In class this week I am exploring the Apan (energy) mudra. This is a wonderful practice to help remove waste products and toxins from the body and to stimulate the energy of the liver and gallbladder. When our liver is functioning well, this in turn has a balancing effect on the mind.
When we work with the fingers and hands in yoga (hasta mudras or hand gestures), we are influencing the flow of prana (energy) in our body and minds; changing how we think, feel and experience on all levels.
With practice, qualities such as patience, serenity, confidence, inner balance and harmony may be experienced. As Apan mudra has a balancing effect on the mind, our ability to visualise, face new challenges and look to the future is enhanced.
Find a comfortable lying or seated position.
With each hand, place the tips of the thumbs, middle and ring fingers together, extending the other fingers gently.
Close your eyes and feel where the fingers touch, while visualising the gesture in your mind’s eye.
Rest your awareness here softly, feeling and observing – no expectations, or judgement, simply being with your experience as it is, from moment to moment.
You may like to simply sit with Apan mudra for anywhere from 5 – 45 minutes or include the following visualisation.
In your imagination, sit in a beautiful garden. Enjoy the colours and shapes of the plants around you – a garden that is blossoming and full of life. You appreciate the wonder of nature – how a seed germinates, how a plant grows and blooms. In an empty garden bed, plant something that you want to bear fruit, to come into being now or sometime in the near future; a conversation, a relationship, a project etc. Imagine how it sprouts, continues to develop, blossoms and bears rich fruit. See too, who will benefit from these fruits. Finish your visualisation with a sense of gratitude.
You may also like to affirm several times –
I plant my seeds, care for them and receive a rich harvest – that I thankfully accept.
Rest quietly for a few moments and when ready open your eyes, welcome the light and world back in.
Ref: Gertrud Hirschi, Mudras: Yoga in your hands (Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC York Beach ME, 2000), p73