This coming week we will explore cleansing yoga practices from breathing techniques to yoga postures and mudras. We slowly move away from the Sacral Chakra and embrace the Solar Plexus. These practices will help us to flush the physical and emotional systems, reset the mind and give us a sense of motivation and replenishment.
It is believed in Yoga philosophy, that we have thousands of subtle energy pathways running through our bodies. These are called Nadis. Many of these Nadis end in our hands and fingertips which is why you might notice hand gestures within some yoga practices.
When we hold our fingers, thumbs and palms together in different positions we can begin to create new circuits of energy. The Mudra acts as a link between two or more energy paths. If a mudra is practiced consistently over a period of time the new circuit of energy will begin to strengthen and develop. You may have heard me in class mention a visualisation of electricity, streams within vast landscapes, and even traffic jams. A flow of energy, a direction of movement.
Our body and finger tips have sensitive connections to the five elements, Agni (Fire), Vayu (Air), Akasha (Aether), Prithvi (Earth) and Jala (Water); and when there is disturbance in these elements, it can lead to an imbalanced mind and cause our body to suffer from discomfort or disease (think of it as 'dis ease'). While it can be restored and balanced with physical yoga postures, there is another amazing branch of the yoga tree called Mudras (hand gestures).
Each finger and thumb represent an element:
The thumb: FIRE
The first finger: AIR
The middle finger: ETHER
Ring finger: EARTH
Little finger: WATER
Apana Mudra, also known as the purification Mudra, detoxifies and purifies the body and balances the elements of space and earth within it. It eliminates waste, toxins and chemicals in the body and is said to help prevent diseases and illnesses. Apana Mudra is especially beneficial to women, helping to regulate the menstrual cycle and easing childbirth. It also strengthens the immune system on all levels, detoxifies the body and balances the elements of space and earth within. Apana Mudra improves digestion and helps clear the skin. It can help you to feel grounded and process difficult emotions.
Practicing the mudra.
Open the palm of the left hand.
Guide the middle finger & finger finger to gently press together.
Fold the thumb into the palm.
Bend the middle finger & ring finger to meet the thumb.
Allow the tips of the thumb, middle and ring finger to meet.
The index and small finger remain extended.
The middle finger represents ether (outward moving energy) and the ring finger represents earth (downward moving energy.) The thumb represents fire which ignites the qualities in the joining fingers. The index finger and little finger remain straight. This Mudra is usually practiced with both hands.
Benefits of the Apana Mudra:
Eliminates toxins from the body.
Generates energy in the liver.
Helps to improve flow of perspiration, urine and bowel movements.
Relieves indigestion, gas, acidity and constipation.
Create a sense of calm.
Strengthens and cleans parts of the body.
Purifies the entire body,
Helps stomach pain, vomiting and nausea.
Balances energy within the root chakra.
You can practice this Mudra anytime, morning, after a meal, in the evening before bed and of course, your meditation sessions. 5 minutes is lovely, 20 minutes is even better, as with Yin yoga the longer you can hold in a relaxed way the body will open, a new flow of energy has the opportunity to flourish.
Take a deep breath in, smile and breathe out.