Pose of the Week: Namaskar

The Pose of the Week, this week, is not actually a pose, it is a mudra. It is Namaskar Mudra. A mudra is a hand gesture. 

This mudra can be incorporated into other asanas (poses), such as some of the asanas we have already focused on, such as Virabhadrasana 1, Parsvottanasana and Utkatasana. It can also be incorporated into Tadasana(alternately named Samasthiti), which we have looked at in the blog post last year. This is where you are standing with straight arms overhead and the palms are together. This is called a Urdhva Namaskar, where Urdhva means upwards. 

Image: Beth in Monday night’s Level 1 class

Namaskar, where at the palms are together in front of the chest, is a traditional Indian greeting. We say ‘Namaste’ at the end of the class. It is a respectful gesture to each other indicating a connection between each other. 

A mudra usually refers to a position of the hands. There are many other mudras besides Namaskar, such as Jnana mudra, which is the bringing of the thumb tip and the index finger tip together, and extending the remaining three digits. Jnana means wisdom. This mudra can be incorporated in seated asanas such as Padmasana, or Lotus pose. These gestures are not merely the positioning of the hands and fingers, they have profound psychological and emotional effects. Try it yourself: put your palms together in front of your chest, close your eyes and see whether you can feel the difference of the placement of the hands in comparison to forming your hands into fists and placing them by the sides of your body. 

A mudra is the creation of a circuit to maintain the energy within your being.  The thumb represents the Divine and the index fingers represent the human soul.  When joined as they are in Jnana Mudra they denote the act of yogic union – yoking the individual to the cosmic.  The other 3 fingers represent the gunas or the three aspects of nature:

   Middle – sattva – purity/light

   Ring – rajas – passion/fire

   Little – tamas – inertia/dark.

Image: Monday evening Level 1 Class practicing Urdhva Namaskar

See you on the mat 🙂

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