Have you ever surprised or even shocked yourself with a reaction entirely antithetical to how you typically behave or to whom you believe yourself to be? It is jarring and can induce feelings of guilt and confusion. Lately, I have been in a situation that demands a determined effort to remain gentle and patient. More often than not, these traits permeate my daily thoughts and activities, or at least are near enough to the surface to access quickly. In the midst of my current commitment, however, they seem to have initiated a game of hide-and-seek when I need them the most.

The first of the following mudras works to cleanse and heal a heart that harbors latent anger and pain. The second mudra then softens and opens the throat chakra, so that your finest, truest qualities may be expressed. Each of the mudras may be practiced individually or paired with another of your favorite (or most-needed) hand configurations.

Special note: Part of the pleasure of including mudras in your meditation is that you can customize the way you work with them: placement on or near a specific chakra; the choice of a partner pranayama and/or mantra; and certainly the ability to enact a mudra the moment you need its particular qualities. Mudras are portable, so while they most readily release their power through focused silence, the angles of the gesture will act as a magnet and guide for the desired effect wherever you are and whatever you are doing.

After you have done a bit of a warm-up (so that you can sit comfortably for up to 11 minutes), create the first mudra. Place your palms on your heart, one hand over the other; sensitize your hands, especially the qigong heart point in the very center of each palm, so that your heart receives the intention of the mudra.

Next, with the mudra in position, begin Cannon Breath: Breathe in and out through a tiny, tight circle of your lips. The breath is equal inhale and exhale, and both halves receive focused effort; make the breath audible and powerful, with a steady (not extended) rhythm. Imagine the sound of a fireplace bellows, and attempt to recreate that pacing and power through the pursed lips. With your closed eyes focused on the Third Eye, continue the pranayama with mudra for 3-11 minutes.

When you feel ready to end the first mudra, sit quietly for a few moments, so that your heart has time to absorb and integrate the healing energies. Then you may set your intention for the second mudra, which will clear the way for full expression of your beneficent qualities.

I find that the easiest way to create Granthita Mudra is to interlace all fingers, palms together, left thumb over right (opposite for men). With the last three (middle, ring, and pinky) fingers still interlaced, release the thumb and index fingers on each hand. To form two interconnected rings, circle the index and thumb of one hand around the thumb of the other; then touch the remaining index fingertip to the lone thumb tip.

Raise the mudra to the level of the throat, and begin long, deep breathing through the nostrils, closed eyes gazing toward the Third Eye. The steady Ujjayi breathing with this mudra engages the lower lobes of the lungs, and allows the energy of the mudra to flow throughout your entire system. The throat chakra receives a boosting bath from the mudra and the breath, which allows you to put forth your “best self,” even in the most trying of circumstances. Continue for 3-11 minutes.

Happy Sunday…

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