When it comes to maintaining health and uplifting ourselves on a physical, mental, and spiritual level, Yoga and Ayurveda stand out as the ideal lifestyle practices. Both of these sciences have very common roots and are considered complementary to each other. They both aim to achieve the best of health and spiritual progression.
In this fast-moving world, there is a dire need to pause for some time, introspect, focus, realign and then proceed, to experience the true joy of life. This is achieved through the adoption of Yoga and Ayurveda as a lifestyle.
As per ancient Indian Philosophies, the whole universe, animate and inanimate, is composed of five basic principles – the ‘Panchamahabhootas’. They are Akasha (Ether), Vayu (Air), Agni (Fire), Jala (Water), and Prithvi (Earth). These ‘Panchamahabhootas’ are also responsible for the structural composition of our bodies. This means, our body is composed, nourished, and managed by these principles.
Every Mahabhoota serves certain important functions in our body like digestion, strength, stability, movement, etc. Hence, it becomes imperative to maintain their balance to ensure they perform in the best way. Hathayoga, which is one of the most important schools of Yoga focused on strengthening your body, has explained 4 ways in which you can achieve this.
Mudra (Seals or different body or hand gestures) is one of those 4 major ways in which you can attain the balance of all the Panchamahabhootas. This technique was first described in Kularnava Tantra.
The Definition of Mudra
“Mudam Anandam Dadati iti Mudra|”
Mudras are a combination of subtle physical movements which alter mood, attitude, and perception and which deepen awareness and concentration. Yoga Mudra is the science of realigning and channelizing energy flow in the entire body. This can be considered in line with the science of acupuncture meridians, bringing our subtle body energy in balance.
In scientific terms, mudras provide a means to access and influence the unconscious reflexes and primal, instinctive habit patterns that originate in primitive areas of the brain around the brain stem.
Various Hasta (Hand) mudras are described in texts which are generally to be performed during Pranayama and Dhyana to channelize Prana and to generate energy levels.
As per Yoga science, each finger of your hand represents one element like thumb – fire, index – air, middle finger – ether, ring finger – earth, and little finger – water.
In Yoga science techniques like Asana, Pranayama, Bandha, Mudra, Dhyan is described to manage various psychosomatic disorders and to achieve good mental and physical health.
One of the very important Mudras mentioned to manage the Vayu (Air) principle in our body is Vayu Mudra. Before going to that Mudra, let us see what is the normal function of Vayu in our body and why is it important to control the same.
Normal Functions of Vayu
Vayu – Air principle is a representation of the principle of movement, energy, and mobility. It holds properties like lightness (buoyancy), coldness, dryness, and coarseness. It is associated with the sense of touch. It is the principal responsible for all sorts of movements inside and outside of the body.
Starting from blinking of eyes, blood circulation, nerve signal transmissions, energy system, digestive tract movements, breathing and, joint movements are all carried out with the help of this principle. Hence, it is considered as the main principle, and hence regulating its actions becomes very essential.
The imbalance of this principle may result in a variety of problems ranging from confusion, anxiety, instability, joint problems, bloating, constipation, menstrual irregularities to chronic lack of energy.
How to Perform Vayu Mudra?
To perform Vayu Mudra, sit in any comfortable position on the floor or chair. Now, place the tip of the index finger at the bottom of the thumb while keeping the other fingers erect. Apply gentle pressure on the index finger and hold this Mudra. Always practice with both hands. You can perform this Mudra for around 30 – 40 minutes per day. If you can’t spare this time at a stretch, you may do it in 10 minutes three times a day.
Benefits of Vayu Mudra
- As the index finger indicates Vayu (Air) element, it will be effective to pacify aggravated Vata Dosha in the body.
- Persons with Vata Prakriti (predominance) should practice this mudra regularly.
- Due to the relation between Vata and mind, this mudra will act on the restless mind too. It will help to improve concentration and mental stability.
- According to Ayurveda, Vata is responsible for any type of pain in the body. So, to reduce pains and aches also this mudra can be performed.
- Hormonal imbalance can be managed with the practice of Vayu Mudra.
- It is effective in all sorts of joint disorders.
- It clears voice problems and also reduces skin dryness.
Mudra is a Yogic practice which any person can perform regularly. The benefits of Mudras are subtle and are evident on your mind, body, energy, and soul too. This practice does not take any major space and you can do it at any comfortable place and time. Regular practice of Vayu Mudra can help you control the major principle of Air responsible for all your body movements, energy, mind, and activities.
The person who will master the practice of Mudra can then definitely say, “my health is now in my hands!”
Author: Dr Omakr Kulkarni (INFS Faculty)