Posts Tagged: mudras

The Meaning of Mudras

As promised, the new 100% organic cotton shirts with my mudra design are ready.

Limited edition Mudra tee by The Lotus Root  www.thelotusroot.com/shop/

 

I’m so excited to finally have these new, limited edition shirts in stock in my etsy shop. They’re dyed with low impact dyes (no heavy metals or toxic substances – and not derived from petro-chemicals), and enzyme finished, a process that makes the cotton extremely soft, similar to a vintage tee. [Edit: These tees are sold out – to get on the list to be the first to hear about limited edition items, sign up here: http://thelotusroot.com/free-updates/ ]

I started off by drawing the hand in pencil, and it was then burned onto a silk screen. As always, I hand screen printed the shirts with water-based ink.
Vitarka Mudra drawing by Liz Davison  http://thelotusroot.com/the-meaning-of-mudras/
In Sanskrit, the word Mudra means sign or seal. Mudras are ritual gestures that can be made with different parts of the body. The Mudra on my t-shirt is the Vitarka Mudra (the teaching or discussion position.)

Each mudra represents a different state of consciousness, and they can also be done to create different states in the mind and body. They’re also used to prepare for, and to focus during, yoga or meditation. In classical Indian dance, they’re used to communicate entire stories without words. Each finger and hand position has a different symbolic meaning.

I’ve been interested in the grace and beauty of hand mudras in artwork and dance for a long time.

I became even more intrigued by them when I first started learning about their effect on the mind and body.

Around 2001 I stumbled upon a great book, Meditation as Medicine by Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa. It’s been a favorite of mine since then. I had tried many different forms of meditation over the years, and doing the exercises in the book (which include poses, mudras, mantra & breath work) quickly became my favorite way to meditate. I love the book because it goes into detail about different physical & psychological effects that each movement, sound or breathing pattern can have. Even if you’re not one that believes in or has any interest in the spiritual aspects of meditation, you can’t deny the positive effects that it can have on the body & mind.

 The Meaning of Mudras  http://thelotusroot.com/the-meaning-of-mudras/

In my favorite meditation in the book, you do a series of hand movements, touching the thumb to each finger repeatedly.  The author explains that the repetition of hand movements can actually enlarge the capacity of the brain, increase the connection between neurons and create new neural pathways. The meditation practice also includes  a mantra, which is a word or series of words that you repeat. Chanting a Mantra is a great way to quiet the inner dialogue, and is proven to have physical benefits (improving the function of the immune and endocrine systems, balancing the hemispheres of the brain, etc)

If you want to learn more, you should definitely check out the book!

The Mudra on my new shirts is known as the Vitarka Mudra when its held in front of your chest. The same position (often used during yoga) when held on the knee with the palm facing up, is called Gyan or Chin Mudra. Gyan Mudra is said to calm the mind, open the chest, and improve diaphragmatic breathing.

Limited edition Mudra tee by The Lotus Root  www.thelotusroot.com/shop/

I had a lot of fun working on this t-shirt design, and creating it has helped inspire me to get back into a regular meditation practice.  Something else that helped me get back in the swing of things was this great post on Meditation by Jena of Miss Modish & The Maven Circle.

I’d love to know, do you have a daily meditation practice? Do you use mudras when you meditate?

Let me know in the comments section below!

 

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