Tattva yoga – the power of Mudra

We see mudra used in a hatha yoga practice, buddhist practice, as well as in traditional South Asian dance, like bharatnatyam and kathak. Our hands express our inner feelings and deeper consciousness, so in a more vulgar form we see mudra used every day, when things are ok we make an “o” by joining the tips of the index and thumb, or give a “thumbs up” sign, and we express peace by raising the index and middle fingers, which can express the opposite if the hand is reversed!

The ancient seers taught that our bodies are composed of the same five elements – called tattvas – of earth (prithvi), water (jal), fire (agni), air (vayu) and ether (aakash) that make up the entire universe.

Hasta mudra – precise hand gestures – is used to balance these five elements in the physical and energy body. The thumb connects to the element of fire, the index to air, the middle finger affects ether, the ring finger balances earth, and the little finger affects the water element.

Hasta means hand, and mudra means an energetic seal. The entire body can also be used to form a mudra, which is done through asana, or whole body postures. When sitting in meditation, the legs are crossed in any number of ways, which deliberately channel energy upward through the spinal column.

In some cases, and depending upon the health of the practitioner, the results are immediate, and in other, more chronic cases, the benefits will be felt after a period of time with regular practice. If the body is pure and healthy, the sensitivity will be heightened, whereas a body that is full of toxins from a poor diet, alcohol or poor overall health will be less sensitive to the effects of mudra, and will require a longer practice.

For real benefit, mudra should be practiced daily, with each specific mudra being held anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes depending on the desired effect and the mudra concerned. It is ideally associated with meditation, but can be done anywhere at any time!

Please come back to this page soon to find more detailed information with clear instructions and benefits for a variety of mudras!