Healing Mudras, for Confidence, Health, Prosperity

Mudras

A mudra is a bodily posture or symbolic gesture. In Hindu and Buddhist iconography every Buddha is depicted with a characteristic gesture of the hands. Such gestures correspond to natural gestures (of teaching, protecting, and so on) and also to certain aspects of the Buddhist teaching or of the particular Buddha depicted.


The origins of the word mudra are uncertain as is the precise evolution of its meaning. At a very early period in the post-Vedic literature of India the term mudra designated the idea of a seal or the imprint left by a seal. Somewhat later usage takes on the meaning of “way of holding the fingers”, designating very precisely a ritual gesture. The Pali word for mudra, muddika, derives from mudda, meaning authority. There is thus a developing inter-relationship in these meanings of a gesture enhancing and authenticating the spoken word with mystic and magical values. The gesture is a sign, a ritual seal; seal implies authenticity. As Buddhism spread to China a further usage of the term came to identify mudras as ‘marks of identify’ of the deity being personified.


The symbolic hand gestures called mudras are of two general types. First, the most ancient form of mudras, dating from pre-Buddhist times, are those presented with the purpose as signs symbolic of the metaphysical aspect of Esoteric ceremonies. Mudras used in this sense are of significant importance in the rites of Tibetan Tantrism, Chinese Chen-yen and Japanese Shingon Buddhism. This, of course, is within the larger context of Tantric meditation where the Three Mysteries, or the forces of the spirit, speech, and the body are directed at the one and only goal: enlightenment.


Mudras, along with asanas (reflecting the body), mandalas (reflecting the spirit) and mantras (reflecting speech) all provide expedient means in achieving enlightenment. Apart from acknowledging this important aspect of the ritualistic use of mudras in certain schools of Buddhism and the importance of Tantrism in contributing to the expanded use of mudras, our attention is instead directed to the other general type of mudra, the purely iconographic, as represented in Buddhist/Hindu sculpture and painting.


The use of the mudras is quite common in the Hindu Poojas, Tantric worships, Yoga and also in Classical Indian dances. In Hindu iconography, the deities are often depicted with their hands making various mudras - like the twin gestures of dispelling fears and granting boons. Various deities have several specific mudras which are associated with them. They are used by the practitioner for various purposes - like activating the various nerve centers, to convey a feeling or to appease a deity etc.


Something to keep in mind, in Natya Sastra (classical dance) and in Yoga also there are several similarly named mudras which are at times quite different from the Pooja mudras. For example the Yoni mudra used in Yoga is totally different from the Yoni mudra used in Pooja.

Each finger represents one of the five elements—the thumb is agni (fire), the forefinger is vayu (air), the middle finger is akash (ether), the ring finger is prithvi (earth) and the little finger is jal (water).

There are two types of mudras, single-hand and double-hand. The single-handed mudras number 28 and are called Aasanyukta. There are 23 double-handed mudras called Sawyakta

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ABHAYA (ABHAYAPRADA): Gesture of fearlessness and granting protection.


The Abhaya, or fearlessness gesture is one of the most commonly depicted mudras, representing benevolence and the absence of fear. The gesture confers onto others the same freedom from fear, so this mudra can also be interpreted to mean “fear not”. The gesture is made with the right hand raised to shoulder height, with the arm bent and the palm facing outward. A Buddhist legend tells of when the historical Buddha was being attacked by an angry elephant, he simply held up his hand in the fearlessness gesture and calmed the raging animal.





AHAMKARA: Self-confidence.

Self-confidence and self-assertion. For counteracting fear and timidity. Bend index fingers slightly and put the upper phalanx of the thumb to the side of the middle phalanx of the index finger, at the upper part. Other fingers are straight.




AKASH (AAKASH / AKASHI): Sky posture.

The sky has an attribute - recess or space. Another attribute is sound. Sound is regarded as the eternal spirit. Sound travels in waves, which are scattered in the sky. By catching the sound waves, we are able to hear these on radio. As the sky provides space outside, so is the sky spreads inside. The lack or excess of elements in the sky outside leads to imbalance. The third attribute of the sky is vacuum or nothingness. This is the attribute that fills the sky. The sky can be filled only when it has nothing. How can already filled sky be filled? The yoga helps practice meditation in the inner space. Emotions get purified when one concentrates in the heart. The middle finger and the heart are interrelated.


