Muladhara Chakra: Safety and Security in an Uncertain World

root chakra

Does the world seem a little bit cray-cray to you? Because it sure seems nutty to me! I’m like, “Is Mercury retrograde all the freakin’ time now?” But seriously?!?! What is going on? We won’t get into politics because we get enough of that any time we turn on the TV or log in to social media. This past new moon was freakin’ intense and it seemed as though everything went to “hell in a handbasket”… is that how that saying goes? I just wanted to chuck my phone in the trash, lock myself in my room, and never come out.

All of my woes centered around money. Miscommunications about money, people wanting money, refunds and cancelations, taxes … money money money!!!! And it sucked! Our finances and stress about finances are deeply linked to our first chakra, Muladhara. Muladhara chakra is associated with our feelings of safety, security, and survival… and in this day and age money is paramount. So instead of hiding in my bedroom and telling everyone to go away, I chose to give my root chakra a little love. I made a crystal grid for abundance and even called in the Goddess Lakshmi. It was time to do ALL THE THINGS.

Here you’ll be introduced to the qualities of the root chakra and a few practices to give your root and YOU a little tender loving care.

root chakra muladhara

Muladhara Chakra

Mul – base
Adhara – Support

The chakras are psychic centers as well as centers of transformation of psychic or mental energy into spiritual energy. There are specific behaviors associated with each of the chakras. Along with our experiences, these behaviors stem from our desires and our attachment to the pleasures associated with each chakra. And our root chakra is tied up with security in job and shelter among other things.

When one’s Muladhara chakra is balanced and healthy one is grounded and calm, they have a strong foundation, they feel supported and connected, they are humble, independent, strong and healthy. They feel generous and have the power to attract abundance.

Muladhara Chakra is the abode of kundalini shakti, the dormant spiritual energy that lies coiled within the first chakra. The practices of yoga coax kundalini shakti out of Muladhara and up the Brahma Nadi. Brahma Nadi, is a spiritual energy channel within Sushumna Nadi. It is within Brahma Nadi that the chakras reside.

Muladhara Chakra at a Glance:

  • Location: perineum and coccyx
  • Element: Earth
  • Color: Red
  • Lotus: Four petals
  • Bija Mantra: Lam/Lang
  • Aspects: Security
  • Sense: Smell
  • Vayu: Apana
  • Planet: Mars

When Muladhara chakra is healthy, one has self-control, physical strength, patience, discipline and the ability to “bear heavy workloads”. When out of balance, one may be obsessed with finding security (including job and shelter). This chakra is also associated with illusion, greed, anger, delusion, avarice, and sensuality. Those with an out of balance first chakra are often self-centered, cruel, and even potentially violent.

Someone who needs to work on their root chakra may find it easy to take direction from others, but not be able to find direction themselves or be able to direct others. They may be humble and respectful to those above them, but harsh to their peers and those they view as “below them”. If their security is threatened they will likely lash out violently like a cornered animal. They may struggle to care for themselves and they often need extra guidance and support.

Other signs that the first chakra may need a little TLC: one may feel like a victim (did you read paragraph two? Hello victim mindset!), be stuck in fight/flight/freeze, one may experience feelings of lack, guilt, overwhelm, anxiety and may also experience insomnia, fatigue, chronic illness or pain.

Muladhara Chakra and The Earth Element

In yogic teachings, the element earth (not the planet) is a combination of the other elements: water, fire, air, and akasha (space or void) and provides stability and security. It is the basis for our physical body, the bones, the flesh, the skin, the Nadis, and body hairs.

In Ayurveda, when the earth element combines with the water element it forms the kapha dosha, which is characterized by mucus.

The Muladhara Yantra and The Four-Petaled Lotus.

