Newsletter - Mudra and Breath
What is your body shape depicting right now? Are you feeling lifted or experiencing a downer? Your shape and gestures are most informative as to your state of mind.
What are you communicating not only to others but to yourself? Straighten up! Does this effect your mood?
I feel it would not be a good idea to suggest to you what you should feel with a certain gesture, posture or mudra but we can experience and feel the effects when performing them.
Keep Calm and Breath, this could help over the Christmas period.
Sit on the floor or on a chair for 10 minutes with your eyes shut and back straight. Exhale first take a deep, slow breath in, and observe what your body does, if your shoulders rise and fall, you’re in trouble. That sort of ‘top chest’ breathing can lead to anxiety, poor focus and insomnia.
Roll your colour bones up, drop your shoulders down away from your ears. Focus everything on your abdomen. As you breathe in, expand your stomach forward and out. Continue to breath up into the diaphragm, then the upper chest. Then breath out from the chest, through the diaphragm and out of the abdomen. Pause briefly at the ends of the breath. Every cell in your body needs oxygen, breath slowly and calmly, just focus on doing that a number of times a day, and you’ll automatically be reducing stress, calming your mind, boosting your immune system and building focus. Learn to exhale slowly and fully. The inhale action takes care of itself and you will know that the peace which passes all understanding is with you now.
Here is some history/information about mudras:
The ancient system of precise hand and body movements that can develop energy circuits within the body, channel breath and deepen meditation. We constantly use our hands, body gestures and facial expressions to make signs or pictures of ideas of what we want to convey. We take these hand and body movements for granted – as simply a means to communicate. But, they are more than that. They are examples of mudras, precise ways of holding the hands, fingers and body to represent specific acts of offering, salute or understanding and, to produce certain energetic effects.
Mudras influence the way we experience our breath and energy (life force or prana) during daily activity as well as in acts of ritual, dance, movement, prayer and blessing and also asana.
We draw the body’s energetic forces and breathe to particular areas in precise ways. Mudras can work to develop energy circuits in the body, channel breath and mind for healing or help us to enter more deeply into meditation.
Types of mudras run the gamut from natural gestures we use in everyday living to hand positions that work on deeper levels during meditation. Gestures we use every day represent, for the most part, simple actions such as: - greeting someone with an outstretched hand, - calming another by raising a hand, - blaming by raising a finger or – gestures in dance or theatre which are conventional methods for supporting word, movement or songs in a performance.
On the esoteric level, we see mudras as religious gestures which assume metaphysical meanings, such as those carved into devotional statues depicting episodes of the Buddhist legend, or those used in Vedic rituals to denote various Gods and Goddesses.
Some Mudras, such as Maha Mudra, yoga Mudra or Viparita Karina Mudra employ the entire body. Others involve only the and, isolating the fingers in specific combinations to evoke particular energies in precise ways. In these hasta, or hand mudras, the fingers and hands take on different conceptual meanings, depending upon the spiritual orientation one adheres to.
The hand is like a miniature universe representing a complete cosmological system. In the Buddhist and yogic systems, the Right hand represents the SUN, and the Left hand represent the MOON. The Sun represents intelligence and the Moon represents meditation. In both hands the fingers are represented by the 5 elements. Variations abound as to which fingers represent each element.
The underlying power of mudra is in its energetic effect. Otherwise mudra remains in the purely mental domain, and then the practitioner misses the real energetic impact that lies behind the symbology of the action.
The early Yogis, Buddhists and Taoists most likely did not spend a lot of time speculating about the existence of an inner moon or nectar, or chakras or nadis, or indeed energy for that matter. They directly experienced them, then cryptically referred them to the teaching texts.
Some experience the effects along a continuum ranging from mild to intense bodily sensations. Some may feel that their attention shifts internally to specific areas of the body. Others find their mind suspends all thoughts, whilst others experience the slowing of breath in the body or a deepening of the meditative experience.
Here is a quote from Rudyard Kipling “if” could help over the Christmas period!
‘If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too;’ the poem ends by saying ‘Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, and – which is more – you’ll be a Man, My Son!’
There will be an additional Classes on Monday 3rd and Wednesday 5th of December at Asthall Manor and Shipton. These classes are in aid of Children in need
I hope to see you in 2019.
Classes start again on Monday 7th of January in Burford, Tuesday 8th of January in Moreton-in-Marsh and Wednesday 9th of January in Shipton under Wychwood.
Here are the first 3 retreats for 2019. These retreats are for all abilities. The teaching changes to suit your needs.
A day of Yoga at Beaconsfield Hall, Shipton-under-Wychwood, 2 February 2019
We will have a full day of yoga, including the use of props and catering for the stiffer body. The Hall is well suited for yoga and is light, spacious and warm. The afternoon talk is titled ‘100%Focus and 0% Force’.
Two days in Shipton-under-Wychwood, 16-17 March 2019
We will have a two full day of yoga, meditation, relaxation and Talks. For programme and directions please see web.
A week of Yoga in the Greek Island of Lesbos,25 May – 1 June 2019
A week at the Sunrise Hotel near Molyvos. All rooms have balconies with magnificent panoramic views over the craggy terrain covered with wild flowers. An unspoilt island where you can swim in the warm sea or dip in the nearby hot springs.