As this Silent Sunday arrives before I offer the conclusion to the current series, “Illusion of Life,” today’s mudra meditation offers three related postures designed to elicit awareness and acceptance of Life’s polarities. Each may be practiced on its own, yet the trio’s combined effects decidedly break through and sweep away any residue of the practice’s inherent (and intentional) tension.
Meditation? Tension? This conceptual juxtaposition underscores the purpose of the technique: In order to relax into a world rife with oppositional forces and paradox, each “side” must be addressed equally. Always there is a battle for dominance, within us and around us, in and between Nature and human society. Today’s practice brings us to the felt center of the struggles, and ultimately promotes ease within the constant fluctuation.
Special note: As always, I do suggest a short warm-up series of spinal movements and/or basic locomotor exercises (if a full movement practice is not on your agenda) , so that you activate the flow of prana throughout the meridians. Additionally, you want to erase any stiffness in your muscles and joints, so that you can sustain physical comfort in meditation.
In your preferred seated posture, raise the hands to heart level. Place the right hand on top of the left (both palms face down); try to find where the left knuckles nestle between the base webbings of the right fingers. With your forearms parallel to the ground and the mudra in front of your heart, begin to press he right hand firmly down into the left. Simultaneously, exert pressure upward from the left hand into the right. This will feel effortful and create tension; breathe deeply and powerfully. Notice if one hand is “winning,” and do your best to equalize the energy put forth by the dueling hands. Continue for 1-3 minutes. To finish, inhale; suspend the breath for a count of 6. Double-exhale (hah-haaah) out the mouth with the tongue extended: Release the tension.
After you have sat quietly for a minute or so, engage the second mudra. Place your hands into traditional prayer mudra (Anjali Mudra: palms together, fingers together and straight up); keep your elbows lifted, forearms parallel to the ground. Place the mudra directly on to your chest, so that the base knuckles of the thumbs press firmly into the sternum (the boney groove between the breasts). As you press in toward your heart center, also strongly press the palms together. Be aware of the body’s urge to surrender one source of power to the other; feel the energy fluctuate as you try to provide equal pressure to the palm tension, and to the knuckle/sternum effort. After 1-3 minutes, complete this part with the same inhale/exhale release as in the previous section.
Finally, with the heightened sensation and deeper awareness of the ebb and flow of opposing energies, sit still and allow the energies to disperse themselves throughout your body, mind, and subtler surrounding fields. Attune to the rooting of your sitting bones and lower spine; you may even want to press the tops of your thighs down to suggest the grounding to your body. Notice if other areas of your body tighten or resist as your Lower Triangle relaxes into the earth.
Consciously open your crown, so that your Upper Triangle energy (chakras and anatomical correlations from the heart center, up) can rise. Just as in the mudra exercises, feel where the body is locked or weak in response to the simultaneous ascent and descent of energy. As you increase your ability to sense and accept the continual movement in seemingly opposite directions, you will find that the rhythm generates a wholeness that circles inside and around you. Battle becomes flow, and resistance yields to ease.