As stated in the Mahanirvana Tantra, the four petals of the Muladhara Chakra represent four different vrittis or mental modifications:

  • Paramananda the state of greatest joy
  • Sahajananada the state of natural pleasure
  • Virananda the delight in the control of the passions
  • Yogananda the blissfulness in concentration

The Bija Mantra for Muladhara Chakra

The bija mantras are sacred sounds used to invoke the divine energy within the body. The bija mantra or seed sound for Muladhara Chakra is LAM also pronounced LANG. When chanted it creates a lock at the root and prevents the downward flow of energy from Muladhara. The vibration of the chant invites Kundalini up into the Brahma Nadi and when chanted, this mantra deepens concentration, improves awareness, creates inner strength, and also removes insecurities associated with Muladhara.

Muladhara and Our Sense of Smell

Muladhara chakra, the nose and the sense of smell are deeply intertwined. Sweet smells, the smell of homecooked meals, the smell of fresh earth, and earthy essential oils like patchouli, sandalwood, cedarwood, and palo santo are wonderful scents for those working with the root chakra.

Muladhara Chakra and Apana Vayu

Apana is the Vayu that expels the semen from the male organ and urine from the sexes, it is the energy behind passing a bowel movement and that which pushes the baby from the womb during birth. Think of “down and out” as the flow of Apana Vayu.

Tips and Practices for Muladhara Chakra

Follow the yamas and niyamas.

Practice grounding pranayama techniques like Three Part Belly Breath (Deerga Swasaam), Square Breath or Nadi Shodhanda

Take care of the physical body by eating nourishing foods and getting adequate sleep.

Fears related to security, safety, and survival will need to be addressed and any real issues regarding the above will need to be solved.

Spend time out in nature. Put your hands and bare feet on the earth. Breathe the fresh air. Move slowly and mindfully.

Call in the Goddess Lakshmi.

Set an intention to heal your first chakra and create a crystal grid for safety, security, abundance, whatever needs to be addressed.

garland pose for the root chakra

A yoga practice that focuses on slow movements, rootedness, foundational, grounding and surrendering poses will help nourish the first chakra.

A lovely practice for the first chakra could include:

  • Supported child’s pose
  • Malasana
  • Lizard pose
  • Chair pose or goddess pose
  • Warrior poses
  • Tree pose
  • Seated forward fold
  • Legs up the wall
  • Savasana

muladhara chakra meditation

Meditation on the Muladhara Chakra in the presence of the element earth develops natural health, strength in the body, and intellectual power.

In meditation, visualize roots growing down into the earth. Feel this rooted connection to the Earth. Feel the support of Pachamama, Mother Earth.

While in meditation focus on a red wheel of energy or light at the base of your spine. While envisioning this red wheel of light, Muladhara Chakra, repeat the bija mantra for the first chakra or an affirmation like: I am safe and secure. I am firmly rooted and supported wherever I am.

I hope you’ve found this blog helpful and healing. If you would like to go deeper into the chakra, please join me on a chakra inspired yoga retreat or join the newsletter, where you will receive chakra tips and advice straight to your inbox.

The Goddess Lakshmi and the Art of Giving and Receiving

Lakshmi goddess of prosperity

Recently I’ve been drawn to the great goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. Their stories are magical and moving, exciting and inspiring, and sometimes even terrifying. My original intention was to write a blog post introducing the goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance, well-being, harmony, good luck and prosperity in all forms, but she also personifies so many other characteristics worthy of discussion and embodiment. We call on Lakshmi to access the ocean of abundance that lies within, to find our radiant inner beauty, and to guide us on the path of our dharma.

As one of the Great Mother goddesses, Lakshmi guides us from the darkness to the light. She helps us move from a mindset rooted in fear and lack into a mindset of love, abundance, and generosity. The name Lakshmi comes from the Hindu word Laksya with means “aim” or “goal”. When manifesting abundance we can practice self-inquiry and take a moment to examine our intentions. Why do I want this? How would having this influence my life? How would it improve my life and how could my having it improve the lives of others? How can I use this to serve my community?

Abundance Flows to You and Through You

“Abundance flows to you and through you” has been my mantra for more or less the past year. And yes yogis, it is true, abundance flows both ways! I’ve experienced this flow (and lack of) again and again. When I found myself getting stuck in feelings of fear of not having enough or lack I could feel the Universe pulling back. But what’s even more amazing is when I drop back into the space of abundance, gratitude, and worthiness, I feel the support of the cosmos, Lakshmi, the Universe, God, whatever you want to call it. It’s as if I could do anything.

