Yoga – Ganesh Mudra: International Yoga Day
Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness. On this International Yoga Day, I present to you, Ganesh Mudra Yoga.Dr. Ulhas Ganu
Genesis of the Ganesh Mudra Yoga:
- Shri Ganesha is the Lord of Wisdom.
- Lord Ganesha is considered as the ocean of knowledge.
- It is a custom to worship Lord Ganesha before starting any new project or work.
- Ganesha is a fierce warrior also with his weapon called ‘Parashu’. It is a weapon with a sharp edges like an axe and an arrowhead-like structure at the top. It possesses qualities of a boomerang weapon, returning back to the sender after hitting the target.
- Mudra is a symbol. This Mudra constitutes a special arrangement of fingers.
Points to Remember:
- Shri Ganesh Mudra is a very auspicious Mudra. It is a gesture by hands.
- Since it is an auspicious Mudra, the recommended sitting posture is Padmasana.
- However, it is not a pre-condition and one can practice Ganesh Mudra by sitting in simple sitting postures like Swastikasana, Vajrasana or Bhadrasana.
- For those who cannot sit in a cross-legged position, practising the Mudra by sitting in a chair or on a sofa is acceptable.
- The arrangement of the hands and the fingers as the mechanical aspect is the essential technique of the Shri Ganesh Mudra.
- The breathing pattern and the actions at the finger level define the essence of the Mudra.
- Sit in Padmasana or any other suitable posture. One can practice Ganesh Mudra by sitting in a chair as well. Put right hand in the lap.
- Hand open, palm side up. Fingers and the thumb are together, fingers are slightly curled inside (Clawed). Fig. 1.
- Put left hand on the right palm, back side up.
- Mark that fingers of both the hands are hooked softly into each other. Fig. 2.
- Lift the arms together without disturbing the arrangement of hands. By twisting the left arm a little inside out, place the back side of the left hand at the centre of the chest. Fig. 3.
- Observe the fingers are still hooked perfectly. The forearms are in a straight line. Fig. 3.
- The right hand still covers the left hand, Fig. 3
- With this basic arrangement, we are ready for the core part of the Ganesh Mudra.
Close the eyes. This is a posture with meditative value.
- Inhale deep. While inhaling recite (in mind) the Mantra “Shri Ganeshay Namah”.
- Exhale deep. While exhaling, pull the hooked fingers generating a pull across the arms. Since there is no movement of arms, it amounts to isometric action or exercise.
- The palms are stable at the center of the chest.
- The process thus involves relaxed arms while inhaling and exerting a strong pull while exhaling.
- Six cycles of ‘Inhalation – Exhalation’ makes one round of Shri Ganesh Mudra.
- At the end of six cycles of inhalation – exhalation, release the fingers and relax.
- The other Mantra which may be practised is “Shri Siddhi Vinayaka Namo Namah”.
Contraindications and Precautions of Ganesh Mudra Yoga:
- There are very few contraindications for this Mudra.
- People with rheumatoid arthritis may not be able to hook the fingers.
- Rigid elbow joints may make even the small twist at the elbow difficult which makes them unable to place hands at the chest as depicted in Fig. 4.
- These people can practice the Shri Ganesh Mudra by placing the palms one over the other in the lap (Fig. 1).
- People with Cardiovascular problems should be careful and consult their doctor before practising this Mudra.
Benefits of Ganesh Mudra Yoga:
- Lord Ganesha has the power to remove obstacles. It is claimed that practicing Shri Ganesh Mudra helps the practitioner overcome obstacles.
- On a spiritual level, the arrangement of palms near heart region is claimed to stimulate the Anahata Chakra, fourth of the 7 imaginary Chakras defined in Yogic text, which is considered an advancement in spiritual aspects.
- It is claimed to improve the function of the heart.
- Pulling arms while keeping them stationary results in an isometric exercise, which results in the strengthening of the arms, biceps, triceps, shoulders and shoulder blades.
- Strengthening of the upper back muscles is an unusual incidental benefit obtained through the practice of Shri Ganesh Mudra.
- Strengthening of upper back muscles and the neck and shoulder muscles together offers great protection against cervical spondylosis. This offers special benefit for those working on computers.
- It is claimed to influence the metabolic processes positively.
- By practicing the Shri Ganesh Mudra at the start of Yogic activities is in itself a beginning on a positive note by looking forward to the removal of obstacles.
- The strengthening of muscles of the upper body- the arms, shoulders and the upper back improves gait making body-frame elegant which reflects in increased and improved confidence of the practitioner.