When I was 19-years-old, I had a summer fling with a charming laundromat attendant named Angelo. Dressed in the same Giorgio Armani dress shirt each night, Angelo showed me around the pastel-colored Amalfi coast. Between hearty mounds of pasta, shots of limoncello, and twilight swims in the Mediterranean, we got to know each other… without words. Yes, Angelo didn’t speak any English, and my Italian was limited to “pizza”, “vino” and “capisce” (thanks to the Godfather!).
So how did we communicate? Body language. Now before you get all squeamish, it wasn’t all baci and lovemaking. Angelo had solid hand gestures. In fact, his hands talked with elegant coordination and efficiency. Two open hands asked, “What’s happening?” Hands placed in prayer became a rhetorical question: “What do you expect me to do about it?” And my personal favorite, pinching his fingers together while moving his hand up and down asked, “What do you want from me?”
Italians are masters at body language. But we all use it, whether we do so intentionally or not. In fact, psychology professor Albert Mehrabian argues that body language makes up 55 percent of meaning. The spoken word makes up only 7 percent and tone of voice makes up 38 percent.
Clearly, hand gestures help us articulate our feelings and intentions. But they can also heal or hurt. Just think of the soothing touch of a friend or a violent punch. Indeed, we move energy through our hands. Naturally, the most powerful tool in your toolbox isn’t a rare gemstone or essential oil. It’s your hands.
But what if you were more intentional with your hands?
Mudras, meaning “seal,” “gesture,” or “mark” in Sanskrit, are typically sacred hand gestures from Hinduism and Buddhism. But they can be any posture of the body that arises in deep meditation. These sacred gestures support the circuitry of energy flow in the body. And in turn, they enhance our vitality from the inside out.
When used with intention, mudras raise your energy when getting out of bed feels like an olympic sport. They calm you after your big-hearted (yet manipulative) mother pushes your triggers. And mudras build self-confidence when you’d rather believe in the tooth fairy than yourself. Indeed, mudras shift the energy, calling you home into harmony.
So how do we use mudras for healing on the fly? There’s an easy way to use mudras that doesn’t require memorizing dozens of hand gestures from flash cards.
Elements in the Hands
In Ayurveda, each finger is associated with one of the elements — Fire, Air, Ether, Earth, and Water, and its associated traits.
How To Use Mudras for Healing
First, determine your healing needs. Are certain elements dominating or lacking? Elemental imbalances may manifest as the following:
You may also ask your pendulum for clarification, if needed.
Now that you understand your healing needs, use mudras to cultivate more balance. Here’s how:
- To decrease an elemental influence, place your thumb to the back of the corresponding fingernail or knuckle.
- To stimulate an element, place your thumb to the base of the corresponding finger. For the element of fire, you may also bring all fingers together.
- And to stabilize the element, place your thumb to the tip of the corresponding finger.
Do you use mudras in your healing practice? Share your favorite mudras in the comments!
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Photos by Olya Le, Yaroslav Astakhov and Olga Gauri on Shutterstock and Zori Art Photography