Sharing my experiences with mudras(will keep adding as I keep experimenting):
1. My first encounter with mudras was with my father. He started doing prana-mudra after reading that it is good for the eyes. My mom and dad both had glasses for reading. My mom’s number kept increasing but my dad’s number stayed the same and he said it is because of prana-mudra. My dad was a chain smoker!
2.Decades ago while studying for my engineering I was told by someone to do Adi mudra to get rid of sleep. I just did one fist with my palms in the lap or on the table and continued studying for my exam and lo behold the sleepiness was gone. I was feeling heat in the head.
3. Last month I did a yoga teacher training course and we had our first class on Mudra Yoga. Next day was a Sunday and we went on a 12 hour city trip most part of which was done walking. I had bought new box heel sandals and I am used to only flat sandals. So after few hours I started having pain in the lower part of the spine. So I did the Merudanda mudra in downward direction while continuing walking. And again, in just 10 minutes my pain was gone!
4. Then after some weeks I developed dry cough and I used Surya+Jalashamak mudra and Linga mudra for 15 minutes each daily. But these I did along with ginger+tulsi+honey tea, warm water drinking. The cough lingered very long but I did get relief from the mudras, I could feel the heat in my chest with those mudras. Meanwhile a friend who was very skeptical about mudras also tried these mudras for her sinus and she said she was surprised to see them working!
5. Just today I woke up with a stiff neck. Whenever it used to happen before I could not move my head side ways for many hours and it pained. Today when it happened I started doing Merudanda mudra thinking I will have to sit at least for 15 minutes to make it work. But as soon as I did the mudra I felt a warmth in that spot and not even a minute passed that it healed! It is amazing.
Interestingly if you do this mudra right, with the thumb erect, 2 points start throbbing. And these are exactly the 2 points which are mentioned in acupressure to relieve asthma and breathing difficulties and for cough.
So what exactly are mudras???
Each finger in our hand represents an element as shown below. Our yoga teacher told us some interesting details :-).
In India we are used to showing the pinky to ask/tell that we want to go to the bathroom to urinate because pinky stands for water and we show thumb to indicate that we are thirsty because thumb stands for fire/heat. Think of the thumb as the king and the other fingers as slaves. When the tip of thumb touches the tip of any other fingers the other finger element gets balanced.
So if thumb tip touches the index finger tip, the air element in us gets balanced and so the functions of the body and mind controlled by the air element come into balance.
If the thumb tip touches the bottom of the index finger, then the slave is higher than the king and the air element increases.
If the index finger tip touches the thumb bottom, then the slave is enslaved to the king and the air element decreases. And so on for other fingers.
There are more complex theories behind it which I need to study first and then will share. But for now they work for me and my friends, so try it out and share your experiences!
A good video on mudras in general not just from yoga perspective:
4. I hit my spine with something really hard, like a rod, some weeks ago. It pained when it hit but then I was fine and I ignored it. After some days I started using a new chair, learning a new violin technique and I started getting numb fingers, dizziness and vomiting like feeling frequently. I had forgotten about the hit on the spine and thinking the chair and the violin are the culprits kept practicing light stretches and yoga. It was getting better, then coming back. So one day, when my back and neck were feeling stiff and I was feeling dizzy, I asked my husband to massage my back and when he touched the spine he noticed a big bump in my spine and I screamed in pain. It was then I understood that it was because of that hit I was feeling so all these weeks. Next morning we went out of town and I started feeling dizzy in the car. It was a 35 minute ride so I did Urdhva Merudanda for upper spine. And to my astonishment the lump vanished, the pain vanished, and so did the dizziness and vomiting sensation. I was not really sure and I thought it would come back. But it has not yet and 4 days have passed since then.
3. Some days ago I had menstrual cramps and I would usually take bach flower rescue remedy and sleep over it. And all my day would have been dull and in slight pain. But today I did Apana-Vayu mudra. I sat with a 15 minute timer but just in 10 minutes the pain was gone!
Surprising thing is that I have menstrual cramps only outside India, in India never and the flow is also less in India and exactly 5 days long whereas outside India it is 7-10 days longer. Am hoping with regular practice of yoga, pranayama and mudras it will be normal.
2. Today I was heavily bloated looking 9 months pregnant and feeling heavy. So I tried vayu mudra and I felt lighter. Then I tried apana vayu mudra and I started burping uncontrollably for next 15 minutes. Phew! 🙂
1. Today I had continuous lower back pain, which I ignored yesterday thinking it will heal on its own. I had carried heavy tanks of saw dust uphill on my shoulders day before yesterday. So today I did resting crocodile pose with a heat pad on the lower back, along with merudanda for lower-back and it healed in 10 minutes.