Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Like a balloon that’s about to explode? According to Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, these symptoms indicate you need to decrease the space element in your body. Practicing shunya mudra is a great place to start!
Mudras, yogic energy seals, are effective in balancing and re-directing energy within our subtle bodies. In this article, we’ll demystify shunya mudra, look at its benefits, and cover how to work it into your yoga practice. Experience a new dimension of balance and wellbeing by practicing this simple, elegant hand gesture.
What Is Shunya Mudra?
Have you ever heard of the pancha-bhoota? They are the five elements that form the basis of all creation, according to the ancient Indian medical system, Ayurveda. They include air, water, earth, ether/space, and fire, which are collectively known as pancha bhoota, or sometimes, pancha-tatva. When stress, poor diet, karmic residue and psychological challenges arise in life, they imbalance the elements and trigger a range of issues, including vertigo, migraine, and ear disorders, and spaciness.
Paired with asana, pranayama, meditation and reflection, shunya mudra invites openness, spaciousness, and clarity into your system by activating the air element.
The word shunya comes from the Sanskrit word for emptiness, spaciousness and openness. It’s also called aakaash shaamak (akash means space or ether, the element). Related to the theory of pancha bhoota is that of the pancha kosha, which relates each finger to a specific element. Following this theory, you can balance the space element, which is embodied in the middle finger, with the fire energy possessed in the thumb. In this mudra, the thumb and the middle finger touch while the other fingers are fully extended.
The middle finger is also understood as the digit most closely related to heaven. The use of this mudra can provide access to the realm of heaven using fire energy and ether energy, which explain the other name this mudra commonly goes by: the heaven mudra.
Planet: Mars and Saturn
Element: Space element
Chakra: Anahata chakra, our heart chakra
Spaciousness & Other Benefits of Shunya Mudra
Ayurvedic doctors often prescribe shunya mudra when patients present hearing issues, chronic sinus infections, and other issues related to the ears. Ancient texts suggest that practicing this mudra will tune your ears to the subtle sounds of the universe.
As we’ve seen, practicing Shunya mudra with consistency can also have incredible health benefits, just to name a few, this gesture:
- Enhances intuition and deep listening
- Thought to relieve vertigo and travel sickness by improving balance
- Reduces mental stress by focusing the mind
- Soothe the nervous system
- Activates Anahata,the heart chakra, through of compassion, love, and kindness
How To Do Shunya Mudra
- Find a comfortable seated position.
Start by sitting in any comfortable posture, possibly in easy pose, making sure that the spine is straight and the shoulders are relaxed.
- Breathe deeply.
Take deep breaths in and out before starting and try to practice with closed eyes, so as to connect yourself with your body.
- Find your hand position.
Gently press the tip of the middle finger to the bottom of the thumb and the other fingers are completely extended. Hold for 15-20 minutes, focusing awareness in the heart center.
Pair These Yoga Practices With Shunya Mudra
Infuse these practices with the spacious power of shunya mudra:
- Ustrasana (Camel Pose): Since we’ve said that this gesture stimulates the Anahata chakra, it’d be best to combine it with a heart-opening yoga posture like Ustrasana, Camel Pose. Start by kneeling on the floor, lift your hips off the heels and make sure that they’re in line with your knees. Inhale- Exhale, tuck the toes in and with control, bend back and grab either heel with the respective hand, while the other hand points towards the sky while performing Shunya mudra.
- Natarajasana (Dancer’s Pose): This mudra, as we’ve said, can enhance your balance and aid against vertigo. So a great pose that pairs really well with this gesture is a balancing pose like Natarjasana. Start from Tadasana, inhale and bend the right leg, grab the right foot from behind with your right hand. Exhale, inhale and kick the foot into the leg and raise the right leg from behind. Inhale, lift the left hand and perform ShuBend forward with your torso
- Heart Chakra Meditation:This mudra can be paired with any form of meditation, but I suggest pairing it with the heart chakra meditation. Practice with me here ⬇️
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