The Bhagavad-Gita enlightens us that our mind is the root cause of our happiness or distress, for it is the mind that harbors desires and experiences various emotions. Furthermore, Ayurveda suggests that repressed emotions are among the top contributors to heart disease and other imbalances.
Let’s delve into the qualities of a healthy mind as prescribed in Ayurvedic scriptures and explore the mudras (symbolic hand gestures) that can help us cultivate these qualities for a healthier mental state.
The Foundation of a Healthy Mind
Ayurveda lists 14 qualities indicative of a healthy mind. Each can be fostered through specific mudras, which are most effective when performed for at least 15 minutes daily. While forming a mudra, try to feel your pulse in your fingertips. This sensation signifies that the mudra is activated.
A Deep Dive into Ayurvedic Mudras and Mental Qualities
1. Good Memory (Smritimanta): Jnana Mudra
The Jnana Mudra promotes a sharp memory. It involves connecting the tips of your thumb and forefinger, which activates the air element and clears the nadis (nerves), allowing the mind to focus on and retrieve subtle sounds.
2. Devotion (Bhaktimanta): Surabhi Mudra
The Surabhi Mudra is designed to encourage devotion. The term “Surabhi” translates to “cow,” an animal deemed sacred in the Vedas. This mudra involves a unique finger exchange wherein you match the pinky on one hand with the ring finger on the other, and vice versa, and you match the middle finger of one hand with the pointer finger on the other, and vice versa. The tips of both thumbs should also be touching. During this mudra, strive to spread tranquility through deep breathing and universal prayers.
3. Gratitude (Kritagya): Uttarabodhi Mudra
The Uttarabodhi Mudra, famously used by Buddha, helps develop an attitude of gratitude by opening the “third eye.” It involves clasping certain fingers and positioning them in front of your chest.
4. Wisdom (Pragya): Rudra Mudra
Named after Lord Shiva, the Rudra Mudra is known to enhance wisdom. It involves connecting the thumb, index, and ring fingers while meditating on the fire chakra located within the navel.
5. Purity and Cleanliness (Shuchayo): Suchi Mudra
The Suchi Mudra, symbolized by an uplifted index finger, helps maintain bodily purity and cleanliness.
6. Enthusiasm (Mahotsaha): Akasha Mudra
The Akasha Mudra, achieved by connecting the thumb and middle finger, can help clear your mind and awaken your inner enthusiasm.
7. Alertness (Daksha): Samana Mudra
By touching the tips of all your fingers, the Samana Mudra stirs the digestive fire and mental clarity, enhancing alertness and skills.
8. Courage and Patience (Dheera): Surya Mudra
The Surya Mudra, designed to foster courage and patience, involves folding the ring finger and placing the thumb over it.
9. Valor (Samar Vikranta Yodhinah): Prana Mudra
The Prana Mudra, which aids in nurturing valor, activates the body’s innate energy by connecting the tips of the little finger, ring finger, and thumb.
10. Free from Sorrow and Depression (Tyakta Vishadah): Sankha Mudra
The Sankha Mudra, symbolizing purification, can be beneficial in overcoming depression and sorrow.
11. Proper Gait and Movements (Suvyavasthita Gati): Meru Danda Mudra
The Meru Danda Mudra, performed with a straight back, can contribute to a more balanced gait.
12. Wisdom (Gambhira Buddhi): Buddhi Mudra
The Buddhi Mudra promotes wisdom by hydrating the body and nervous system, enhancing the innate intelligence in every organ.
13. Proper Connation (Cheshta): Hakini Mudra
The Hakini Mudra, achieved by connecting respective finger tips, encourages a proper desire within the heart.
14. Altruistic Behavior (Kalyanabhiniveshinah): Bhumisparsha Mudra
The Bhumisparsha Mudra, taught by Buddha, encourages grounding and connection with nature. Keeping one hand on your lap, simply relax your other hand and gently allow your four fingers to touch the ground.
Embrace these mudras in your daily routine and discover their transformative power in your journey to mental well-being!