The Guna’s and mudra

Mudra  means  ‘gesture’, ‘attitude’ or ‘seal’. Mudras can be described as psychic, emotional, devotional and aesthetic gestures or attitudes, that cause an alteration in the body’s vital force, allowing us to direct the pranic life force to various parts of the body so that these energies may be harnessed within. While certain asanas, such as shoulderstand and plough become/ create mudras and therefore increase the amount of prana available to the body, when we learn to harness this energy using mudras (and bandhas, or ‘locks’), we will benefit more fully from the practice. A simple way to access the power of mudra is through the hasta, or hand mudras.

Symbolically, the little, ring and middle fingers represent the three gunas or qualities of nature: tamas, inertia, lethargy; rajas, activity, passion and creativity; and sattwa, luminosity, purity, wisdom, peace and harmony. In order for consciousness to pass from ignorance to knowledge these three states must be transcended. The index finger represents individual consciousness, the jivatma, while the thumb symbolises supreme consciousness. In jnana and chin mudras the individual (index finger) is bowing down to the supreme consciousness (paramatma), acknowledging its unsurpassed power. The index finger, however, is touching the thumb, symbolising the ultimate unity of the two experiences and the ultimate goal of Yoga.

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