Our ability to give and receive freely depends deeply on our own personal beliefs that we are worthy of love, worthy of gifts, and that others too are worthy of these same gifts. Sally Kempton, author of Awakening Shakti, said it perfectly, “When you can allow yourself to receive with the feeling that you deserve the gifts of life, and then give with the feeling that others deserve them also, you find yourself in what one of my teachers called the auspicious state of mind, the state where shri is simply flowing through you. You feel Lakshmi’s presence as internal abundance and also as gratitude and as the desire to bless others. It’s then that you can begin to feel Lakshmi’s energy as your own.”

Lakshmi: A Tale of Generosity

One of my favorite stories of Lakshmi personifies an attitude of generosity, compassion, and empathy. As the story goes, Lakshmi and her husband Vishnu were the manifest deities at a wealthy temple for the high-caste in Varanasi, India. One year, during the festival of Diwali, Lakshmi decided to visit the town’s untouchables and bestow the untouchables with food and money. Her generosity extended to both those who worshipped her and those who did not. A beautiful reminder that we are all worthy, whether we (or others) deem us to be worthy.

Upon learning that Lakshmi has been spending time with the untouchables, Vishnu becomes angry with her. She immediately flees and goes to live with a group of sweepers. Upon Lakshmi’s arrival, the sweeper community begins to prosper, there is an abundance of food and there is enough money for the sweepers to fix-up their homes.

While the sweepers are being lifted up out of poverty Vishnu’s temple is falling into ruins, the community stops bringing offerings, and the surrounding trees begin to wither. Out of desperation, Vishnu finds Lakshmi and begs her to return. She obliges on one condition, that he may never restrict her ability to share her blessings again.

I think we all probably know a Lakshmi. We have a friend that we can count on… she lends us an ear when we need to chat, she nourishes with food and her gracious spirit, she uplifts us when we need a pep talk, she believes in the abundance of the Universe and is happy to share. She gives from a place of love and heart and soul. She gives without expectations. And yes, abundance seems to flow her way.

The Goddess of Abundance and Padma Mudra (Lotus Mudra)

The lotus is a common image in Hinduism and Buddhism and Lakshmi is often depicted either sitting or standing on a lotus flower and holding two lotus flowers in her hands. Bansi Pandit goes into even more detail about the symbolism of Lakshmi’s lotuses and explains that “since the right side of the body symbolizes activity, a lotus in the back right hand conveys the idea that one must perform all duties in the world in accordance with dharma. This leads to moksha (liberation), which is symbolized by a lotus in the back left hand of Lakshmi.”

A lotus flower begins down in the muck and mud and rises up through the water to blossom unscathed at the water’s surface. You can think of the path of the lotus as the journey to enlightenment. It is the journey from the darkness to the light.

To practice Padma Mudra, bring your hands into Anjali Mudra (prayer mudra) in front of your heart center and then separate your index fingers, middle fingers, and ring fingers. Allow the fingers to spread away from one another like a lotus flower blooming while keeping the pinkies, thumbs and wrists touching.

Did you also know that Ambuja means lotus? Learn more about the meaning of Ambuja here.

Four Lakshmi Inspired Practices to Cultivate the Art of Giving and Receiving

“Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”

~Brene Brown

A practice in self-love.

Lie down onto your back and come into Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose/Reclined Butterfly Pose). To practice Supta Baddha Konasana, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet to touch. Allow your knees to drop out to the side like the pages of a book. If you have any pain in your hips or knees support your thighs with blocks, cushions, etc.

Now bring your right hand to your belly and your left hand to your heart. Before continuing, take a moment to bring your awareness to your breath and your heartbeat and simply witness.

