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Ashtanga yoga: Sophisticated Path To Self-Discovery

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Practicing yoga for more than 7 years, I suddenly decided to try a new direction, which I previously stubbornly avoided due to its rigid nature. Yes, I’m talking about Ashtanga yoga. According to the philosophy of this school, yoga should not be adapted to the weakness and imperfection of the practitioner, but on the contrary, the practitioner should develop himself to meet the ideals of yoga.

Not that I enjoy penance or work at the limit of my possibilities. But it just seemed very attractive to me to achieve the results promised by this practice: the ideal body shape, flexibility and strength, peace of mind, and most importantly, the ability to control your attention, which I really miss sometimes.

So, hearing about the severity of the method, I decided to get the most detailed information. As an expert, I chose my yoga teacher and Scripture scholar. Perhaps what I was able to learn during our conversation will be useful to someone else for the successful start of the Ashtanga yoga practice.

What is Ashtanga yoga?

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Ashtanga yoga is a special practice formed in the course of Hatha yoga. If classical yoga gives priority to breathing exercises, development of flexibility and relaxation, then Ashtanga yoga forms the strength of spirit and body. To achieve the main goal, – Samadhi (full equilibrium, spiritual perfection), – one will need to pass eight difficult stages.

If you think that the practice of Ashtanga yoga does not require any serious effort, then you are wrong! Not everyone is able to go all the way. It requires not only physical endurance but also the willingness to abide by decent rules of life, to radically change your world.

Many people find it difficult to overcome the first stages of the Ashtanga yoga Path. But you can certainly be sure that having achieved success in Ashtanga yoga, physical and spiritual self-improvement, you will not be able to abandon this practice. After all, this is more than just a hobby. This is a very special lifestyle.

Ashtanga yoga is an eight-step path to the ultimate Goal – Samadhi (the highest spiritual perfection). Although the ultimate goal is to achieve spiritual harmony, Ashtanga yoga is very attentive to physical perfection, since the bodily shell and the mental spirit are inextricably connected.

This practice is great for those who have a strong body and mind, eager for achievements. People who want to take refuge in their own spiritual world from external problems often resort to the practice of Ashtanga yoga.

Eight stages (steps) of Ashtanga yoga

In Sanskrit, the word “Ashtanga” means “eight steps”.

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Each of the eight steps of Ashtanga yoga are not easy in their own way. The first two of them, perhaps, are the most important, because they teach human psycho-hygienic rules of life. If there is not enough desire and willpower to make them your way of life, moving on to the next stages is simply meaningless. In other words, if you realize that you are not ready to change yourself spiritually, you should understand that Ashtanga yoga is not for you.

It is very important to have a general understanding of the eight steps before you start practicing Ashtanga yoga. These steps are a guide to how to act in order to live a full, long and happy life and approach spiritual perfection.

The first stage: YAMA

Yama is a set of ethical norms that teach us to communicate with others in the right way. To be brief, it means one thing: treat people the way you want them to treat you.

There are five Yamas:

  1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence, non-harming other living beings.
  2. Satya (सत्य): truthfulness, non-falsehood.
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): non-stealing.
  4. Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): chastity, marital fidelity or sexual restraint.
  5. Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): non-avarice, non-possessiveness.

Second stage: NIYAMA

The step of forming the self-discipline and uplifting spirituality. This step involves regular visits to temples, meditative practices, a study of nature, thinking and walks.

Five Niyamas are:

  1. Śauca (शौच): purity, clearness of mind, speech and body.
  2. Santoṣa (सन्तोष): contentment, acceptance of others and of one’s circumstances as they are, optimism for self.
  3. Tapas (तपस): austerity, self-discipline, persistent meditation, perseverance.
  4. Svādhyāya (स्वाध्याय): study of self, self-reflection, introspection of self’s thoughts, speeches and actions.
  5. Īśvarapraṇidhāna (ईश्वरप्रणिधान): contemplation of the Ishvara (God/Supreme Being, Brahman, True Self, Unchanging Reality), attunement to the supreme consciousness.

