Mudras (Finger Yoga)
Mudras are special hand gestures used in Hinduism and Buddhism to invoke
a variety of energies and qualities. If you view artwork representing
Eastern deities, you will notice these finger positions on many of the
statues and paintings. These symbolic poses resemble asanas, the
postures employed in yoga, but instead of the entire body, they involve
only the fingers. In fact, you might call them asanas for the hands.
Mudras represent diverse states of consciousness. Hindu and Buddhist
devotees generally use them during meditation to influence different parts
of the brain or body. Hatha yoga employs 25 mudras, while Kundalini yoga
has many more. Just as reflexology maps the foot, the practice of Kundalini
mudras assumes that every part of the hands mirrors an area of the body
Assume one of these traditional hand gestures to facilitate your understanding
of a situation in your life.
Anytime Anywhere Sitting or Standing Sensation
Tools and Ingredients
Using mudras to perform divinations as outlined here is my own modification
of an ancient eastern art. As far as I know, traditional Hindus and Buddhists
dont normally use mudras for oracular purposes. But I have found
that performing a breathing meditation while holding a particular mudra
can facilitate my understanding of situations in my life or answer specific
divinatory questions. This type of oracle might be especially appropriate
for people who have kinesthetic tendencies and enjoy open-ended oracles.
- Formulate your question.
- Decide which mudra you wish to use.
- Ground and center.
- Sit, lie or stand comfortably, and
then exhale vigorously two or three times.
- Assume your mudra position, then breathe
consciously for 10 to 15 minutes (see Meditation
to learn more about conscious breathing).
- Notice the gentle pressure between
your fingers in this mudra position.
- While breathing out, press your fingertips
gently together. While breathing in, let go of this slight pressure.
This will calm and relax you.
- Once you have meditated for about 10
to 15 minutes, relax your hands in your lap and await any information
that may come to you, whether in auditory, kinesthetic or visual form.
- If necessary, ask your question again,
warmly anticipating an answer.
- Interpret your oracle, with Free
Association if necessary.
World is Your Oracle
by Nancy Vedder-Shults
Linnea Vedder Shults has
collaborated with her mother Nancy in crafting The World is Your
Oracle. Linnea is painting a deck of 48 cards to accompany the
book, creating an oracle of oracles. When you choose a card from
this deck, you select an oracular technique, not an answer to a
divinatory question. You can view her other art work at www.linneavs.com.
Nancy's forthcoming book, The World is Your Oracle, compiles
hundreds of divination methods, from ancient oracles to modern-day
techniques. The excerpts published here will describe a few of the
ways to access the deeper layers of our minds and broaden our sense
A good oracle puts us in touch
with ourselves. It lets us discover our motivations, feelings and
thoughts about the question we're exploring. And it connects us
with the atmosphere or environment surrounding that question
making us aware of the water we swim in, but usually don't notice.
To receive inner guidance, all
we need is to open ourselves to what our body/mind tells us, what
our emotions display, and what our unconscious knows. In this way,
we can begin to hear with our inner ears and see with our inner
eyes. Using these mystical senses what we might call
the sense organs of the unconscious we perceive holistically,
noticing relationships and patterns rather than isolating, classifying
and judging what we observe. Once we have gathered this wisdom,
we can then use the rational mind to interpret what we have learned.
We live in an interconnected
world, a web of life. Each segment of that web reflects the whole
just like fractal designs or holography. That's why the patterns
we discover through divination give us information. They mimic the
relationships of the whole at a particular moment in time.
Just as with other oracles, deciding on the most appropriate question
is essential. This will help you specify the mudra you wish to use. There
are several books you can consult for relevant gestures. My favorite reference
is Gertrud Hirschis Mudras: Yoga in Your Hands, published
by Weiser Books.
It outlines hundreds of mudras for a wide variety of purposes.
If you dont have access to this resource, the Chin or Jnana
mudra is a general-purpose mudra that you can use for almost any divination.
(The Jnana mudra drawn by my daughter, Linnea Vedder Shults, appears
in the picture at the top of this page.) Since it represents the desire
for unifying human and cosmic consciousness, as well as combining intuition
and inspiration, it can help you attain your deepest knowing. In this
mudra, the thumb represents intuition and the cosmic or divine wisdom,
while the index finger symbolizes inspiration and the individual or human
spirit. Holding thumb and index finger lightly together while extending
the other three fingers completes the gesture. Usually you perform this
mudra with both hands resting gently on your thighs. If you find it difficult
to extend your fingers, you can place them on your thighs palms down,
creating the Chin mudra. Otherwise you can lay your hands, palms
up, on your legs in the Jnana mudra.
sketch © 2008 Sage
To give you an example of this technique, I used a mudra recently to
answer the question of whether to reincorporate music into my life while
writing this book. Writing always takes a lot of my time, so I decided
to put my musical activities on the back burner. But I missed composing
and performing. I also began to realize that although writing stimulates
my creative expression, music seems to come from a deeper place in me.
I decided to use the Ushas mudra for this question, since it represents
the dawn as well as creativity and enthusiasm. An answer came after I
meditated for 10 to 12 minutes while holding my hands in the position
of this symbolic gesture. I heard in my mind, Music will add joy
to your life. As a result, I called the music director at First
Unitarian Society, where I am a member, and asked him to schedule me to
sing as a soloist from time to time.
In my experience with mudra meditation, if I wait with my awareness poised
to receive the intuition and inspiration Ive invoked, Ill
often receive an answer within a very short period of time, if not during
the meditation itself. Sometimes, however, I need greater patience and
persistence. When this is the case, I meditate the next day using my mudra
once again. By then my mind has usually settled into greater resonance
with my deeper self, and almost before I begin, guidance flows to me.
Be gentle with yourself your innermost thoughts will express
themselves in their own time and in their own way.
- Gertrud Hirschi, Mudras:
Yoga in Your Hands (Boston: Weiser Books, 2000).
- Mudras Card, © 2008 Linnea
Vedder Shults. All rights reserved.
- Ushas mudra, © 2008 Sage Starwalker
after Hirschi, p. 62.