Mudras:Yoga in Your Hands
"Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary
to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself." ~Hermann Hesse
Mudras are the birthplace of what we now call Jin Shin Jyutsu. One hundred years ago, when Master Jiro Murai was diagnosed with an incurable illness, he asked to brought to the family cabin in the mountains of Japan. His family was instructed to come back in 7 days to see the outcome. It is said that the intense use of mudras while sitting in meditation and fasting turned his life energy around. He passed through fevers and chills during those days before losing consciousness and subsequently coming back to himself, feeling that he was free of whatever had caused him to be so ill. Murai believed that the simple act of joining right hand with left hand would bring about a unity between body and mind.
Unlike animals who primarily use their noses and mouths to experience their environment, we explore our world with our hands. Touch is important to our human experience thanks to 17,000 tactile receptors on the hand. We have about 4000 nerve endings at the tips of our fingers, giving our fingertips one of the densest collections of nerve endings in the body. The nerve endings connect with the energetic pathways of our organs and can influence them, relax, stimulate or balance them. Our hands are therefore an energy map of our consciousness and health with areas of the hand corresponding to different systems of the body as well as our various attitudes. Through the simple act of curling, crossing, stretching, and touching the fingers and palms, we access the energetic pathways that connect body, mind and spirit. All of this is what makes mudras effective tools for balance and well-being.
Anywhere you are, while on a break, sitting at a red light while in your car, waiting at the checkout, at your office or home, stillness can be yours. Mudras are easily learned and with a little practice you can do them at any time and place. A knowledge of these mudras allows us to send energy to any part of our being. The mudra pictured above is one of the 8 mudras that are part of the Practice of Jin Shin Jyutsu. It is known in our tradition as "Inhaling the Purified Breath of Life." This finger pose relieves asthma, back tension/stress and brings general well-being to the whole body. It aids in easier breathing allowing us to receive the purified Breath of Life. This pose helps us to bring harmony to our total being. Cynthia Broshi, International Jin Shin Jyutsu teacher, says, "Through their relationships the Mudras excavate, untangle and dissolve tensions. Singly and as a group they work with the relationship of Exhale and Inhale, building and breaking down. Some poses emphasize one or the other aspect of Breath, and utilizing each pose with the left and the right hand amplifies and blends these actions of Generation and Regeneration."
Our power to harmonize, balance, and heal is literally in our own hands.
“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day
is the rest we take between two deep breaths." ~Etty Hillesum