Third stage: ASANA

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Asana means ‘posture’ or ‘pose’. So by saying ‘asanas’ we mean body poses. Yoga practitioners know that our physical bodies are temples for our souls. Body care is one of the most important stages on the path to spiritual growth and enlightenment. Performing certain asanas, a person learns concentration and self-discipline.

Fourth stage: PRANAYAMA

Pranayama is the ability to control your breath. It is a set and a system of special techniques that make it possible to establish a relationship between breath, mind, and emotions. Literally, pranayama translates as ‘extension of the prana’ or ‘breath control”. Pranayama practice allows you to rejuvenate the entire body and prolong your lifespan. We can practice pranayama as a separate type of yoga technique, or use it as a component of the complex of yoga practice.

Fifth stage: PRATYAHARA

‘Pratyahara’ means ‘gaining mastery over external influences’.

The purpose of this stage is to achieve a state of distraction of the senses from the surrounding reality and the circulation of the gaze and consciousness inside of you. In other words, pratyahara is the ability to concentrate and not be distracted by various external stimuli. This step gives you the vision of the internal systems, understanding what can stop your personal and inner growth.

Sixth stage: DHARANA

Singing bowl yoga image

Dharana means ‘concentration’ or ‘single focus’. By concentrating and abstracting, we get distracted from external ‘noise’.  This is how we can calm down our mind, which distracts us from knowing more than we are able to understand. It helps us to see the limitless of our possibilities. At this stage, there is a skill to slow down the thought process by focusing on sound, image, energy or body.

Seventh stage: DHYANA

Dhyana means ‘contemplation, reflection’ and ‘profound, abstract meditation’. This is the stage of full development of the properties of meditation and concentration. Conscious inhibition of thought processes allows to calm the mind, to feel serenity, not to give rise to new thoughts. To reach this stage, you need endurance and strength. For achieving this, you have to put a lot of effort and time.

Eighth stage: SAMADHI

Tantric meditation image

Samadhi is a state of intense concentration that can be achieved through meditation. This is a state of bliss and understanding. On this stage, you extend the boundaries of your Self. You start feeling the connection between the divine origin and all living things, unity with nature and the world.

Samadhi is the highest stage of meditation, in which a person experiences oneness with the universe. In samadhi, the mind becomes still. You become totally aware of the present moment.

The Bottom Line

According to the general opinion of the gurus of this type of yoga: no yoga should adapt to the limited opportunities and weaknesses of students, but on the contrary – a person must improve himself to achieve the ideals of yoga. Those who practice Ashtanga yoga, pass the path of spiritual and physical perfection, allowing to make a person healthy and happy.

I hope you’re as inspired to start the Ashtanga yoga class as I am! I’m wishing you a wonderful practice! Namaste!


Katya Ki is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Feng Shui Master, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Yoga

Naked Yoga: a Powerful Self-Discovery Practice

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Naked yoga is increasingly gaining popularity. Asanas are performed without any clothing. It can be practiced by either individual classes or in a group.

The practice of naked yoga is a total exit from the comfort zone. What could be more awkward than naked people around you performing the Cat-Cow pose? But the naked practice is aimed at getting rid of the psychological and emotional blocks, physical body attachments, insecurities, low self-esteem.

After naked yoga practice, most people notice the feeling of liberation. Many people also note that it is very comfortable to perform asanas without clothes that constrain the body. Of course, it may feel awkward at the beginning but the benefits of this practice are simply amazing and definitely worth trying it!

In this article, we will share with you what naked yoga is about and those amazing benefits that may inspire you to try this practice.

Ancient Practice of Naked Yoga

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We used to think that the naked body is related to sexuality and some people even find it vulgar. But we, modern human beings, should remind ourselves that nudity is a natural state of our body. Naked yoga brings us back to our nature and roots and allows us to work with what we have — with all our folds, flaws and shortcomings.

Despite the fact that naked yoga seems to be another marketing move (like goat yoga or cat yoga), in fact, nudity was present in many ancient practices to get rid of attachments to the material.

Naked yoga (Sanskrit: “nagna yoga” or “vivastra yoga”) has existed since ancient times as a spiritual practice. It is even mentioned in the 7th-10th century Bhagavata Purana and by the Ancient Greek geographer Strabo.

