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Beat the heat with yoga. 5 mudras to cool down

Last updated on: May 23, 2014 21:45 IST

Beat the heat with yoga. 5 mudras to cool down

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Shameem Akthar

Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, shows you five mudras that will keep you cool this summer.

Yogic mudras use the biological map – called homunculus map – in our brains to manage and manipulate powerful healing reactions in the body.

One of these mudras helps to cool down the body.

Many of the stunning tricks performed by yogis that seem to go against nature itself (such as holding the breath for hours, lying buried underground or making do without food or water, or wandering nude in extreme climatic conditions), are powered largely by such mudras or yogic hand gestures.

The five elements of nature are said to be represented in one’s hand by individual fingers.

The idea is actually to represent the nature of a biological event in the body and the reaction this creates. For instance, the flow of bodily fluids is represented by the water element called “jal” in Sanskrit.

In yoga, the water element is represented by the little finger. Touching it lightly with the thumb, which is the controlling element of fire, is said to enhance the water element.

This is how other fingers/other elements are also manipulated. The opposite effect is achieved by pressing the finger down with the thumb, thus reducing the element.

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Photographs: RelaxingMusic/ Creative Commons

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Jal mudra (Water hand gesture)

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Touch the tip of the little finger to the tip of the thumb on each hand. Hold for as long as you like, till you have increased the temperature either inside or outside.

This may be done as meditation, or while engaged in doing other things.

Benefits: Reduces the heat inside by increasing the moisture levels.

Used to control dehydration, constipation, dry skin, wrinkles, cramps, dry mouth, halitosis and osteoarthritis.

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Image: Jal mudra (Water hand gesture)

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Prithvi mudra (Earth element hand gesture)

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Touch the tip of the ring finger to the tip of the thumb. Do it for each hand. Other conditions as listed above.

Benefits: Increases the earth element and alongside this, the ability to retain moisture.

Used to control tiredness, slow healing, acidity, dry skin and hair, high fever and other inflammatory conditions.

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Image: Prithvi mudra (Earth element hand gesture)

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Shankha mudra (Conch hand gesture)

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Wrap the hands to form a conch, as shown. Hold the left hand in front of the chest. Wrap the four fingers of the right hand around the left thumb while bringing the right thumb in contact with the left index finger. Hold against the chest as long as you like.

Benefits: It decreases the fire element, but ups the air and the air element.

Used to cool down, control fevers, inflammatory or heating conditions of skin, digestive tract and anywhere else in the body (eg: hyper thyroidism).

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Image: Shankha mudra (Conch hand gesture)
Photographs: Rediff Archives
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Praan mudra (Life force hand gesture)

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Touch the tips of the little finger and ring finger with the tip of the thumb, on both hands. Hold for as long as you wish to control heating conditions in the body.

Benefits: Cools down mental anger, physical heat.

Used to control hyper thyroidism, insomnia, joint pains, dry skin.

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Image: Praan mudra (Life force hand gesture)

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Apaan mudra (Downward flowing energy hand gesture)

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Touch the tip of the ring finger and middle finger to tip of the thumb, for each hand. Hold as long as you like. Other conditions as above.

Benefits: Improves the flow of energy and grounding elements within the mind and the body.

Fights constipation, dehydration and heat.


Image: Apaan mudra (Downward flowing energy hand gesture)

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