Your right hand is often considered the hand of action and your left hand is often considered the hand of reception. In this exercise, envision a free flow of self-love flowing through your left hand and into Anahata Chakra, your heart center. Your heart, mind, and body receive this love graciously and without judgment or expectation. Stay with this free-flowing self-love, allow it to flow into your body for ten to fifteen breaths. Then release this awareness and bring your awareness to your right hand, repeat a mantra of kind words and affirmations of self-love, gratitude, abundance, and/or worthiness. If you’re feeling stuck, perhaps try the same mantra that I have been using, “Abundance flows to me and through me” or try “I freely give and receive the gifts and blessings of Lakshmi.”

A practice in the art of giving and receiving inspired by Sally Kempton’s Awakening Shakti

Set aside thirty minutes or so to journal about your beliefs about giving and receiving.

  • To begin, let’s focus on what you would like to receive. Free write a list of the blessings/gifts you would like to receive, whether they are material or spiritual. Be specific. Are other people involved? If yes, name them.
  • From the above list, decide which three are the most important blessings. For each of the three blessing answer the following questions:
  • How would this blessing influence your life? How would things change? How would this influence your relationships with others? How would you be able to serve others better?
  • How do I intentionally or unintentionally limit my ability to receive these blessings? In what ways do I limit my potential or practice self-sabotage?
  • How could I help someone else receive the same blessings that I want for myself? Write down a few actionable steps to help someone else achieve the same blessing that you want for yourself.
  • Now put it into action, for yourself and for this other person.

Say yes when help is offered. Ask for help when needed.

When we accept help from someone, we gift them the opportunity to be of assistance. If we deny their offer to help, we are shutting down the energy and flow of abundance. I know I struggle with this one! I like to be in control and allowing someone else to help with a task, means that it is out of my hands, but what a gift it is!

I was reminded of this recently when I was leading a yoga teacher training weekend in Bend and we had to be out of the studio quickly, so the next group could come in. One of my gracious students offered to help sweep the floors and my first instinct was to shut it down and say “no” and “that I’ve got it” simply because I’m a people pleaser and I want to make sure that I’m not inconveniencing anyone. I quickly checked myself and my ego and accepted her offer to help. The next time someone offers to help you I encourage you to check in and say yes.

And yogis, we have got to ask for help when we need it! I’m still working on this one. I will run myself into the ground before asking for help, so maybe I’m writing this more for myself than for you. But we cannot do it all ourselves.

And plus, when we ask for help, we are gifting someone with the opportunity to lend a hand. They will feel good about helping someone in need (YOU) and you may end up with a bit of free time to take care of yourself or help someone else in need.

And finally, get your chant on. Chant to Mata Lakshmi.

Okay, I’m definitely the crazy lady chanting in the car, walking the dogs, etc. But I don’t really care.

Invoke Lakshmi with this beautiful simple chant.

Om shrim maha Lakshmyai namaha

Ohm shreem muh-hah luhk-shmyai nuh-muh-huh

Om, I offer salutations to the great goddess of good fortune.

Jai Lakshmi!

Until next time beautiful yogis!

Love and Light,

Autumn

Introduction to the Chakras

chakra colors

An Introduction to Chakras

Chakras are swirling energy wheels observed throughout the body. They are commonly associated with different mental, emotional, and physical traits originating from eastern spiritual traditions. The seven main chakras have been adopted by western culture as a pathway to connecting with your spiritual self by cultivating awareness to these concentrated energy centers.

The origin of the chakras

The idea of chakras was first developed in ancient India thousands of years ago, the earliest evidence of chakras can be found in the Vedas. The Vedas are an ancient religious text written in Sanskrit (the written language of ancient India), they are the oldest known scriptures of Hinduism and the oldest known written Sanskrit dating back to 1500-500 BCE. Evidence of chakra philosophies are found in the Upanishads (part of the Vedas) and helped to shape the spirituality of Hinduism, Buddhism and other ancient eastern religions.

The Upanishads are centered around two main spiritual forces, Brahman (ultimate reality) and Attman (soul self). Brahman exists outside of time and space and creates everything in every universe. Attman is the life force within every living being, the essence of an individual.

