THE ATTITUDE CREATES THE APTITUDE
In Sanskrit mudra means seal, or sign. It is a symbolic gesture performed with the hands or the whole body which generates a specific resonance, according to our intentions.
We perform mudra-s with certain parts of the body (especially our hands), or through certain specific bodily positions, whose main goal is to connect the yogi with subtle energies from the macro cosmos, helping him to become integrated in certain subtle spheres or fields of energy.
A mudra – whether expressed as a hand gesture or as a bodily pose acts on two levels: it expresses the inner state of the one performing the mudra, or helps him resonate with certain energies and aspects of the universe, but it also helps to preserve one’s experiences within, allowing them to mature rather than to dissipate and vanish.
Mudras connect physical or bodily attitudes to spiritual realities. In yoga they serve as a support for focusing thoughts upon the divine, just as in the Christian tradition we find, for example the mudra of bringing the hands together in prayer in order to enhance its spiritual effects.
Mudras facilitate the assimilation of certain inner states (aptitudes) anticipating them through a certain attitude correlated with their physical manifestation, and thus contributing to the re-establishment of the harmony between humankind and the universe.
The effect of the mudras is quite powerful, and we may easily perceive this when performing them. Furthermore, we have to know the significance and purpose of each mudra in advance, because they generate an instantaneous resonance with certain archetypal gestures.
If we perform an adequate gesture, the macro cosmos will answer us instantly, in the very micro cosmos of our being.
From a certain point of view, we may even associate all the postures of hatha yoga with mudras. Nonetheless, not all mudras are hatha yoga postures.
Far from being static ‘poses’ or mere physical stretches or exercises, as it may appear with asanas of hatha yoga, the mudras express the inner state of the practitioner.
More than that, a hatha yoga posture approached as a mudra may even turn the body into a vessel, containing and maintaining the energy of the prana or breath, and preventing it from being wasted.
Just as it is important to perform the asanas correctly, because thus one may become charged with energy instead of dissipating the energy performing the pose in an incorrect manner, it is also very important that you perform the mudras correctly.
We will now introduce you to some mudras, to become familiarized and acquainted with them, later on we’ll describe how these mudras should be performed.
SANKALPA MUDRA – usually performed at the beginning of worship rituals. Its effect is directed to spiritual integration in the harmony of space and time.
MATSYA MUDRA – the gesture of the fish, symbolizes swimming across existence in a state of detachment. It grants protection.
DHENU MUDRA – the gesture of the cow, symbolizes the offering of gifts filled with love to your worshipped goddess or god.
LELIHANA MUDRA – literally this means going out. This gesture symbolizes the fact that our only salvation is God.
TATTVA MUDRA – the gesture of the principle. This mudra refers to the perception of ones beloved deity in the heart.
SAMNIDAPANI MUDRA – the message of this mudra is: “I understand that many worshippers yearn for your presence. But please grant me this blessing and forgive my daring.”
AVAHANI MUDRA – the gesture of invitation. It is used for invoking ones worshipped deity.