Mudra of the Month : Prana Mudra

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Mudras have been used in the Eastern world for thousands of years, their purpose is to channel and redirect energy within the body to achieve optimal health and vitality. The word mudra translates as "seal", it is used to describe a physical gesture made with the body or the hands.

Yoga philosophy teaches us that we have around 72,000 energy pathways, called nadis, running through our bodies. Many of these nadis end in our fingertips which is why hand mudras are so useful to us. When we join our fingertips and thumbs together in different positions we are creating new energy circuits. If we practice this regularly we can develop and strengthen these pathways to help our physical, emotional and spiritual well being.

Holy people from ancient times devoted their lives to exploring our subtle energy systems and it is amazing that we now have access to this wisdom. We can use it to help transform our lives from the inside out.

This month I will introduce you to Prana Mudra, also described as "Life Force Gesture". The word "Prana" has become a buzzword in the yoga world to describe energy. But what kind of energy is Prana? In Mudras for modern life, by Swami Saradananda, the author says "Prana is not a physical energy, and is quite different from the electrical current that moves through your nervous system... The Sanskrit word prana is often translated as "life force", "vital energy" or "vital air". Yoga philosophy teaches that this subtle energy animates and moves through your pranamaya kosha, or aura- an "etheric double of your physical body."

Prana travels through your pranamaya kosha (energy sheath/ aura) through the nadis (subtle energy pathways). It may be useful to imagine the nadis as a highway system and prana as the traffic. When the nadis (highway system) work properly, the prana (traffic) moves freely and it is able to reach all areas of the body, this encourages vitality and overall health. However, at times the nadis may become blocked or stagnant and the flow of prana is interrupted. This can cause all sorts of health complications. It can lead to a weakened immune system and dis-ease.

Prana Mudra is specifically focused on harnessing and directing this subtle life force energy. It is said that this mudra acts as a "cure all", benefiting everything from muscle health to vitamin deficiency. It reduces tiredness and nervousness in the body and helps to bring mental clarity and focus. It is also believed to help control emotions, enhance self-confidence and improve circulation.

To practice, use both hands and join the tips of your little and ring finger to the tip of your thumb. Keep your fore and middle finger together and pointing upward. It is easy to achieve the hand position for most and can be practiced whilst walking, standing or seated. To achieve the best results hold for at least 5 minutes, and up to 45 minutes each day.

Prana Mudra can be practiced alongside a visualisation meditation to increase its effects. Close your eyes and bring your attention inwards, allow your physical body to relax and your breath to deepen. Breathing in through the nose imagine sending fresh prana deep into your body, as you breathe out through the nose visualise the prana circulating through you. Keep this visualisation building with your breathing until you are able to send prana to specific body parts. You may be able to imagine that every cell of you is being energised with wonderful free-flowing prana.

Give yourself just 5 minutes a day to practice Prana Mudra and see the effects you can achieve!

I hope that this article informs you about prana and inspires you to explore the benefits of a regular mudra practice. From personal experience, I feel the mudras can give us the strength and energy to live more positive and rewarding lives.

The power really is in our hands.

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Katie has been exploring the human condition for about ten years, She especially finds strength and inspiration in regular yoga and meditation practice. Her aim is to help others through open communication and guidance from a place of love and respect. Alongside training to be a yoga teacher she is also an illustrator, her creativity allows her to enquire into the unknown in a visual way. You can see her artwork at her sparkly new Etsy Shop, Roots Wings and Things, on Pintrest, and on Instagram