by Julee Yew-Crijns
Mudras are energetic gestures. They are also sometimes described as seals or symbols. Most mudras are hand positions, also known as hasta (hand) mudra but mudras are also body postures, eye postures or breathing techniques. So you can say, every yoga posture is also a mudra. These gestures are a way of directing current into or through our bodies. You can say it is about adding another level of focused attention. Hence it is common practice to use hand mudras during meditation.
More research is starting to show that our psyche is affected by messages we receive from our bodies. A well known example is, standing with an open body to feel more confident. Smiling to change how you feel, even when it is forced. Similarly, mudras engage with specific parts of our brain or body and is said to have the ability to alter how we feel or even cure certain ailments.
Mudra Vinyasa is a moving meditation practice that focuses on shifting energetic patterns in our bodies, mainly to calm the nervous system and leave the practitioner feeling relaxed but also energized at the same time. On a good day, it leaves you feeling perfectly balanced. The practice evolved out of my love for Prana Vinyasa Yoga (by Shiva Rea), Shadow Yoga (by Shandor Remete) and Chinese Martial arts practices such as Qigong and Tai Chi (and various other branches of schools) It also grew out of my love for slow movement that feels and looks soft but is actually a steady powerful fire inside. I started to practice like this out of practicality- on the beach especially and outdoors where it is not practical or comfortable to put your hands down on the ground. I found that it got me so focused, that I just started to include it as part of my home practice also. It got a big push when a vinyasa-loving friend had shoulder surgery and still wanted to practice flow but was unable to do the “usual stuff”. And so grew these Mudra Vinyasa sequences. I added mudras as I feel like they have a place in the practice, especially within some of the flows. Already we often see chin mudra in some asanas, so why not include more.
Come and try it! It is not a soft practice. There are no difficult asanas in the open practices, you are rarely on your hands (maybe just all fours and cobra) Having said that, it is a dynamic practice. You will build quite a bit of heat as you will be moving every part of your body for the whole duration of the class. Your legs & hips work quite hard as there is a lot of Muladhara Chakra work (base chakra, thinking about getting rooted & grounded) And i will be including a fire section in each practice too.
Above is a link to the practice. It is a short version that aims to show the essence of the practice. If you have practiced with me before, you can use the video to help you with the flows. You just have to repeat each flow more and add the asanas in between each flow. Enjoy!