Extract from Mudras for Modern Life by Swami Saradananda.
You will find Surya Mudra helpful any time you feel in need of inspiration or would like to counter lethargy of the body or mind. In Sanskrit, Surya is one of the names of the sun, our most visible form of the element fire. Inspired by the light of the sun, darkness (in the form of depression) disappears and heaviness lifts from the heart.
Regular practice of this mudra generally improves digestion and elimination. It stimulates your body to burn excess fat and reduces cholesterol, helping you to cleanse yourself and lose weight.
How to practise
Come into a sitting or kneeling position. You can use either or both hands. Bring your ring finger down to touch the root of the thumb of the same hand; press down on your ring finger with your thumb. Extend the other fingers, allowing them to relax. Hold for up to 45 minutes daily, or for 3 sessions of 15 minutes.
How it works
The ring finger (the finger of the earth element) is depressed by the thumb (the fire element), symbolically bowing to the light of the sun. The root of your thumb – representing your drive in life and creative power – is stimulated by the ring finger. As your thumb presses down on the ring finger, the fire element of the thumb decreases the negative aspects of earth energy, such as inertia. This helps burn off ‘stagnant’ impurities and fires you with new inspiration in life.
Surya Mudra in a breathing Practice
Surya Bheda Pranayama: Sun Breathing
In yoga, the left side of the body is considered moon-related and cool. By bringing your left hand into Surya Mudra and resting it on your left leg, you counteract the chilling aspect and enhance the warming effects of this breathing exercise. Perform in the morning on an empty stomach or as a 3pm pick-me-up. Avoid in the evening.
1 Come into a sitting position. Bring your left hand into Surya Mudra and rest the back of the hand on your left knee or thigh.
2 Fold down the index and middle fingers of your right hand, bringing it into Vishnu Mudra. Lift this hand and position the palm in front of your face. Use the little and ring fingers of your right hand to close your left nostril.
3 Silently, inhale deeply through your right nostril. Pinch both nostrils shut by closing your right nostril with your right thumb. Hold your breath for as long as feels comfortable.
4 When ready to exhale, release your little and ring fingers to open the left nostril (keep the right one closed). Exhale slowly and silently through the left nostril. This is one round of Surya Bheda. Work up to 5–10 rounds daily.
5 When you have finished, release the mudra and gently shake out your hands from the wrists. Take 2–3 deep breaths before standing up.
Caution: Avoid if you have high blood pressure, fever, skin rash, anorexia, ADHD, insomnia, restlessness or nervous agitation, also during menopause, menstruation and on hot days.
Mudras for Modern Life: Boost your health, re-energize your life, enhance your yoga and deepen your meditation
Available from Watkins Publishing
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