Attman energy (often called prana) flows through the human body along specific lines of energy called Nadis. These energy lines cross one another at certain points in the body forming wheels of energy called Chakras. “Chakra” in Sanskrit literally translates to “wheel” or “disc”, these spinning wheels of concentrated energy are where matter and consciousness meet.

Chakra locations

      Chakras are found at specific locations in the body. The number and location vary from philosophy to philosophy, some mystics suggest there are over 100 chakras in the body. Common western philosophies acknowledge seven main chakras that are located along the spine. These seven chakras are: the root chakra, the sacral chakra, the solar plexus chakra, the heart chakra, the throat chakra, the third eye chakra, and the crown chakra. Each of these chakras contains bundles of nerves and major organs as well as emotional, spiritual and psychological centers.

The contemporary western view of the seven chakras associates them with the seven colors of the rainbow. A healthy chakra is bright, vibrant and clear in color whereas an unhealthy or blocked chakra will appear to be more dim, muddy, and muted.

The seven main chakras stretch from the base of the spine to the crown of the head as follows:

The Root Chakra, Muladhara, is located at the base of the spine and is commonly seen as red. This chakra is focused on stability, security, and survival. When this chakra is open we feel safe and fearless.

The Sacral Chakra, Svadhisthana, is located in the lower abdomen above the pubic bone, and commonly appears orange. This chakra is our creativity and sexual center. This chakra brings vitality and joy through various forms of pleasure.

The Solar Plexus Chakra, Manipura, is located above the belly button and appears as yellow. This chakra is our source of personal power, assertiveness, confidence, and willpower. The solar plexus chakra empowers the rest of your body and helps you feel self-assured and independent.  

The Heart Chakra, Anahata, is located in the center of the chest and is commonly seen as green. This chakra is a source of love and connection and rules our relationships, unity, and balance. The heart chakra governs friendships, romance, and spiritual connections.

The Throat Chakra, Vishuddha, is located at the base of the throat and appears blue. This chakra gives us the ability to speak our truth, it is associated with communication, self-expression, and speech. A healthy throat chakra helps us express our views, let things go, and live in the moment.

The Third Eye Chakra, Ajna, is located on the forehead just above the space between the eyes and is commonly seen as indigo. This chakra governs spiritual awakening and intuition.  

The Crown Chakra, Sahasrara, is located at the top of the head and its color is violet. This chakra represents enlightenment, pure awareness, and spiritual connection. The crown chakra ultimately connects us with the divine spirit.

When all seven of your main chakras are in balance you will feel healthy spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. All is great and as it should be in the world, you’ll feel wonderful and like you can handle anything that is thrown your way.

However, it is common for one or more of your chakras to become temporarily blocked. If one chakra is blocked it is quite likely your other chakras will become out of alignment to compensate for this imbalance. The best way to identify which chakra(s) are out of balance is by bringing awareness to each one of them. Once you begin to cultivate awareness in your chakras you will be able to identify the root of the issue and begin the healing process.  

If you enjoyed this article, check out our intro to mudras blog post. You’ll discover here, how hand mudras can influence the chakras! And for a bit deeper understanding of the chakras check out this chakra blog post written by Abigail Cox.

You can also learn more about the chakras by joining the Ambuja Yoga Newsletter, where you will receive our downloadable chakra guide and receive updates about upcoming retreats where you can learn more about the chakras on an experiential level. Enter your email in the sidebar… easy peasy!

chakra guidechakra basics

What’s a Mudra? Discover The Power in Your Hands

What’s a Mudra?

Mudra is a term with many meanings. It is used to signify a hand gesture, a mystic position of the hands, a seal, or even a symbol. However, there are eye positions, body postures and breathing techniques that are also called mudras. These symbolic gestures are said to have some influence on your body’s energy or mood. For example, a person who consistently does the gesture of fearlessness, which can often be seen in the depiction of Indian deities, will lose their fearfulness over time. Gertrud Herschi, author of Mudras: Yoga in Your Hands, says, “Mudras engage certain areas of the brain and/or soul and exercise corresponding influence on them.” Essentially, mudras allow you to influence your body and mind by bending, crossing, extending or touching the fingers with other fingers.