In the Bhagavata Purana (written c. 800–1000 AD) it says:

”A person in the renounced order of life may try to avoid even a dress to cover himself. If he wears anything at all, it should be only a loincloth, and when there is no necessity, a sannyasi should not even accept a danda. A sannyasi should avoid carrying anything but a danda and kamandalu.”

Alexander the Great reached India in the 4th century BC. Along with his army, he took Greek academics with him who later wrote memoirs about geography, people and customs they saw. One of Alexander’s companions was Onesicritus, quoted in Book 15, Sections 63-65 by Strabo, who describes yogins of India. Onesicritus claims those Indian yogins (Mandanis) practiced aloofness and “different postures – standing or sitting or lying naked – and motionless.”

The practice of spiritual nudity is common among Digambara Jains, Aghori sadhus, and other ascetic groups in the dharmic religions. The order of Naga Sadhus, conspicuous in the processions and bathing ritual at the Kumbh Mela, uses nudity as a part of their spiritual practice of renunciation.

Naked Yoga Benefits

This ancient practice has lots of wonderful benefits that you may find very inspiring. Here are some of them.

#1 It helps you accept your body

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Unfortunately, in our modern world there are lots of people who are dissatisfied with their bodies, find them shameful and even ugly. If you feel like it’s not easy for you to see your naked body without judgment or desire to improve something in yourself, if you feel uncomfortable to get naked even in front of your partner, then a naked yoga class can be good therapy for you.

Practicing naked yoga will help you reconnect with your own body, stop being ashamed of it, learn to accept yourself, and increase your sense of self-worth.

The vulnerability of the naked body can help bring people together, make them understand that each of us feels insecure about something, but we are all beautiful in our own way.

Naked yoga can help you overcome the rejection and shame about your own body, cope with the psychological blocks associated with your body, and look at yourself in a new way. It will teach you to love your body the way it is, see your body as a beautiful temple for your spirit, and love your shortcomings.

#2 It boosts your confidence

The naked practice is a way to learn how to interact with your body, feel it, and become more confident. This is an opportunity to really see your body and stop taking it for granted.

#3 It motivates

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Nude yoga classes motivate you to master your yoga practice. This is due to the ability to see how each of your muscles moves and how it responds to each exercise. Practicing yoga naked, you are more likely to understand which parts of your body need to be worked out more. You can see and understand more clearly what muscles are too tight and what parts of your body need more stretching. Moreover, you will be able to see where your blocks are located. When you see what your body needs, you can change the content of your classes to suit your needs by targeting the right muscles and body areas.

#4 It makes your skin “breathe”

When you exercise and sweat in your clothes, it adversely affects the skin, because the clothes prevent it from being cleansed. When you sweat naked, your skin can breathe.

Wearing clothes during your yoga class may dry your skin and increase the appearance of wrinkles.

One way or another, clothing always restricts our movement. But when we are performing asanas naked it becomes so much easier for you to improve your practice and reach a new level of mastery!

The Bottom Line

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We should always remember that our body is a temple for our spirit. Therefore we need to treat it with love, care, and respect. Even if you want to change something in yourself, it should not be accompanied by self-torture and criticism. Treat your body with care and without excessive fanaticism in the pursuit of ideals.

Would you like to try naked yoga? If your answer is “definitely not”, then think about what kind of mental blocks stop you from doing this? We are all born and start this life without clothes, so why not to try to reconnect with our true natural selves?


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Murcha Pranayama: Essence and Benefits of the Swooning Breath

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Murcha Pranayama is one of the eight types of pranayama. “Murcha” is commonly known as “fainting” in Sanskrit. It is believed that through this pranayama you experience “conscious unconsciousness”. The purpose of this pranayama is to expand consciousness and accumulate and preserve prana. People who are successful in completing this breathing exercise experience prolonged euphoria and semiconscious swoon. Therefore it is recommended to perform it only if you are well advanced in all other branches of pranayama.

In this article, I will share with you the benefits of the Murcha Pranayama and the techniques of its performance.

What Is Pranayama?

Pranayama for Beginners Image

Pranayama is a system of breathing exercises that can significantly increase your energy level.

Prana‘ is the Sanskrit word for breath, “life force”, or “vital principle”. ‘Ayāma‘ can be translated as “the suspension of breath” or “control”. Thus, “pranayama” can be translated as “control over vital energy”.

