Did you know that your hands hold an innate healing power that has been used for centuries for healing various ailments?  In this two-part series, we will be taking a look at ways your hands can help you sleep.

Clean that dirty mind – I’m talking about mudras!

What exactly IS a Mudra?

Mudras are a symbolic sign based finger patterns taking the place, but retaining the efficacy of the spoken word, and are used to evoke in the mind ideas symbolizing divine powers or the deities themselves

If you think you have never heard of them or have never seen them, you’d be wrong – you already know what they are – you’ve see them in Bollywood films, religious paintings and statues all the time.  Mudras have been an integral part of many Hindu and Buddhist rituals and can be found extensively in yoga, meditation and dance.

In the original Sanskrit, ‘Mudra’ means a symbolic hand gesture that has the power of producing joy and happiness. It has been proved that regular practise of mudras not only contribute to one’s overall good health but can be used as a preventive measure as well.

The position of our hands has the ability to influence energy of our physical, emotional and spiritual body. Mudras help to link the brain to the body, soothe pain, stimulate endorphins, change the mood and increase our vitality – and encourage peaceful sleep.

The following three mudras, in slightly different ways, can help encourage relaxation and peaceful sleep.  The hands should rest on the thighs when doing the mudras.

Mudra 1 – JNANA/CHIN MUDRA

Chin Mudra

Chin Mudra

This mudra is two mudras in one – with the fingers pointing upward towards the ceiling, it is called Jnana; when pointing towards the floor, it is the Chin mudra.  Practicing either position is beneficial, try both and see which position feels best for you! The Jnana mudra is traditionally associated with spiritual development, while Chin mudra is more connected to the physical world.

This mudra is often seen in statues and images of Hindu deities – and also found in Byzantine Christian art and used by priests after communion as well – the hand raised and fingers extended, facing the congregation.

Jnana MudraOn the physical level, either the Jnana/Chin mudra is helpful; it can help improve states of mental tension, clears the mind and is helpful with insomnia.

To practice this mudra, close your eyes and focus on your breath – not to control it, but simply to notice your breathing.  When inhaling, lightly press your thumbs and index fingers together; upon exhaling, release the pressure, keeping your thumbs and index fingers touching.

The mudra can be practiced as often as you wish.

 Mudra 2 – SHAKTI MUDRA

To form this mudra, place your ring and little fingers together.  The others fingers are bent around the thumbs, which are resting against your palms.  Focus on your breathing, drawing breath from your diaphragm….if your shoulders are going up and down when you breathe, you are NOT breathing from your belly!

Shakti MudraDo this exercise as needed or three times a day for 12 minutes.

The Shakti mudra is calming and will help with falling to sleep at night. However, if done too often or held for too long a period of time, it may actually have the effect of making you slow and lethargic.

Mudra 3 – KALESVARA MUDRA

The third mudra, called Kalesvara, is formed by placing the pads of your middle fingers together; the first two joints of your remaining fingers should touch each other as they bend inward.  Point your thumbs toward your chest, while bending your elbows outward.

Kalesvara Mudra

Inhaling and exhaling slowly, take 10 slow, deep breaths.  Pause afterwards and observe your breath, lengthening the pause after both inhaling and exhaling a little more each time.

This mudra helps with “turning off the broken record” playing in your head and helps calm agitation, which can help you fall asleep more easily.

 

 

In part two of this series we will look at another method of your helping hands and how they can help you sleep – with hand reflexology.