Today we’ll work with a more subtle practice: mudras. A mudra is a hand gesture that is commonly used in both yoga and meditation classes - for example, bringing the palms together in front of the heart while chanting Om at the start and end of a yoga class is referred to as Anjali mudra.
The word “mudra” means seal in sanksrit and one of the easiest to practice anywhere is the Five Elements Mudra. The simple action of tapping your thumbs onto the tips of your other fingers allows the brain to focus on one monotonous task so it can quiet down - great for moments of anxiety and insomnia.
Why is it called “Five Elements”? The five fingers of the hand are thought to represent the five elements of the universe:
Thumb to fire
Index finger to air
Middle finger to connection
Ring finger to Earth
Pinky finger to water
Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Situate your body any way that feels comfortable, whether it’s lying down, sitting in a chair, on the floor or standing.
Bring your attention to your breath and the weight of your hands.
On your inhale spread the fingers wide, as you exhale touch your thumb to your index finger.
Inhale spread the fingers wide, exhale touch your thumb to your middle finger.
Inhale spread the fingers wide, exhale touch your thumb to your ring finger.
Inhale spread the fingers wide, exhale touch your thumb to your pinky finger.
Inhale spread the fingers wide, exhale relax the hand completely.
Repeat steps 3 to 7 for as many rounds as you like.