Open the Eyes of Your Hands.

Via on Jan 15, 2011

The neuron connection between the hand and  the brain is immense, as I learned today at Yoga Journal’s 8th annual Conference at San Francisco.  

According to New Mexico yoga teacher Tias Little, the thumb itself accounts for a the largest portion of that brain/hand connection, making  the hands seem pretty important in our minds, literally.  

In Eastern traditions like yoga, Hinduism and Buddhism, it’s common to use mudras, or hand gestures that hold various signicant meaning. Sometimes used as greetings, they can also be used in practice to connect various energy channels, invoke a deity or idea or encourage either increased energy or relaxation.

They are common symbols in many religions and spiritual practices.  Notice the abhaya mudra, or the no fear gesture:

Or the Pran Mudra, which is said to activate the root, or first chakra at the base of the spine, increasing the sense of well being and groudedness. But it is also commonly recognized as a symbol of blessing:

Or anjali mudra, which can be seen as a greeting, a prayer, equal balance and inner reflection:

The imagery of the eyes in the center of the palm is common in Eastern depictions of deities, as Little explained today and showed us in the example of the White Tara:

More than artistic, however, the concept is used to introduce the idea that the hands have intelligence that is usually forgotten and under-appreciated, both in the practice of yoga and in every day life. Think about it? How many hours do you spend at the computer, or at the steering wheel? Yogis, how often do you think about your hands  in chaturanga? 

As Little points out, not only does the hand have mental and spiritual significance, it also serves as a portal to the arm, and is one of the first places that become arthritic in old age.

“When joints close down, the blood and nerve supply throughout the body are compromised,” says Little, “and it’s important to remember that it’s all connected: the hand serves as portal to the arm, to the chest and to the lung.”

So whether it’s spiritual, mental or physical benefit you are after, a little spreading of the hands and palms is beneficial for mind and body.

For more information on Tias Little and his teachings, please visit: http://www.prajnayoga.net/tias-little/

About Candice Garrett

Candice Garrett is a yoga teacher, writer, foodie and mother of three from Monterey, California. She is author of "Prenatal Yoga: Finding Movement in Fullness," assistant to Female Pelvic Floor Goddess Leslie Howard and director of the Nine Moons Prenatal Yoga teacher training program. Candice teaches yoga, prenatal yoga and pelvic health with workshops nationally. You can find her teaching schedule at Candice Garrett Yoga or her love of food at The Yogic Kitchen

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10 Responses to “Open the Eyes of Your Hands.”

  1. april says:

    Beautiful! Love the title! xoxo

  2. Enjoy getting these reports from the conference, Candice.

  3. johnfossella says:

    Very cool! Made me think of Michelangelo's sculptures (Mary's hand in the Pieta) and paintings (God's hand in Creation of Adam) where one can look to the hands to understand the story and the feelings portrayed. Am really wanting to learn more about what hand postures to use when/where in yoga & will check out her site.

  4. Joe Sparks says:

    An arm around the shoulders or a hand to hold is a very reassuring thing.

  5. Maureen Miller says:

    Mudra in your hands by Gertrude Hirschi is a great resource. Thanks for sharing, Candice.

  6. Nancy A says:

    cool post.. love this and think Tias is excellent. I learned more in three hours with him than a month taking regular classes. Glad you are enjoying the YJ conference

  7. Ben_Ralston says:

    Great Post Candice – very interesting to hear more about Mudras… one of the 'forgotten' and less understood aspects of yoga for sure. Thank you!

  8. Charlotte says:

    I learned about the power of hand mudras from Richard Miller years ago. I use mudras mainly in pranayama practice, and am continually amazed at how much mudras can change the effects of pranayama. Richard has a guide to mudras available on his website: http://www.irest.us/catalog/products/books/mudra.

  9. Gil Lupul says:

    I like this blog very much, Its a rattling nice berth to read and find information. “I have never liked working. To me a job is an invasion of privacy.” by Danny McGoorty.

  10. hilary says:

    Great article but never heard of groudedness…what's that?

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