Thumb and middle finger are joined. Index, ring, and pinky fingers are extended. Mana (head) mudra. Mana mudras form an integral part of kundalini yoga because they utilize eyes, ears, nose, tongue and lips.



Sawyakta Double Hand ANJALI (GASSHO / HRIDAYA / NAMASKARA): Gesture of greeting and adoration, veneration, honor or celebration, the diamond handclasp.

The gesture of two palms pressed together and held near the heart, means to "honor or celebrate". It is our Hindu greeting, two joined as one, the bringing together of matter and spirit, the self meeting the self in all. This mudra is reserved for praying figures, which often accompany a statue of the Buddha in the art of India or South East Asia. The Anjali is made with two hands joined vertically in front of the chest, as in the attitude of prayer. This mudra evokes an offering of good feelings of one towards another. This mudra can also indicate veneration if it is made at the level of the face. Hasta (hand), meditative mudra. Redirects the prana emitted by hands back into body.

Universally used by people in India and South-East Asia for salutation, it evokes an offering of good feelings, of one’s person, etc. and also indicates veneration if it is made at the level of the face.




APANA (APAN):
Gives energy and makes one more self-confident. The tip of the second and the third fingers should be slightly pressed against the inner part of the tip of the thumb as shown. The other two fingers should be kept straight. Improves the excretory system by cleaning the waste from the body, cures constipation and stomach aches caused due to which.




APAN VAYU (MRITSANJEEVINI):
First aid for heart attacks. The tip of the index finger should be pressed slightly against the root of the thumb and second and the third finger should touch the inner tip of the thumb. Cures palpitation of the heart, strengthens the heart and is good for heart patients.





BHUDI (BHUDDI / BHUDY / BHUDDY / BUDDHI):
Improves feeling and intuition and helps maintain the fluid balance in the body. Tip of little finger (Mercury) touches tip of thumb for clear and intuitive communication. Harmonizing.




BRIHASPATI: Planet Jupiter.

With the two index fingers together, the power of Jupiter, or good luck and expansion is activated. Together they focus your energy to break through barriers.


Shikhara with both hands as if holding the sacred thread.





GANESHA: The Elephant God.

Ganesha is the elephant god who overcomes all obstacles. Reportedly, this mudra stimulates heart and lung activity and opens the fourth chakra supplying courage, confidence, and openness to other people. Hold your left palm in front of your heart with the palm facing away from you. Face your right palm toward you and hook the fingers. Take a deep breath in; as you exhale strongly pull the hands away from each other without releasing the fingers. On your inhalation release, still keeping the fingers linked. Do this six times. Let the hands, still linked, rest against your sternum for a moment. Then repeat the same exercise with the hands facing in opposite directions. Sit quietly for a moment and notice the energy in the heart and lung areas.




GYAN (GIN / GNYAN / GUYAN / JNANA): Posture of knowledge, instruction by silence or contemplation, Gesture of teaching, intuitive knowledge.

Touch the tip of your thumb with the tip of your index finger and keep the remaining fingers absolutely straight. This mudra increases mental power and sharpens memory. Increases brain power, mental concentration, memory, intellect. Cures insomnia, if done in the night by relieving tension inducing peaceful sleep. In meditation the flow of energy increases towards the astral self. Hasta (hand), meditative mudra. Redirects the prana emitted by hands back into body.




HAKINI: Body, mind and soul.

Help for concentration. Let the tips of the corresponding fingers of each hand touch. People tend to naturally put their fingers in this position while talking. This helps to concentrate. This finger position has been researched quite well; it has been determined that it promotes the cooperation between the right and left brain hemispheres. It is also recommended today in memory training. It opens access to the right hemisphere, which is where the memory is stored. This mudra also improves and deepens respiration, and the brain profits from it as well.




KALESVARA:
This mudra calms the mind. It is powerful and can change character traits and eliminates addictive behavior. The middle fingers of both hands should touch at the tips. The first two joints of the index finger and the thumbs should touch.