According to Patanjali, pranayama is the length of time between inhalation and exhalation. During this period, the time of assimilation of prana increases, the fluctuations of the mind decrease and the perception expands. But how is it possible to reduce the excitation of the brain by holding the breath? This is due to the fact that nerve impulses in some parts of the body are suspended, and the structure of brain waves is harmonized. Therefore, pranayama is one of the most important elements of Hatha yoga.

Murcha Pranayama

Murchha pranayama can only be performed by advanced practitioners who have already purified their bodies and who have good training in holding their breath. As you learn this breathing practice, the number of cycles may increase. The time to complete it may increase from five to ten minutes. However, if you feel that your head has become light, stop practicing.

The feeling of loss of consciousness during Murcha Pranayama occurs for two reasons. First, continued breath retention reduces the concentration of oxygen in the blood entering the brain, that is, causes hypoxia. Second, by squeezing large blood vessels in the neck, Jalandhara Bandha affects the pressure receptors on their walls, and in response to this, the pulse and blood pressure change.

Benefits of Murcha Pranayama

Murcha Pranayama is a very powerful breathing technique that has many benefits! Here are some of them:

  1. provides mental tranquillity and a sensation of euphoria;
  2. gives a blissful experience where the mind becomes free from negative emotions;
  3. increases mental efficiency by providing energy and removing distractions;
  4. effective in the cure of headache and muscle weakness;
  5. raises the level of prana by energizing ida, pingala, and Sushumna;
  6. helps to create a state of unconsciousness where your mind is calm, and the body is relaxed, yet you are alert (a state of ‘conscious unconsciousness’);
  7. brings steadiness and contentment by infusing joy and happiness;
  8. reduces body fats;
  9. helps to prepare the body for deep meditation.

Precautions

Murcha Pranayama is not meant to be practiced by everyone and it’s best to find a competent teacher for guidance. Murcha breathing practice requires a competent teacher’s help if you have:

  • mental disorder;
  • high blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure (hypotension);
  • heart disease;
  • epilepsy;
  • brain disorders;
  • glaucoma.

If you get wholly fainted or unconscious during your practice, discontinue it immediately!

Murcha Pranayama should not be practiced after meals, and a minimum of 3-4 hours gap should be there.

How To Perform Murcha Pranayama?

Murcha Pranayama Benefits Image

There are two ways to perform Murcha Pranayama.

Technique 1

Sit in Padmasana or Siddhasana. Place your hands on your knees and close your eyes.

Count till 5 and at the count of 5, slowly and deeply inhale through your nose. Perform Kumbhaka with Jalandhara Bandha and Shambhavi mudra.

Hold your breath for 5 seconds or as you feel comfortable.

Keep your eyes closed. Relax the Jalandhara Bandha. Slightly lift your chin. Exhale while closely monitoring the exhalation.

Before starting the next cycle, breathe normally for a minute or two.

Concentrate on the feeling of emptiness.

Technique 2

Sit in Padmasana or Siddhasana. Place your hands on your knees and close your eyes. Make sure that the body is firmly fixed in its position.

Slowly inhale through both nostrils, raising your chin and tilting your head back, but not so far that it requires tension and effort.

Perform Kumbhaka with your arms straightened at the elbows, your shoulders raised, and your Shambhavi mudra fixed. Hold your breath a little longer than is comfortable for you.

Then close your eyes, slowly lower your head and shoulders, and exhale in a controlled manner.

Before starting the next cycle, breathe normally for a minute or two.

Concentrate on the feeling of emptiness.

Duration

Practice until you start experiencing a fainting sensation. Length of Kumbhaka (breath retention) is very important. The longer you can hold the breath, the better it is.

One inspiration and expiration makes one cycle. Repeat until you feel faint. It should be performed after asanas and before meditation.

It is very useful and provides additional benefits when practiced before going to sleep.

Concentration

It is very important to know what to concentrate on while performing Murcha pranayama. You should have a dual focus while performing this practice: physical and spiritual.

For achieving physical awareness, focus on your breath. Bring your attention to the head movement and also to the center of eyebrows.

