In America, we tend to end yoga classes with our hands placed palms together over our hearts. But why?
Seemed only apropos that someone calling herself a Yoga Evangelist could start with the subject of prayer hands in yoga. It has many reasons, and is as ancient as the practice itself. Here’s some of what resonates with me. I’d love to hear your thoughts…
Biologically speaking, an enormous area of your brain’s cerebral cortex is dedicated to your fingers and hands. Your hands’ touch receptors give you the ability to physically feel and comprehend what you are sensing, thus stimulating your brain. Your brain’s right hand activating the left, more analytical hemisphere of the brain and your left hand the right side, the creative, intuitive hemisphere. Yoking your hands together, touching palms to each other, switches on both brain hemispheres simultaneously and integrates them so that they function as a whole. This in turn enhances concentration, focuses intention and aids in assimilation – the perfect mind space for sealing a yoga practice!
Prayer positioning of the hands is universally understood as a gesture of peace and good intent. Prayer is a time when we focus inward and commune with our source. This positioning of hands in sanskrit is called Anjali Mudra (pronounced UHN-juh-lee muhd-RAAH). Anjali means “offering,” and mudra meaning “seal” or “sign.” By completing our practice with hands in Anjali Mudra and sealing it with “Namaste” we are bringing an awareness of our centered state from our yoga practice and taking it out into our day.
Photo: Stephanie Kinney, E-RYT with over 3000 teaching hours, and the Regional Programming Manager for Yoga Six, guides yoga classes for students in St. Louis and seals each class with a hand mudra and a Namaste.
Stephanie’s God-dess ring and hand-knotted, pink gold plated Ahimsa pendant necklace by Jen Stock. Jen is a New York based jewelry designer known for spiritually inspired jewelry. Find her jewelry around the necks and fingers of on Rihanna, Usher, Heidi Klum, George Lopez and The Black Crowes!