Mudra of the Month: Shankha Mudra

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As I am sure you have experienced, anger can be all consuming. Many of us do not feel emotionally equipped to deal with its power. Mostly we find ourselves suppressing the experience or being overly consumed by it.

It is not healthy that many of us are conditioned from a young age that anger is "bad". That in a dream world it would and should not be felt. Well, unfortunately there are circumstances in life that lead to this fiery emotion and that is just the truth!

Every one of our emotions is valid, and learning more about our inner landscape is a vital part of developing self-awareness. When we take the time to know ourselves we can respond to life from a place of understanding rather than reacting (without thought) to what is happening.

This is not an easy task! To cultivate and maintain self-awareness is a lifelong process. There are many ways of practicing self-awareness; some will work better for you than others.

Here is a list of ideas:

  • Naming the emotion as it arises, either mentally or aloud. Sometimes it may be useful to describe how you are feeling to those around you, perhaps a good idea not to point fingers or blame, but to state in a factual way what you are experiencing.
     
  • Talking therapy, if there is suppressed or longstanding anger within you it can be helpful to seek professional guidance.
     
  • Keeping a journal to track your emotions or to offload your feelings. This process externalises what is happening in your mind and your are able to see it from another perspective.
     
  • Physical movement, including yoga, dance and all exercise, can be an extremely powerful tool in transforming how you feel and expressing yourself.
     
  • "Hasta Mudra" meditation (Hand Gesture meditation) could be an excellent way for you to focus your mind and process your inner world. I would like to share with you a Mudra Meditation practice that I have personally used to calm the flames of my anger without suppressing it.

Mudras are used in yoga and meditation practice to help us take care of our energy and emotions. According to yoga philosophy we have 1,000s of subtle energy channels running through our bodies. Some of these channels end in our fingertips, when we hold our hands in different positions with awareness we are able to create new circuits of energy. This allows us to tap into our inner world and become witness to ourselves.

The Hand Mudra I would like to introduce is called "Shankha Mudra" (Shown in illustration) this means "Conch Shell Gesture." To practice come into a comfortable seated position with your hands in front of your solar plexus. Wrap your right hand fingers around your left hand thumb. keep the fingers of your left hand together and pointing upward. Join the tip of your right thumb to the tip of your left middle finger. This form represents a shell and can now be held in front of your chest for 5- 10 minutes. Closing your eyes and relaxing/ deepening your breath is helpful.

On an elemental level the thumb represents fire. When we experience over powering or long standing anger it is said that our fire element is overactive. By holding the thumb with the other fingers, the corresponding elements of air, space, earth and water are able to soothe the flames. We join the right thumb to the left middle finger to encourage stability and inner peace.

This may all sound pretty far out! And without personal experience is useless. I find using hand mudras in my mediation practice really grounding and empowering. Using "Shankha Mudra" i am able to hold emotional anger in my hands and investigate it. What does it really feel like? What stories am I attaching to it? What is it feeding on? Where is its source?

It is beneficial to practice the same mudra over a course of time to help strengthen the new energy circuit within your system. It is also encouraged that you withdraw your senses to feel what is happening inside your body and mind. This can be a difficult process so PLEASE be kind to yourself :) Be proud that you are taking steps towards your own health and happiness.

I feel so honored to be sharing this incredible information with you, I use the book "Mudras For Modern Life" by Swami Saradananda for inspiration in my mudra practice. I hope that you may too find support in this ancient wisdom.

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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