your thumb along your fingertips in a gentle and conscious way. This feels wonderful! It’s refreshing for your brain. The brain should be trained like a muscle every day. It has been proved that even after a few days of rest in bed (after an operation for example), the activity of the brain is reduced. It has also been demonstrated that the brain can regenerate very quickly through the appropriate training. Practicing mudras can be called pure brain training. There is a positive influence on the brain waves, particularly when the fingertips touch each other. When we visualize inner images at the same time, this requires a great deal of ability from the brain and promotes the power of the imagination. This power is one of the preconditions for alertness and clear thinking. You can also form a mudra and think of something else at the same time. However, I have found that the effect is accelerated and intensified when you simultaneously assume a meditative position, focus on your hand, and observe your breathing. Observing the normal flow of the breath or influencing and directing the breath is a very important way of supporting the mudra. Colors influence our minds and our lives on every level. The course of an illness can also be reversed with the help of colors in combination with mudras. In color therapy, various shades of color are specifically applied to regenerate the organs and glands, as well as to activate the processes of elimination, respiration, and circulation. Colors also influence our moods and every type of mental activity. While holding a mudra you can either visualize a color or concentrate on the color of an object. The first approach is better because the color will then come to life, which means you can imagine the color as dark or light, dull or bright, connected to forms, or flowing, etc. For example, you feel the need to go into the forest because you can best regenerate yourself there but don’t have the time to do so. You can imagine a very green forest, and in your thoughts, you can totally luxuriate in the green of the leaves. This will refresh you inwardly. Such visualizations have long been used successfully, and pictures of lush landscapes are specifically installed in many hospitals to support the healing process. Try it out! Here is some basic information about the effect of colors on us, that you can use simultaneously with a mudra.
- Red stimulates the circulation, makes us alert, warms and relaxes, but can also bring out aggression.
- Orange improves the mood, promotes lightness, stimulates sexuality, but can also stimulate superficiality.
- Yellow stimulates digestion, makes us mentally alert, and lets life appear in a bright light, but it can also be obtrusive.
- Green is generally calming color, it regenerates on every level, and gives us the desire to start something new.
- Blue is also calming, but this calmness goes deeper and provides a sense of security, it conveys protection, and symbolizes the silent yearning for the incomprehensible.
- Violet is the color of transformation, change and spirituality.
- Brown is the color of stability and connection to the earth, but too much can lead to stagnation.
- White bears the entire spectrum of the other colors within itself, containing birth as well as death
- Black is the color of protection, of gathering strength, of retreat and of the emptiness that already bears abundance within itself. Many teenagers like to wear black because they stand at the gateway of a new period of their lives. However too much black weakens the organism, puts us in a sad mood, and promotes pessimism.
There are basically no bad colors, but it is important to use the right proportions. Every color can also be seen in our aura or energy body. When a color gains dominance or is not in its right place, it will initially have an effect on the general feeling of well-being. With time, a health disorder may develop as a result. And now some simple tips to perform mudras. Form your hands and place the fingers as they are shown in various illustrations. You can start with a simple mudra like anjali mudra. When you do this, the pressure of the fingers should be very light and fine, and your hands should be relaxed. But perhaps you may notice that this isn’t all that simple. The fingers are rebellious, too inflexible, and the hands slip away ro tire quickly. The flexibility of the hands has a direct relationship to the flexibility of the entire body. If we are tense at a certain place in the body, this tension will be expressed at a corresponding corresponding area on the hands. Even a person’s age can be determined by the way we spread our fingers – at least that’s what Chinese healers claim. The nerve endings of the hands, as well as the feet, occupy a particularly large area in the brain. This area is much larger than that of the arms and legs. Cerebral activity is activated and trained by touching and feeling, especially with the finger tips. For example, finger games are employed to remedy children’s learning difficulties. These games stimulate the corresponding connections in the brain and activate the brain waves. When mudras are practiced consciously, which means we focus on our fingers and whatever they are resting on, they activate large areas of the brain. Many things can be said about this amazing art that we hold in our hands. For the time being I will stop here and will be back soon with specific mudras and more information. Namaste