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Jnana mudra – universal gesture of wisdom
Jnana mudra, also spelled as Gyan mudra is a universal gesture. Yogis and deities in ancient religions have held this mudra in high esteem. This is first mudra that is introduced to a student initiated into the practice of Yoga. Jnana mudra opens the door to the consciousness. It has a profound effect on physical, mental and emotional state of a person. The circle formed by joining index finger and thumb symbolizes infinity as returning back to infinity is our true goal. The extended fingers represent three human traits. These are tamas, rajas and sattva. Tamas is inertia, rajas is action and sattva is harmony.
Jnana mudra is a starting mudra for practice of meditation. On therapeutic level, it cures insomnia, hypertension, depression, aggression and fogginess of the mind.

Jnana mudra should be practiced daily. There is no recommended duration for this mudra. Hold it during meditation or while doing mantra repetition. Practicing it before sleep or while sitting idle makes it an ideal companion for accessing the eternal knowledge hidden inside us.   

Jnana mudra – universal gesture of wisdom

Jnana mudra, also spelled as Gyan mudra is a universal gesture. Yogis and deities in ancient religions have held this mudra in high esteem. This is first mudra that is introduced to a student initiated into the practice of Yoga. Jnana mudra opens the door to the consciousness. It has a profound effect on physical, mental and emotional state of a person. The circle formed by joining index finger and thumb symbolizes infinity as returning back to infinity is our true goal. The extended fingers represent three human traits. These are tamas, rajas and sattva. Tamas is inertia, rajas is action and sattva is harmony.

Jnana mudra is a starting mudra for practice of meditation. On therapeutic level, it cures insomnia, hypertension, depression, aggression and fogginess of the mind.

Jnana mudra should be practiced daily. There is no recommended duration for this mudra. Hold it during meditation or while doing mantra repetition. Practicing it before sleep or while sitting idle makes it an ideal companion for accessing the eternal knowledge hidden inside us.   

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Vrksasana and Padmasana at the Ganges, Rishikesh, The Himalayas

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nryong said: Help me with a mudra for grey hair and wrinkles please

Viparita Karani mudra can help you, as this mudra is known to reverse the ageing. I have tested its efficacy and seen grey hair disappear in a period of time. The color and texture of fading hair reverses to black if this mudra is practiced every day without fail. Viparita Karani, or legs up against the wall pose, is a milder version of actual Viparita Karani, but provides the same benefits as the full version.

The method is simple. You have to raise your legs against the wall and hold the position for at least 15 minutes. Keep a firm pillow under your buttocks, so as to raise the level of your navel above the level of your heart. You can keep the legs slanting if you cannot keep it perpendicular in first attempt. While, returning back, the pillow has to be removed from side. The return movement needs to be slow. You can do it in morning after your regular exercise session and also in the evening (make sure your stomach is not full). You can even do this on your bed. People with serious eye problems, High Blood Pressure and chronic back ache should avoid this mudra. It will take few months before you start seeing the magic.

Further, you have to plug other factors that are responsible for premature greying and wrinkling. Here are few tips for you.

  1. Greying is caused by dry scalp. Apply any pure oil (almond, olive) on your scalp every day and gently massage your hair with it. Oil creates a layer between your hair and outside air. This protects the hair from dry air-conditioned air, solar radiation, air pollutants and other corrosive substances present in the air.
  2. Your diet should be rich in essential minerals especially Iron and proteins. So take care of what you are eating.
  3. For wrinkles, again, massage dry skin with pure oils (almond, sesame, olive) and do away with synthetic lotions.
  4.  Harsh soaps and shampoos must be avoided. You can try soaps and shampoos available for infants. They are mild and have balanced PH.
  5. You should also practice Prithvi mudra. 15 minutes a day is sufficient.

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Chakrasana at Lodhi Garden, New Delhi (July 2011)

Chakrasana at Lodhi Garden, New Delhi (July 2011)

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Beautiful winter morning. Pictures taken by my adorable wife Astha.