KATVA VALAMBITA: Ease sorrow.

Making a gesture below the waist to signal the easing of sorrow.




KUBERA: Make a wish.

Opens and decongests, cleanses the frontal sinuses, especially if you draw the air upward while inhaling. It also gives us inner repose, confidence, and serenity. The practice is simple. In your mind, formulate your wish or goal very clearly into words. Ask your heart whether this is good for you and whether it enriches your surrounding world. Now place the three fingers together, phrase your wish in a positive way, as you say it out loud three times. Press your fingers together while you do this.





MANTANQI (MATANGI):
Strengthens the breathing impulse in the solar plexus.





PRAN (PRANA): Vital air posture.

Life mudra, helps fatigue, nervousness and is vitalizing. The vital air (pran vayu) enters the lungs along with breath. In turn, lungs mix it with blood and send it to the heart. Action of combustion starts when glucose present in cells and vital air (oxygen) present in blood come into contact, which produces energy The pranacharya have identified five types of air in the body - pran, apaan, samaan, udaan and vyaan.


They are spread in various parts of the body. It is the pran that energizes the body. Excess or deficiency of pran creates imbalance. Pran mudra is used to strike the balance of pran and keep the body energetic. Vayu means wind. Any disorder of this element in the body is taken care with this mudra. Helps in pains, rheumatism, gout, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, paralysis and any blood circulatory disorder. Also corrects the disorder of the gas in the stomach.


The tips of the ring finger and little finger should be slightly pressed against the tip of the thumb. Increases life force, immunity, increases muscular strength, removes fatigue, nervousness, increases power of the eyes and reduces the number of the spectacles. Kaya (postural) utilizes asanas with breathing and concentration.




PRITHVI (PRITHIVI):
Helps insecurity, stimulates the liver and stomach. The earth element is also a constituent in the formation of the body. It is a gross element, which has more weight content. By Prithvi mudra, the earth element is balanced. The earth is a fundamental element, which helps evolution of life. It is like a mother to living beings. The earth has endurance capacity. The Jain scriptures exhort ascetics to make themselves like earth. 'Prithvi same muni hveja'. The Prithvi mudra is useful for developing the quality of steadiness. A steadfast person can be forbearing. The earth tolerates all types of circumstances. Whatever be the conditions - winter, summer or rains - the earth remains balanced. Not only this, the earth forgives all those who defile it and pollute the environment. The solid element, present in the body, is a part of the earth. We take earth element only from the food we eat. The deficiency of earth element weakens the body. The Prithvi mudra is useful for the development of earth element in the body. The ring finger, which denotes the earth element, is used in worshipping and applying auspicious mark (tilak).


Sit down comfortably. Touch your ring finger to the tip of the thumb and press it little. Rest three fingers should be held straight and then keep your palm at your knee. Removes physical weakness, increases vitality, luster and glow and gives chetna shakti, gives life to the sick and bliss to the healthy. Strengthens and energies the body and makes the mind liberal and happy. Makes the body balanced and smart.




SHAKTI:
In honor of Shakti, the goddess of life energy. This practice stimulates breathing in the lower chest area. It has a calming effect and will help you to sleep at night. It can also help to counteract spasms in the intestines and menstrual cramps. Touch the tip of your right ring and pinky fingers to your left ring and pinky fingers. Bend your other fingers lightly over your thumbs. Breathe deeply into your abdomen, all the way into the pelvic bowl. Make the exhalation as slow as possible. Do as needed or three times daily for 12 minutes. May induce lethargy if overdone.




TSE:
This is a good mudra for handling depression. Place hands on the thighs and place the tip of the thumb on the root of the little finger. Encircle your thumbs with the other four fingers while slowly inhaling. Hold your breath for a few moments. Slowly exhale and then open your hands.






VAJRAPRADAMA: Gesture of unshakable confidence.

The fingertips of the hands are crossed. The fingertips of the hands are crossed, representing unshakable confidence.


source: http://www. bellaterreno. com/art/a_religion/buddhism/buddhist_mudra. aspx