For achieving spiritual awareness focus on the void behind the eyebrow center called ‘chidaksha‘. Direct your awareness to this void.

Conclusion

Pranayama is one of the most important yogic practices. It provides different responses in the cardiovascular and autonomic nervous system. Murcha pranayama acts as the bridge between the mind and the body. It brings balance to our breathing, calm down our mind and creates inner peace.

When the mind becomes thoughtless and still, we become more relaxed and calm. We feel the bliss that makes us feel like floating. We are floating away from the worldly affairs and start moving inside. By drawing our minds inward we achieve the ultimate pleasure.


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What Is Mudra? 9 Most Powerful Mudras Explained

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In the tradition of Yoga Tattva Mudra Vigyan or Yoga Mudra, mudras are performed along with the practice of asanas, pranayama, concentration, and meditation. Mudras strengthen the connection of internal organs with their corresponding centers in the brain. The correct practice of mudras will help you to restore the correct work of organs, improve health, fill your body with vital energy, and receive other benefits. If you’re asking yourself: “What is mudra?” and want to learn more about it then this article is for you!

What Is Mudra?

“Mudra” can be translated as “seal”, “mark”, or “gesture”.

Mudras are symbolic gestures often practiced with the hands and fingers.

Connecting the fingers in certain combinations, you can activate the meridians and direct energy throughout the body, restore the flow of energy and eliminate “breakdowns” in diseased organs.

Thus, each position of the hands has its own meaning and can benefit us if we learn to use this knowledge correctly.

How Do Mudras Work?

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Different positions of the fingers have the ability to close or clear the energy channels. In addition, performing this or that mudra, we affect the biologically active points of the palms and fingers.

There are about 180 different finger positions. Obviously, it is not necessary to know all the mudras in order to start performing Yoga Mudra. It would be enough to start with a couple of basic mudras of your choice.

Mudras are invented for the correct redirection of energy in the body, for the control of prana and for changing the psycho-emotional state. Also, with their help, you can eliminate problems in the body and in the mind by pressing on particular acupuncture points.

Each finger of the hand corresponds to certain energy. And each phalanx of each finger is responsible for a specific part of the body.

The index finger is associated with knowledge, wisdom, and self-confidence. It is connected to our life force.

The middle finger is responsible for patience and the ability to control feelings. This finger is connected to the heart and Anahata chakra.

The ring finger is responsible for health and vitality. This finger is connected to the respiratory and nervous systems.

The pinkie is associated with a creative component of the personality and the ability to see beauty. This finger is responsible for the pelvic organs.

The thumb is responsible for our ego, will, and logic. Also, this finger is associated with wisdom, mind, and awareness.

In addition, each finger is connected with different parts of the body and internal organs. For example, the upper phalanx of the thumb is a “projection” of the head. The ring and middle fingers correspond to the right and left foot, and the pinkie and index fingers correspond to the right and left hand.

By performing mudras with your hands, you definitely stimulate those parts of the body and organs that are directly connected to the energy channels that pass through the palms and fingers.

5 Fingers And 5 Elements

Did you know that each finger is associated with one of the 5 elements?

Thumb represents the Fire element (Agni).

The index finger is associated with the energy of the Air element.

The middle finger is responsible for the Ether.

The ring finger connects us to the energy of the Earth.

The pinkie represents Water.

Fingers Corresponding to the 5 Elements image

Thus, by performing mudras, you redistribute the energy in your body. You regulate its flow through the opening and closing of energy channels as you do when practicing Hatha yoga. The only difference is that in Hatha yoga you achieve this effect by taking different body poses whereas in Yoga Mudras you do the same but with your fingers.

The thumb, representing the element of Fire, is considered the main finger in Yoga mudra. With whatever other finger the tip of the thumb comes in contact, it will strengthen the element that this finger or a combination of several fingers represents.

It turns out that if you connect the tips of the thumb and ring finger, the element of Air will increase through the Fire element. This is how Gyan Mudra (Mudra of Knowledge) is created.

When you connect the thumb and the middle finger then you activate the cosmic energy or ether. This is how Aakash mudra is created.

If you connect the pads of the thumb and ring finger you will activate the energy of the Earth. This is how the Prithvi mudra is performed.