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The Spine health – Part 3
Maintaining the curve of Cervical Vertebrae (neck region)
There are 7 vertebrae in the cervical region (neck). The curvature of the neck region is backwards; however, most modern day tasks involve extensive stooping or bending in the forward direction. Sitting in front of desktop PC, operating your mobile device, working in the kitchen, writing some thesis, reading a book etc. makes you bend your neck forward . This creates degenerative diseases like cervical pain and Spondylitis (inflammation of the vertebra). Both are highly painful conditions and result in loss of balance and sudden black out of the vision. Constant heaviness in head and mild pain are initial symptoms of these diseases.
Yoga comes to rescue with all the back bending postures and twisting postures. The simplest exercise that you can do in the morning is to stand straight. Just bend your head and shoulders backwards and keep staring at the sky for 2-3 minutes. Asanas like Bhujangasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana and Matsyasana (in the picture) keeps cervical region healthy and maintains the natural curvature of this region. Tadasana helps in elongation of complete spine.
All you need to do is to be regular in your practice. Your suggestions and inputs are welcome.

The Spine health – Part 3

Maintaining the curve of Cervical Vertebrae (neck region)

There are 7 vertebrae in the cervical region (neck). The curvature of the neck region is backwards; however, most modern day tasks involve extensive stooping or bending in the forward direction. Sitting in front of desktop PC, operating your mobile device, working in the kitchen, writing some thesis, reading a book etc. makes you bend your neck forward . This creates degenerative diseases like cervical pain and Spondylitis (inflammation of the vertebra). Both are highly painful conditions and result in loss of balance and sudden black out of the vision. Constant heaviness in head and mild pain are initial symptoms of these diseases.

Yoga comes to rescue with all the back bending postures and twisting postures. The simplest exercise that you can do in the morning is to stand straight. Just bend your head and shoulders backwards and keep staring at the sky for 2-3 minutes. Asanas like Bhujangasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana and Matsyasana (in the picture) keeps cervical region healthy and maintains the natural curvature of this region. Tadasana helps in elongation of complete spine.

All you need to do is to be regular in your practice. Your suggestions and inputs are welcome.

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The Spine Health - Part 2
Taking care of lumber (abdominal / lower back) region
The Spine at lumber region acts as a fastener for abdominal organs. Stomach, liver, pancreas, spleen and kidneys are suspended like a bag hanging on to a stick (the stick of course is the spine). The lumber region is very delicate and numerous back related diseases occur in the lumber region.  This could be anything from low back ache, sciatica, slipped disc and menstrual troubles to organ displacement.
The problems in lumber region are due to unequal distribution of body weight. This unequal distribution is due to one of the listed reasons. Obesity, poor posture, excessive flab on abdomen, wearied out footwear, standing / sitting for long hours.   
In Yoga, we suggest asanas for building balance (Tadasana, Vrksasana (in the picture), Ardha Chandrasana) and the asanas that reduce abdominal fat (Cycle crunches, Paschimottanasana, forward bends etc). The first step for good lumber heath is wearing the balanced footwear. Your body weight should be equally distributed on your feet. People usually stand with body weight on the heels which eventually protrudes the abdomen and creates high level of stress on lower back. The next thing is to check the ergonomics of your office chair, car seat and sofa at your home. Finally, adequate rest is required to maintain the health of lumber region. 

The Spine Health - Part 2

Taking care of lumber (abdominal / lower back) region

The Spine at lumber region acts as a fastener for abdominal organs. Stomach, liver, pancreas, spleen and kidneys are suspended like a bag hanging on to a stick (the stick of course is the spine). The lumber region is very delicate and numerous back related diseases occur in the lumber region.  This could be anything from low back ache, sciatica, slipped disc and menstrual troubles to organ displacement.

The problems in lumber region are due to unequal distribution of body weight. This unequal distribution is due to one of the listed reasons. Obesity, poor posture, excessive flab on abdomen, wearied out footwear, standing / sitting for long hours.   

In Yoga, we suggest asanas for building balance (Tadasana, Vrksasana (in the picture), Ardha Chandrasana) and the asanas that reduce abdominal fat (Cycle crunches, Paschimottanasana, forward bends etc). The first step for good lumber heath is wearing the balanced footwear. Your body weight should be equally distributed on your feet. People usually stand with body weight on the heels which eventually protrudes the abdomen and creates high level of stress on lower back. The next thing is to check the ergonomics of your office chair, car seat and sofa at your home. Finally, adequate rest is required to maintain the health of lumber region. 

