The energy of our fingers is related to the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether), so the practice of mudras (hand gestures) can enhance meditation and facilitate the energetic flow in the body through the chakras. Chakra Meditation and The Essential Guide to Chakras author Swami Saradananda introduces this chakra-mudras connection as a practical and essential way to understand your body. This article will be followed by a series of blog posts, in which the author explores some of the chakras and discusses the related energy in each finger.
As the author of two well-known books on chakras, I am often invited to teach workshops in various locations around the world and the question that I get asked most regularly is how exactly one can work with the chakras. This is an excellent question that I’m most happy to hear. It’s always a pleasure when students, who have been hearing about the theory of chakras, want to know how to put that knowledge into practice in their daily lives.
My response is that there are various ways of working to keep your chakras open and fully functional, such as meditating on the radiant energy of the chakra itself, or using the associated bija mantra (seed sound) or the yantras (geometric patterns that relate to the energy of the chakra). Many people perform various asanas (yoga physical exercise) or pranayama (breathing exercises) to bring their chakras into balance. But one of the easiest, yet most effective ways to work with chakras is to use mudras (hand gestures). These are the techniques that I’d like to address in the next series of articles on this blog.
The Chakra-Mudra Connection
There is no special equipment required to balance the chakras by working with mudras, and they can be practiced anywhere at any time. Mudras play an important role in assisting the energetic flow of the chakras, and using specific mudras is important to remove blockages in various chakras by strengthening and stimulating the energy channels leading to them.
Each of your fingers embody the energy of a different major chakra and this is equally true on each of your hands. For this reason, unless otherwise specified, my advice is to practice mudras using both hands. I will discuss the energies in each of your fingers, as well as look at the chakras related to them in the upcoming articles on Watkins blog.
‘Elements’ in Indian Philosophy
According to yoga tradition, each of your fingers relates to the energy of one of five ‘elements’ of Indian philosophy, as well as to the chakra associated with that element. These elements are: earth (matter in solid form), water (matter in liquid form), fire (radiant matter, such as electricity), air (matter in gaseous form) and ether (the quality of space).
On each of your hands, the ‘fire’ energy of the solar plexus chakra (manipura) is contained in the thumbs. Your solar plexus chakra is like a battery that stores excess energy and drives the other chakras. In your physical body, it controls digestion, the muscles and your sense of sight. Manipura chakra also governs your will power, self-esteem, self-confidence, charisma, courage, ambition and integrity.
The ‘air’ element of your heart chakra (anahata) governs the respiratory and circulatory systems, sense of touch, and your arms and hands. It enables you to experience joy, unselfish love, self-acceptance, forgiveness, compassion and gratitude. Mudras using the index finger, such as the well known ‘chin mudra’, can increase or decrease the presence of the air element.
If you choose to work with your throat chakra (vishuddha), you can do so by using mudras involving your middle finger. These can help you to improve your communication skills and help you to better appreciate silence, and to be more artistic and innovative.
The root chakra at base of your body (muladhara) relates to the earth element and provides your energetic foundation. Mudras working with the ring finger can help you to gain more stability and poise in your life, and to be more rooted in the present moment. On a physical level, they can help you to improve your posture, especially if you tend to be clumsy or accident-prone.
The sacral chakra (swadhisthana) is accessed by mudras involving your little finger. These gestures can enhance your ability to be adaptive and to ‘go with the flow’, to being able to enjoy yourself without feeling guilty. They help you to let go of what you no longer need.
Sometimes people wonder at the order of the fingers and the chakras that they relate to. A good way to understand this is to bring your fingers into a circle and remember that a circle can begin anywhere (see the image below).
In my next article I will delve into manipura chakra in more detail. Manipura is your energetic battery that controls all of the other chakras and it relates to your thumb, the only finger that can touch and stimulate all of the other fingers.
If you want to know more, Swami will explore the connection between mudras and chakras in the upcoming workshops at Yotopia in London’s Covent Garden on Sunday February 28th (Journey through the Chakras) and Sunday April 17th (Mudras for Modern Life).
For further information, you can visit yotopia.co.uk.
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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