The combination of the thumb and the pinkie increases the Water element in our bodies. This is how the Varun mudra is performed.

How To Perform Mudras?

Many mudras are quite simple to perform. Once you have mastered the basics, you can move on to more advanced finger combinations in mudras if you want it.

No special preparations are required to perform the mudras. You just need to take a meditative pose, choose one of the asanas (Sukhasana, Vajrasana or Padmasana) and while you are meditating, you can easily hold the mudra.

If you are not in the mood to meditate in one of the yoga asanas, you can simply relax and sit comfortably and begin to perform the mudra.

You can perform mudras anywhere: when you’re riding in public transportation, when you are listening to music or watching a movie, etc. Mudras have one very attractive factor: whether you are focused on their performance or not, whether you deeply believe in their healing power or not – they will work anyways (regardless of the situation and your mood).

Mudras are recommended to be performed daily. The duration of the practice should be 30-45 minutes so that you can feel its therapeutic effect. For convenience, you can divide this time period into several sessions of 15 minutes.

Usually, mudras are performed with both hands, as this activates the work of both hemispheres of the brain. You not only work to correct the problems that have accumulated in your physical body but also stimulate the work of the mind, which, in turn, has a positive impact on the emotional state.

9 Most Simple And Effective Mudras

Enough theory! Let’s start our mudra practice! Let me share with you 9 most simple yet very effective mudras you can start practice today!

Prana Mudra (Mudra of Life)

Mudra of life Prana mudra image

This mudra is designed to increase energy, restore energy potential, give strength, inspiration, increase endurance and even improve vision. It provides energy and health. Also, it reduces hunger pangs during fasting and gives you a good night’s sleep.

How to perform:

Touch the tip of the thumb with the ring finger and the pinkie finger together, while keeping the other two fingers straight. Take a regular breath, breathe in and exhale for a few seconds. Perform this mudra for 30-40 minutes daily.

Padma Mudra (Lotus Mudra)

Lotus mudra image

The Lotus Mudra opens the Heart Chakra (Anahata). It is a symbol of purity, light, and beauty emerging from the darkness.

The message of the lotus mudra is to stay connected to your roots, open yourself to the light and realize that the greatest sense of steadiness in life is an open heart.

The Lotus Mudra helps to heal a “broken heart”, strengthens unconditional love for all living beings or for a particular person, opens the heart, helps to attract a soul mate, drains out the misunderstanding, helps to release tension. It is also practiced to enhance the fire element in the body.

How to perform:

Take a cross-legged position. Bring the base of the palms together at the heart center, touching the thumbs and pinky fingers together. Spread the rest of the fingers out like the lotus flower opening toward the sunlight. Close your eyes and take several deep and long breaths.

Apana Mudra

Apana mudra image

Apana Mudra is a Cleansing – Energy Gesture. The Sanskrit word “Apana” refers to a cleansing form of subtle energy in our bodies that moves downwards and outwards.

Apana Mudra is especially beneficial to women, helping to regulate the menstrual cycle and easing childbirth.

This mudra 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.

Most importantly, it helps to harmonize the flow of Qi.

How to perform:

Take a comfortable seated position, stand or lie down. You can also hold the hand gesture whilst performing a walking meditation. Using both hands bring the tips of your middle and ring fingers to the tip of your thumb, keep your other fingers extended and relaxed. This Mudra can be held for up to 45 minutes a day. the time could be broken down into 15-minute sections. To feel the benefits it would be helpful to hold the position for at least 10 minutes a day.

Gyan Mudra (Mudra of Knowledge)

Mudra of knowledge image

The Mudra of Knowledge evokes the most expansive version of the self, so you can flow through your life lessons with ease and calm. It stimulates wisdom and knowledge.

This beautiful mudra helps to eliminate stress, sadness, and sorrow. It gives hope and confidence in the future. In addition, the Mudra of Knowledge improves concentration and helps those who need to process large amounts of information, memorize and concentrate. This mudra improves memory and attention.

The Gyan Mudra:

  • stimulates the Root chakra;
  • eases tension and depression;
  • calms down;
  • brings spiritual openness and ease in meditation;
  • boosts the air element;
  • stimulates the brain;
  • empowers the mind, nervous system and pituitary gland;
  • helps enhance concentration;
  • prevents insomnia.

