Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

healthy living ~ hand yoga

What are is essentially Yoga for the hands. If you play a musical instrument, such as a piano or harp. If you embroider, crochet, craft with your hands like I do, then Mudras are the way to exercise and relax your hands. Especially as we age and our joints, muscles, and tendons need special care.  

Here is a little about Mudras and some websites I found helpful. And also a book that was mentioned often with great reviews.

Mudras (Sanskrit for "seal" or "symbol") are small-scale yoga movements, systematic hand gestures involving only the arms and hands. In his book Mudra, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche defines the mudra as, "a symbol expressed with the hands to state for oneself and others the quality of different moments of meditation, such as touching the earth with the right hand as a witness to Buddha's freedom from emotional and mental frivolousness."

There are hundreds of mudra-gestures formed by the ancient yogis and sages, used in a number of traditions as a method of expression, meditation or evocation of energies in the body. Each culture seems to have developed its own mudra language but all are based on four basic hand positions: the open palm, the hollowed palm, the closed fist, and the hand with fingertips together.

Similarities between the traditions - Hindu, Tantric, Egyptian, Polynesian - are manifold. For example, the mudra of Anjali, palms pressed together, is nearly universal in its association with prayer. From the prospective of Indian dance, mudra is a method of pure expression that allows a dancer to tell a story in a universal language. Other more esoteric mudra practices are kept closely guarded by practioners; these special mudras in conjunction with other spiritual exercises are said to have the power to transform man into a living god.

Even the many mudras available for the general public have potential to arouse and activate one's energy channels (nadis) and centers (chakras). They are easy to do, and with proper instruction and meditation, they can help unlock electrical-circuits and subtle channels leading one to become more awake.

Mudras may be practiced almost anywhere. Perhaps when your hands feel cramped after sitting at the computer too long. First find your own natural mudras. See what happens when you stretch your hands, explore the feeling of your fingers curling compared to extending them outward. Recognize which movements resonate within you and then consult with a mudra chart to see what the ancient traditions say. See how mindfully placing your hands in traditional postures compares to your own natural movement. The pressure of the fingers should be very light and your hands should be relaxed. If you are tense at a certain place in the body, this tension will be expressed at a corresponding area in the hands.

Enjoy the primordial practice of mudras as you probably have since birth. One Nepalese tantric dance teacher says that babies are born using mudras, and if you ever watch a newborn's tiny hand movements, you'll see he is right.

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