by Olivia Hughes
Mudras: Yoga in Your Hands
by Gertrud Hirschi
Summary: Mudra is a symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. While some mudras involve the entire body, most are performed with the hands and fingers. The ancient practice of mudra can be used to relieve stress, practice presence, connect to your higher self, prevent illness, promote spiritual development, and so much more. Additionally, practicing mudra may help you become more open to and better able to focus on other holistic practices, such as breath work, affirmations, visualization, herbs, and nutrition, etc. Combined with intention, mudra creates a shift in your internal world, creating balanced healing from the inside out.
Why I Love It: A teacher once told me, “Teachers are here to share their knowledge and skills with others to help them grow. If you know something, share it. Educating someone is the most powerful thing you can do for them.” When I started teaching, I took this advice to heart and shared things I had found to be true; even if it fell outside of the mainstream.
I love this book because it adds another layer to my own yoga practice and teaching. The mudras help me connect more deeply to myself and my spiritual world. Yoga is so much more than a handstand or a warrior two – yoga is about a shift in your mind, a feeling in your heart. Yoga is kindness. Yoga is love. Yoga is connection. The seemingly small practice of mudra helps me connect with this deep level of yoga, and I feel compelled to share it with my students.
Recommended For: Those who want to deepen their connection to self, others and the present moment. The practice of mudra is so uniquely personal and portable – no yoga mat needed, no time in your schedule to set aside, nothing to see or watch. The back cover states: “This yoga in your hands can be practiced sitting, lying down, standing, or walking, at any time and place!”
I recommend choosing a mudra you connect with (there are hundreds) and trying it out once a day in your daily routine. This book breaks down how to practice each mudra step by step but also dives into using mudra to develop your spirituality.
Sample Practice: The Lotus Mudra (my favorite!) from page 150
Bring your hands together in prayer and then separate and open up the three middle fingers, keeping the base of the palm together along with the pinkie and thumb. This mudra is the symbol of purity.
Visualization: Imagine the bud of a lotus flower in your heart. Every time you inhale the flower opens up a bit more – until it finally is completely open and can receive the full sunlight into itself. The lotus lets itself be filled with light, lightness, warmth, love, desire and joy.
Affirmation: I open myself to nature; I open myself to the good that exists in every human being; and I open myself to the divine so that I can be richly blessed.
Olivia’s yoga journey began in 2003. She is certified in Vinyasa, Hatha, and Aerial Yoga and holds a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. She believes the mind, body, soul connection is sacred and encourages her students explore and expand within their own bodies and consciousnesses.