How Are Mudras Practiced?
Quite simply: Form your hands and place the fingers as they are shown in the various illustrations. 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 or 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 area in the hands. Even a person’s age can be determined on the basis of the spread fingers—at least this is what the Chinese healing practitioners claim.
My body and my hands have become very flexible through many years of yoga practice. Yet, I can only do the mudra against backaches, which I need the most, with one hand because I have to use the other to hold the fingers in position. At the beginning, you may perhaps also have problems in doing some of the mudras with both hands because you will first have to arrange and hold the fingers of one hand with the other. If this is the case, just do the mudra with the one hand for the time being. If the fingers that should actually be stretched curl on their own again, simply press them onto your thigh or some other place where you can rest them. With time, the tensions will dissolve in the fingers or hand, as well as in the corresponding area of the body. Do the mudra as well as possible and the effect will appear in any
case. In the beginning, it may be difficult to keep the fingers extended. When the fingers get tired, they give in. With time, I am certain that you will gain more strength in your hands, become more flexible, and will be able to use both hands. You will also feel more refreshed and flexible. It is also possible that you will feel somewhat younger. Even when you have become stronger and more flexible, always treat
your fingers in a careful and loving way. It doesn’t matter why you are doing the mudra, it should not only be a healing gesture, but also a holy gesture.
Mudras can be done while seated, lying down, standing, and walking. Be sure that your body posture is symmetrical and centered, and that you are as relaxed and loose as possible. If you sit on a chair while doing them, your back should be straight and your feet should have good contact with the floor. If you do them while lying down, resting on your back is naturally the most suitable position. If you stay in this position for a long period of time, put a small pillow beneath the back of your head to take the strain off the neck. To relieve your back, you can put a cushion under the hollow of the knee or thigh. It is important to remain comfortable and relaxed, for any tension will also hinder the inner flow of energy and we want something new to flow with the mudras. If you do them while walking, make sure you move in an even, calm, and rhythmic way. If you stand while doing them, keep your legs shoulder distance apart. The knees should be relaxed, and the tips of the toes must point forward. If you have a bit more time, you can also do the mudras in a seated meditation position—this will turn them into a longer period of meditation.
When you do this, take into consideration the following basic principlesof meditation technique:
• Sit with an upright pelvis and a straight spinal column on a stable cushion. Both knees should be flat on the ground or at the same height (if necessary, support the lower knee with a cushion until it is at the same height as the other knee).
• Let the hands relax on the thighs.
• Let the shoulders fall back and down in a relaxed way; your chest should be open and free.
• Pull the chin back a bit, and let the neck be long and relaxed.
• Breathe in an even, slow, flowing, and gentle way.
• Never end the meditation suddenly. Always vigorously stretch your arms and legs.
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 hands, 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. How to do this is explained for the individual mudras. Corresponding visualizations and affirmations can be used so that this
never becomes just a routine matter. These also intensify the effects of the mudras. For some exercises, I am no longer certain what has the greatest effect—the mudra, the breathing technique, the visualized image, or the spoken word. But who cares? It fulfills its purpose, lets you feel good, and makes you happy!