In Hatha Yoga, there are 25 mudras. In addition to hand gestures, these also include eye and body positions and bandhas. In Kundalini yoga, the hand mudras are used during the body postures to intensify their effect.

hand mudra for trust

Vajrapradama mudra is a mudra for trust.

The Origin of the Mudras

The specific origin of the mudras is a mystery. Mudras are found and used throughout the entire world. In India, mudras are an established component of all religious activities. Various mudras and arm poses are significant in the depiction of the Hindu gods. Mudras also represent distinguishing characteristics of the deities.

Mudras are also common in Indian dance. The hands, eyes and body movements act out the entire song without words, almost like a sign language.

Mudras are also practiced in Tantric rituals. They play a large role in Buddhism. In the pictorial depictions of Gautama Buddha, six mudras are present. These mudras are closely related to his teachings and his life.

How are Mudras Practiced?

Form your hands and place your fingers as they are shown in the various illustrations. The pressure of the fingers should be very light and your hands should be relaxed. Some mudras may be difficult to do at first because of the placement of the fingers. With practice, they’ll become easier. If you do the mudra as best as possible, you should still experience the effects.

Mudras can be done while seated, lying down, standing or walking. Be sure that your body position is symmetrical and centered and that you are as relaxed as possible. If you sit on a chair while doing them, your back should be straight and your feet should have good contact with the floor. You can also do them lying down on your back. It is important to remain comfortable and relaxed because any tension will hinder the inner flow of energy. If you do them while walking, make sure you move in an even, calm and rhythmic way. You can also do them standing or seated in meditation.

Meditation is the preferred way to use mudras because the effect is accelerated and intensifies. Observing the normal flow of the breath or influencing and directing the breath is a very important way of supporting the mudra. Visualizations and affirmations can also intensify the effect of the mudra.

You can practice mudras at any time and in any place. A good time to practice mudras is a few minutes before getting up and a few minutes before falling asleep, before or after meals, when you walk somewhere, while on public transportation or during breaks at work. Specifically, select one or two mudras to practice at a time.

There is some disagreement among researchers regarding the amount of time you should hold a mudra. Hirschi says, “Mudras that are used for acute complaints — such as respiratory and circulation problems, flatulence, exhaustion, or inner restlessness — should be discontinued when the appropriate effect is achieved. Other mudras can be practices for three to thirty minutes, two to four times a day.”

The effects of the mudra may occur immediately, over several days, weeks or even months. The person performing the mudra may start to feel warm while the sense of pain or unwellness fades away. Their mood might improve. But exactly the opposite might occur first. They might become tired, or start to feel cold and shiver. This is also a positive sign of the effects.

Breathing to Enhance Mudras

The effect of a mudra can be intensified with the breath. They can also be enhanced by affirmations and visualizations. Here are a few tips on how to use breath to enhance mudras:

  • Exhale vigorously several times at the beginning of the mudra. This is said to make room for what you want to achieve.
  • Always lengthen the pause after inhaling and after exhaling by several seconds. Hirschi says, “The inner powers are developed during the pauses – on every level.”
  • When you practice a mudra to calm yourself slow your breathing.
  • When you practice a mudra to refresh yourself intensify your breathing.
  • Breath should be slow, deep, rhythmic and flowing

The Power of the Palm

Eastern sages and doctors say that the body, mind, and soul are inherent to every fingertip, finger joint, and each individual finger and even the entire hand.

Hirschi says, “There is a direct relationship between the hands and neck since the nerve paths run through the vertebral foramina in the arms, hands, and fingers. The flexibility of the hands always affects the flexibility of the neck. Moreover, spreading the ten fingers creates the thoracic vertebrae to spread out. This increases the tidal volume of the lungs. The hands and/or fingers no longer properly stretch their fingers. This shows tension in the heart area, which often indicates the prelude to heart disease or a tendency toward osteoporosis.”

