Gesturing The Infinite: Mudras and The Body
Mudras are ancient gestures used to direct the flow of prana, or life force, in the body in buddhist, yogic and ayurvedic practices. In sanskrit, mudra translates to “seal”; it's an affirmation, an acknowledgement of resolve, an external expression of inner commitment. When we make a mudra with our hands it reflects an inner belief which strengthens the flow of energy in our body.
Ayurvedic medicine declares disease as the result of an imbalance in the elements present in our physical body. Each finger represents one of the elements and are noted as such:
Middle finger- ether
Ring finger - earth
Little finger- water
Our fingers become traffic conductors for the flow of our vital energy when used in conjunction with these powerful expressions. There are hundreds of different mudras, each designed to assist the balancing of our natural elements.
We have certain mudras that are the most powerful for creating energy and vitality for our skin and face health.
The Varun Mudra happens touching the thumb and the little finger together. This mudra balances the water element in our body, creating a more fluid atmosphere in our bodies. This mudra is a friend for your skin. With the redistribution of water through the body, skin will look less dry while more lustrous and supple.
The Gyan Mudra, or mudra of knowledge, is achieved touching the thumb with the forefinger. This will stimulate the air in the body and be a wonderful brain boost if practiced at a 30 minute stretch. The primary effects of this mudra is for the brain: less depression, more focus and concentration, less anxiety, more restful sleeping. Our face reflects our level of stress and anxiety, therefore, practices that create less stress will support our faces in being soft and youthful looking. Also, energy that boosts brain vitality will naturally create more face vitality as well.
The Apan Mudra helps with digestion, elimination and excretion. This mudra shifts toxins, leaving less for the body to eliminate on its own. Emotionally, this mudra balances space and earth elements, allowing to process more difficult emotions. We include this mudra for skin health because our face is a back-up excretory organ for our large intestines, liver and lungs. It is necessary for our skin health to be supported by organ health. Also, our skin is connected to our emotions. Anger, for instance, stores in our forehead between our brows. Think of the scowl you might make if you are angry and this will show you the location of the liver meridian and the anger meridian of the face. One of my favorite practices to teach is daily self massage to release stress and tension from your face. By adding this mudra to your routine you will support the process of opening up the flow of energy into all meridians of your face and excretory organs so that you do not need to have lines and wrinkles which the body has endured a long presence of stagnation.
Shanmukhi Mudra is practiced to turn our perception completely inward by cutting off senses to the outside world. Shanmukhi translates to six and face, so the six faced goddess, meant to represent the 6 openings of perception to the outside world; the two ears, two eyes, one nose, one mouth. By effectively blocking our experience of the outside world, the practitioner can gain access to its own thought processes and patterns. By holding our breath during this practice our skin will be able to send energy to our face that makes our skin glow!
Practicing mudras can strengthen all your self-love and self-care practices. I am a firm believer that everyone should have daily practices at home that support skin health and vitality. We can not rely on others for our health, we should be the custodians of our bodies and feel empowered to manage our health, beauty and vitality with our own intentions and hands.
Have an organically beautiful day,