I was delighted to find a tiny yoga center in a quiet neighbourhood offering a low monthly fee and practice sessions from 7.00 - 9.00 pm.
Greeted by a friendly Swedish lady, she introduced us to the history of yoga and the first asana (pose) that we would learn, which was the basic yoga mudra.
According to the ArtofLiving.org, yoga mudras are:
"Entirely distinct and based on the principle of Ayurveda, yoga mudras are understood as a healing modality. The Sanskrit word mudra is translated as gesture or attitude. A mudra may involve the whole body or could be a simple hand position. Mudras used in combination with yogic breathing exercises enliven the flow of prana in the body by stimulating different parts of the body involved with breathing.
Relating directly to the nerves, mudras create a subtle connection with the instinctual patterns in the brain and influence the unconscious reflexes in these areas. The internal energy is in turn balanced and redirected, affecting change in the sensory organs, glands veins and tendons. This adds a completely new dimension to the yoga experience."How to do the basic yoga mudra:
1. Sit in a relaxed cross-legged position. Alternatively, you can also tuck in one heel against your groin and rest one leg on the floor in front of you instead of tucking it under your other leg.
2. Take a few deep, slow breaths - close your eyes and feel each breath going through your diaphragm and your nose as you inhale and exhale. You'll soon feel calm and relaxed.
3. Reach both hands behind your waist - right hand clasping your left wrist. Keep your back straight and your eyes looking straight ahead of you.
4. Take a deep breath and exhaling (keeping back straight), bend forward until your forehead can touch the ground. If not, just keep it as low and straight as you can. Breathe in and out once.
5. Breathing in, using your abdominal muscles, raise your body to an upright position. Breathe out. Take another breath in and out.
6. Repeat steps 4-6 for another 3 times, gradually building up to a set of 8. I hope that you'll enjoy this basic yoga mudra.
Remember to relax after this in the corpse pose (savasana) with your eyes closed and palms facing upwards. Breathe in and out slowly.
Photo source: yoga.com