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The Spine Health - Part 1 
Opening the Thoracic (Chest) region
The spine at thoracic region supports the rib cage, which is composed of bones (ribs), muscles and cartilage. The rib cage protects the lungs and the heart, which are next in importance to the brain. The lungs purify the blood, while the heart circulates it to the entire body, enriching the cells and tissues with oxygen and nutrients, and taking away waste products.
The spine is bent forward in thoracic region. If it is bent in extreme, the result is congestion of the thoracic nerves and crowding of the rib cage. This reduces the space in which the lungs can expand thus reducing the respiratory efficiency. Stooped shoulders and hunched back occur in asthma and chronic bronchitis. These deformations can be removed by the practice of Chakrasana (in the picture), Dhanurasana, Ushtrasana, Bhujangasana and Matsyasana. By regular practice, the efficiency of the respiratory system increases and the symptoms of respiratory disease diminish. These asanas improves confidence, strengthens the posture and helps in holding the spine erect while sitting and walking.
Reader suggestions are welcome. Preparing the text on lumber (abdominal) region for the next part of “The Spine Health” series. 

The Spine Health - Part 1

Opening the Thoracic (Chest) region

The spine at thoracic region supports the rib cage, which is composed of bones (ribs), muscles and cartilage. The rib cage protects the lungs and the heart, which are next in importance to the brain. The lungs purify the blood, while the heart circulates it to the entire body, enriching the cells and tissues with oxygen and nutrients, and taking away waste products.

The spine is bent forward in thoracic region. If it is bent in extreme, the result is congestion of the thoracic nerves and crowding of the rib cage. This reduces the space in which the lungs can expand thus reducing the respiratory efficiency. Stooped shoulders and hunched back occur in asthma and chronic bronchitis. These deformations can be removed by the practice of Chakrasana (in the picture), Dhanurasana, Ushtrasana, Bhujangasana and Matsyasana. By regular practice, the efficiency of the respiratory system increases and the symptoms of respiratory disease diminish. These asanas improves confidence, strengthens the posture and helps in holding the spine erect while sitting and walking.

Reader suggestions are welcome. Preparing the text on lumber (abdominal) region for the next part of “The Spine Health” series. 

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Get hardy and stress free with Vajrasana  
Vajrasana is anytime anywhere asana. Vajra or thunderbolt has its roots in Hindu mythology. Indra is the leader of the gods and Lord of heaven in Hindu mythology. He is the God of war, the god of thunderstorms. His weapon is the bolt (Vajra).
Vajrasana makes your body hardy like a bolt. Vajrasana affects Vajra nadi (the sciatic nerve in physical form). Vajra nadi controls genital urinary functions controlling the flow of energy in this region. This is the best pose for relaxing the muscles, including those related to the spine. Vajranasa stimulates circulation in the nerves and muscles of the thighs. It removes indigestion and constipation, and is beneficial for stomach ailments like peptic ulcers. It concentrates the mind on its spiritual pursuit, and is commonly used as a meditation pose by Japanese Buddhists. It is a sitting pose while doing Namaz (prayer ritual of Muslims). 

Get hardy and stress free with Vajrasana  

Vajrasana is anytime anywhere asana. Vajra or thunderbolt has its roots in Hindu mythology. Indra is the leader of the gods and Lord of heaven in Hindu mythology. He is the God of war, the god of thunderstorms. His weapon is the bolt (Vajra).

Vajrasana makes your body hardy like a bolt. Vajrasana affects Vajra nadi (the sciatic nerve in physical form). Vajra nadi controls genital urinary functions controlling the flow of energy in this region. This is the best pose for relaxing the muscles, including those related to the spine. Vajranasa stimulates circulation in the nerves and muscles of the thighs. It removes indigestion and constipation, and is beneficial for stomach ailments like peptic ulcers. It concentrates the mind on its spiritual pursuit, and is commonly used as a meditation pose by Japanese Buddhists. It is a sitting pose while doing Namaz (prayer ritual of Muslims). 

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Padmasana

Padmasana