Ilse Middendorf, a leading expert in the field of respiratory therapy, has proved that a direct relationship between the individual fingers and the corresponding areas of the lungs. The index fingers and thumbs influence breathing in the upper area of the lungs, the middle finger in the middle area and the little finger in the lower lung region.

Also, the nerve paths of the hands and feet occupy a large area in the brain. This area is much bigger than that of the arms and legs.

Ayurveda

Ayurveda practitioners believe that every illness is an imbalance in the human body and that healing can take place when the natural balance has been restored. They believe the universe is composed of Ether, Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. Therefore, human bodies are also composed of these five elements. Each finger represents an element. If there is too much or too little of one element, an imbalance occurs. The balance can be restored through mudras. The image below shows which element represents which finger.

Chakras

The most common classification of the chakras in the fingers is listed below:

Pinky finger = Sacral Chakra
Ring Finger = Root Chakra
Middle Finger = Throat Chakra
Index Finger = Heart Chakra
Thumb = Solar Plexus Chakra

Acupressure

Acupressure is a Chinese healing method used throughout the world. Instead of using needles, like acupuncture, meridians are stimulated with the fingers. In the image below you can see the corresponding points. You simply press the point lightly with the thumb for several minutes to achieve the desired effect.

Reflex Zones

The hand reflex zones correspond to the foot reflex zones. Both of the images below show the reflex points or surfaces that are connected with the muscles and organs.

There are also places on the palm that corresponds to the meridians, the energy paths that run through the body and control it’s individual functions like circulation, respiration, digestion, and individual organs. Additionally, astrology and palmistry aspects can be found in the hands.

Different Types of Mudras

There are many different types of mudras including mudras to heal physical and emotional problems, mudras for recharging energy reserves, improving relationships, coming to terms with the past, solving everyday problems, building character, planning the future or connecting with the divine among many others. You can even create your own mudra with proper knowledge and experience.

Here are three examples of mudras:

1. Ganesha Mudra (The elephant, Ganesha, the deity who overcomes all obstacles)

hand mudra ganesha

Hold your left hand in front of your chest with the palm facing outward. Bend the fingers. Now grasp the left hand with the right hand, which has its back facing outward. Move the hands to the level of the heart, right in front of the chest. While exhaling, vigorously pull the hands apart without releasing the grip. The will tense the muscles of the upper arms and chest area. While inhaling, let go of all the tension. Repeat six times and then lovingly place both hands on the sternum in this position. Focus on the feeling in this part of your body. Then change the hand position: your right palm now faces outward. Repeat the exercise six times in this position. Afterward, remain in silence for a while.

Ganesha is the remover of obstacles. If you would like to learn more about the Ganesha mudra, hop on over to this blog post I wrote from Bali here.

2. Pran Mudra (Life mudra)

pran-hand-mudra

With each hand: place the tips of the thumb, ring finger and little finger together. The other fingers remain extended.

The Pran Mudra activates the root chakra in which the elemental force of a human being is found.

The Pran Mudra generally increases vitality, reduces fatigue and nervousness, and improves vision. It is also used against eye diseases. On the mental-emotion level, it increases our staying power and assertiveness, healthy self-confidence, gives us the courage to start something new, and the strength to see things through.

3. Garuda Mudra (Garuda, mystical bird)

hand mudra garuda mudra

Clasp your thumbs and place your right hand on top of the left hand, on your lower abdomen. Remain in this position for about ten breaths and then slide your hands up to your navel. Stay here for another ten breaths. Then place your hands on the pit of your stomach and remain again for ten breaths. In conclusion, place your left hand on your sternum, turn your hands in the direction of your shoulders and spread your fingers.

This mudra activates blood flow and circulation, invigorates the organs, and balances energy on both sides of the body. Whether in the pelvic or chest area, it invigorates and stimulates. It relaxes and relieves pain related to menstrual complaints, stomach upsets, and respiratory difficulties. It also helps people deal with exhaustion and mood fluctuations.

We have loads of mudras on our blog. Which ones have you experimented with? Let us know in the comments.

