Mudra मुद्रा (mudrā). Gesture, seal, sign.
The Mudras consist of a set of spiritual techniques. They allow through appropriate gestures to close the doors of senses through which the energy usually enters and exit at its whims, and therefore uncontrolled. The mudras allow the re-mastery of these doors to render them hermetic and trap in this way the energy in the body.
In tantric yoga, the mudras are quite important techniques. They allow the creation of pathways in the energy networks towards non ordinary states. Once these gestures are applied appropriately, the energy is catalyzed in the subtle body in a more integrating and more complicated level. These energies give in this way opportunity to the one who has increased his internal vigilance to be seized. The practitioner can then reach another reality.
These doors are mainly:
The eyes are the reflection of the spiritual aspect of the person (shen in Chinese understanding). As such, the gestures established willfully upon them allow the activations of the corresponding energies in the subtle body. Gestures established with the eyes are powerful and maybe more powerful of all gestures. They have an immediate evoking power that appears unlimited. Many practices and gestures variations exist and the whole set of these techniques constitute a discipline in itself. These techniques are referred to as Drishti.
Eyes are also directly linked to light in its corpuscular shape, or its photonic manifestation. In Yoga, pure light is the highest energetic principle. This essential principle is said to be fused to self conscience, like light beams are linked to the sun, or heat to fire.
Ears link us to sounds and vibrations, thus the importance of this door. Sound is also the Verb which creates all things as being first a vibratory and energetic reality. These doors are therefore linked to the verbal or mental enunciations of archetypal sound formula (Bija). These formulations are quite often devoid of ordinary meanings, but they have been identified as being particularly representative of powers remaining latent at the level of consciousness. Once enunciated or denominated with focus, these formulas act like true germs or seeds entering in resonance and liberating their power.
These practices are linked to an intuitive knowledge that does not require proofs because the knowledge gained is validated during the time of the manifestation. This field of knowledge is profound and explored since the emergence of yogic practices. It is a discipline that stands alone as that of Mantra and Yantra.
Sound being a wave and vibration, like light, it is a fundamental principle. Conscience cannot be separated from the energy and vibration manifested by it like a word and its pronunciation cannot be separated from its meaning, or like all formal reality cannot be separated from its fundamental knowledge.
If light represents consciousness and its principle of individuality, sound represents energy and its principle of manifestation. In some ways, these two essential and fundamental principles are in fact only two aspects of a single and same reality.
In tantric yoga, the tongue is considered as directly linked to the primordial energy and therefore to the vital energy. The tongue is what manifests the Verb.
Another aspect of the tongue is it being a mirror of internal functions. It expresses our internal universe trough the Logo, and expresses the state of our internal universe.
It is the door of nourishment and is therefore vital as well. The anatomy is complex, including the language apparatus as well as the connections to the nose and ear. Its control is difficult and included through dietetic.
Additionally, certain breathing exercises where energetic movements are powerful are based on mouth breathing rather than nose breathing.
The hands play a major importance in yoga and it is believed that the teaching of dexterity in early childhood facilitates the maturation of brain functions. Being our instrument of exploration, construction, sensing, their role and mastery is vital. Additionally, the energetic pathways at the level of the hands permit various subtle energetic shunts and energetic exchanges.
As the control of these doors increases, so does the perception and utilization of our subtle energies.
Gestures associated with the hands permit powerful inner sensations. These gestures allow the generation of specific feelings associated to energies involved in concept of beauty and esthetics.
Lower orifice (Anus)
It is the door of nourishment and is therefore vital as well. The anatomy is complex, including the language apparatus as well as the connections to the nose and ear. Its control is difficult and included through dietetic. Additionally, certain breathing exercises where energetic movements are powerful are based on mouth breathing rather than nose breathing.
The lower orifice has a pivotal role. It is through it that we restitute what has been assimilated and transformed. As a function, it is primordial as the function of assimilation. Western cultures avoid approaching this concept, while yogic practices pay particular importance to it.
In addition to its voiding function, its structure, both anatomically and energetically is complex and fundamental.
The control of the lower orifice and of its area is therefore vital. Through a panoply of exercises, the consciousness and control of the anal region and muscles increases; the perception of the energy and control of the movements of energies in the root increase.
The nose is a pivotal door of energy control. The air energy is first, followed by that of the food energy. Deprivation of the first leads to immediate death; deprivation of the second takes a few days. The structure of the nose also indicates that the sense of smell has the shortest pathway to the brain. The energetic structure of the nasal area is also complex involving various entities and explaining the complex gestures that are used in that respect.
Through Pranayama the yogini learns to breath and control the nose and increases the consciousness and control of the left and right air pathways. This is further controlled through specific gestures. Additionally, the use of specific scents (incense) further refine the direct stimulation of the olfactory centers.
Less known, the glottis also constitutes an important door. The progressive control of its contraction allows the increased modulation of air flow (i.e. Ujjayi). Significant resonances in the vocal tract are generated in this way. and permits the generation of specific sounds through the friction generated. Glottis behavior is considered a key issue in the generation of the voice. Finally, the glottis controls airflow and therefore lung emptying, during slow breathing. Incidentally, closing the vocal chords (glottis) against forced expiration provides a postural stiffening that aids the lifting of heavy weights or supreme efforts of strength.