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A Mudra For States of Happiness

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Published on Apr 10, 2012

Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500 (Director of Yoga Teacher Training at Aura Wellness Center, guides you through a Mudra for Happiness. Demonstration given by Yong Yang.

A Mudra for States of Happiness
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

A mudra is a gesture, seal or energetic lock that enhances the flow of energy to a particular part of the body. A mudra also has the capacity of shifting your emotional state, as it enhances and directs the flow of energy throughout the subtle energetic pathways of the body. The originating point of a mudra can be a strong internal state, such as the state of fearlessness, or the originating point of a mudra can be generated by its external performance.

In other words, by practicing mudras that are the physical manifestation of beneficent emotional states, such as gratitude and fearless, we actually can generate the internal experience of these virtuous and uplifting mental states. There is a diversity of mudras that correlate with different emotional states. Classically speaking, mudras are found most commonly in Hinduism and Buddhism. These profound gestures and energetic seals can deeply affect our emotional state of being.

It is quite common for many Yoga students and teachers to struggle with emotional states that are not quite so uplifting. All of us experience days when our spirits and minds are not quite as happy and peaceful as we would like them to be. This simple “Happiness Mudra” can help to shift a negative state of being into a state of happiness. When you're ready to practice the Happiness Mudra, come to an easy sitting position on a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your spine erect, or sit on your Yoga mat in Sukhasana.

Before you begin your practice of this Happiness Mudra, take a few deep belly breaths. As you inhale, expand your chest cavity completely. As you exhale, draw your navel in to the back of your spine gently, as you release your breath completely. Take three rounds of deep belly breathing before proceeding with the arm movements of the Happiness Mudra. After you have completed three rounds of belly breathing, bring your arms to shoulder height and bend them parallel to the floor with your palms facing each other.

Create an energetic seal by clasping the first knuckle of your ring finger and little finger with your thumb. Keep the index finger and third finger of each hand together and pointing towards the ceiling. Bend your arms slightly as you make a softly rounded oval with your arms at a 40-degree angle over your head. As you rotate your hands out slightly, you will feel your shoulders and neck begin to release tension, as the area behind your heart begins to expand. Remember to keep breathing deeply and fully. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, while visualizing a place or person who brings you happiness.

If you find that your shoulders are growing tired, you may wish to practice this mudra for only 30 seconds at a time. This mudra can be practiced more than once a day, so if you find that your shoulders are growing tired you may wish to break the practice of the Happiness Mudra into two, 30-second sessions per day. If you are strong in your upper body and shoulders, and you are happy practicing this mudra for 2 minutes or longer, please continue to enjoy a longer practice period.

You will find that the positioning of your arms and your hands in the Happiness Mudra opens up both the front and the backside of your heart chakra area. As you hold this mudra, you will release tension throughout the shoulders, neck and throat chakra areas. The buoyancy that comes from practicing back bending poses in a Yoga class is similar to the buoyancy that you will feel when you practice this mudra. The reason for this is that many of the areas that become constricted with stress, disappointment or painful experiences are expanded and opened up during the practice of the Happiness Mudra.

The release and strengthening actions of Warrior II Yoga Pose are also found in the upper body movements implicit in the practice of the Happiness Mudra. When you have completed your practice of this mudra, release your arms and place your hands gently back in your lap. Pause for a moment to feel the lightness and ease throughout your upper torso and shoulder areas. Breathe gently and enjoy the expansive quality generated by your practice of the Happiness Mudra. If you would like more information about the practice of mudras or about becoming a certified Yoga teacher, please visit: www.aurawellnesscenter.com.

Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she works as a yoga and health-related freelance writer and academic support specialist. She is currently accepting writing assignments and may be contacted at: enchantress108@gmail.com.

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