Autumn, founder of Ambuja Yoga, often incorporates mudras into her yoga classes and retreats. If you would like to learn more, check out one her upcoming yoga retreats. Mudras are an integral part of the Ambuja Yoga teacher trainings. If you’re ready to take the leap, we’re here for you!

Stacey Ripp

Stacey Ripp

Growing up in the mountainous town of Bend, Oregon Stacey spent her early years exploring unmarked paths, hidden lakes and dirt roads. Her love for storytelling and communication led her to the Journalism school at University of Oregon.

During her time at UO, she found yoga and it was love at first sight. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations she began her career at a marketing agency, where she worked with a variety of clients to develop creative campaigns and increase brand visibility.

Eventually, her love for mountains and dirt roads brought her back to Bend where she found herself in Elearning. She worked as a creative director to develop eLearning courses for thought leaders. Now, she continues to work in both eLearning and marketing as a freelance consultant. And of course, she still loves yoga and continues to strengthen her practice.

Stacey completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Ambuja Yoga and can be found teaching yoga at Snap Fitness in Bend, Oregon.
Stacey Ripp

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What Is The Meaning Of Om?

om mantra meaning

If you’ve attended a yoga class or visited a Hindu or Buddhist temple you have likely heard the mantra OM or AUM being chanted. The Om mantra is the most sacred mantra in both Hinduism and Buddhism. In addition, Om is also said to be the primordial sound of the Universe. The Om mantra is the most elemental of vibrations and is considered the sound of the void.

According to Patanjali, Om, the original sound, is a direct expression of isvara or God. Therefore, when we chant Om it provides a direct link to the Divine and divine knowledge. Om connects us to the Divine in vibrational form and makes our prayers and mantras more effective by increasing pranic energy.

Where did the Om mantra originate?

Om, an ancient Sanskrit letter, first appeared in the Vedas between 1500 and 1200 BCE. The main teaching on Om from the Vedas, Upanishads and Yoga Sutras is to experience non-dual awareness.

How do you pronounce Om?

The common pronunciation of Om is to pronounce the mantra with the same “o” sound as in “home”. But there are actually three sounds that make up the mantra: A-U-M or “aaah”, “oooh”, “mmm”. The sound of OM/AUM begins at the back of the throat with the “aaah” sound and ends at the lips with the “mmm” sound. When chanting the mantra OM, it fills the entire mouth from back to front, which represents the entire Universe. Similarly, when chanting Om, one can feel its vibration deep within the body. At the end of chanting AUM there is a pause or a moment of silence. This pause represents the state known as Turiya, or Infinite Consciousness.

What does the Om symbol mean?

If you look at the symbol for OM you will see three curves, one semicircle, and a dot at the top. In addition, each portion of the symbol contains not only the sounds of the mantra but deeper symbolism and meaning.

  • The large bottom curve symbolizes the waking state, A.
  • The middle curve signifies the dream state, U.
  • The upper curve denotes the state of deep sleep, M.
  • The dot signifies the fourth state of consciousness, Turiya.
  • The semi-circle at the top represents Maya or illusion. Therefore, it is the illusion of Maya that is an obstacle to accessing our highest self.

The three sounds of the om mantra represent the various trinities:

  • Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva (creator, preserver, destroyer)
  • The past, present, and future
  • The waking, dreaming, and dreamless states
  • Heaven, earth, and underworld

In David Frawley’s book, Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound, he says:

“Om is the prime mantra of the Higher Self, or Atman. It attunes us with our true nature. It is the sound of the creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe, who is also the inner guru and prime teacher. It reflects both the manifest and un-manifest Brahman, sustaining the vibration of being, life, and consciousness in all worlds and all creatures.”

The mantra Om is directly linked to the sixth and seventh chakras, Ajna and Sahasrara respectively.

Sound and vibration are powerful tools for healing and transformation. Exploring the mantra OM, and the power of sound can remind us to treat our words and thoughts as sacred, creative, and divine. What we think and say, we manifest.

Nikola Tesla said, “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

om mantra meaning