How to perform:

Lightly touch the tip of the thumb with the tip of the index finger, keeping the other fingers straight but relaxed. Do this with both the right and left hand and hold for at least a few minutes. In Kundalini Yoga, this mudra is usually practiced with the hands resting on the knees and the elbows straight.

Varun Mudra (Mudra of Water)

Varun image

This powerful mudra helps to improve kidneys and liver health. It helps to remove excess fluid from the body, accelerates metabolism and improves health. Also, it reduces the dryness of the skin and helps to improve its luster and softness.

The Mudra of Water is known as a seat of mental clarity. It encourages openness and fluid communication and balances the water element in the body.

How to perform:

Sit in a cross-legged position. Slightly touch the tip of the thumb with the little finger, then put some pressure and see the difference. There is no time limit for doing this Mudra and can be done anytime and anywhere.

Mudra of Earth (Prithvi Mudra)

Prithvi Mudra Image

This is the mudra of protection. If you suffer because of the strong pressure of the surrounding world, if events or specific people take away your peace, perform the Prithvi mudra and you will feel that you are under the protection of the natural forces. It helps to relieve stress quickly.

The mudra of Earth can provide emergency assistance in moments of nervous breakdown, hysteria or severe stress. With regular performance, it helps to achieve inner harmony and improve self-esteem.

The Prithvi mudra increases the earth element within the body while decreasing the fire element. The earth element is a vital component of bodily tissues like bones, cartilage, skin, hair, nails, flesh, muscles, tendons, internal organs, etc.

Also, by performing the Mudra of Earth you’re balancing your Root chakra.

How to perform:

The Prithvi Mudra is created by touching the ring finger to the thumb, with the rest of the fingers extended. It is recommended to begin by holding this mudra in 10-minute increments, slowly building up to 45 minutes a day.

Vajra Arrow Mudra

Vajra Arrow Image

This mudra helps to heal the cardiovascular system. If the body has accumulated too much energy or if the mental tension has reached its peak, perform the Vajra Arrow Mudra. This powerful Mudra can help you to accumulate more energy in your body.

How to perform:

Put your right and left index fingers together. Cross the rest of your fingers. Press your thumbs against your index fingers.

Anjali Mudra (The Mudra of Gratitude)

Anjali Mudra Image

Anjali Mudra stabilizes the lower chakras and opens the heart chakra.

It is a mudra of devotion and offering, of balance and composure, of returning to the heart. It connotes gratitude for self and others. This is a very peaceful and safe gesture, and you will often see it come out unconsciously. It is often used alongside the word Namaste in salutations.

How to perform:

Taking your two hands in front of your chest, press the palms together. Extend the pressure up through each finger and the thumbs to the very tips. Keep the sides of your fingers touching. There will naturally be a little hollow of space between the centers of your two palms. Relax your shoulders away from your ears.

Bringing the joined hands to your Anahata chakra with the forearms parallel to the floor stretches the wrists and directs your awareness to your heart center.

Bringing the mudra in your Third eye (Ajna chakra) focuses your attention on your intuition.

Perform the Mudra of Gratitude at least 10 minutes a day.

Kashyapa Mudra

Kashyapa Mudra Image

This is a powerful protection Mudra you can use anytime you face toxic people, energy vampires, or people with bad attitudes. Also, if you are an empath, this mudra will protect you from absorbing the negative energy of people around you. In other words, this is the mudra you need to protect your energy. It balances and grounds you while creating a seal against negative energy.

How to perform:

Place the thumb underneath the index and middle fingers, letting the tip of the thumb poke out, and make a fist.

Conclusion

Start by mastering the basic mudras and practicing them in your daily meditations. Then you can pick more advanced ones. Your fingers will eventually get used to new positions, and the daily mudra practice will bring not only positive results to improve your health, but also the quality of your life. Be patient, be consistent, and the rest will follow!

Sometimes our bodies give us clues. If at some point you feel like you want to fold your hands and fingers in a certain way and stay in this position – just let it happen. Observe and accept what will happen during this practice. Your body intuitively knows what you need at the moment!


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