For the first installment of our new Pose of the Month feature, there is no better place to begin than with anjali mudra. It is, after all, traditionally a sign of greeting. We can go a long way to understanding anjali mudra if we look more closely at its literal meaning: Mudra means “seal”, as in “a device used to join two things together to prevent them from coming apart.” And anjali means “a gesture of reverence or benediction” (from anj meaning “to honor or to celebrate”). The name itself expresses our intention to honor, to celebrate, and to bless by joining together our left and right, our limbs and our heart, ourselves and others, to prevent them from coming apart.
Shiva Rea, in a powerful article on anjali mudra for Yoga Journal, writes, “In daily life, this prayerful gesture can be used as a way of bridging inner and outer experience, when saying grace before meals, communicating our truth within a relationship, or as a means of cooling the fires of stress when feeling rushed or reactionary. Anjali mudra is an age-old means of helping human beings to remember the gift of life and to use it wisely.”
With this understanding, we can more fully set our challenge for the month: to set aside time each day for anjali mudra, time to practice that joining of left palm and right palm at our heart chakra, time for reverence, celebration, and blessing. In the spirit of our broader challenge for November to cultivate gratitude at this time of thanks-giving, anjali mudra, itself often a gesture of thanks, gives us a powerful tool to do so.
To read Shiva Rea’s full article, just click here. She includes a detailed explanation of the anatomy of anjali mudra and a short, insightful practice that challenges us every time we come to it.
How will you practice anjali mudra this month? At the start of each day, connecting your night-time dreams to your day-time reality? Before or after your meals as a quiet grace, honoring the source of your nourishment? As a greeting and a blessing throughout the day, connecting you on a deeper level to others? At the day’s end, celebrating what you are grateful for that day?
However you choose to take on this practice this month, we’re eager to hear all about it! Come back by the blog any time in November and share your insights and your challenges in the comments section.