Science of Mudras
The body is essentially the five elements – earth, water, fire, air and ether combined with the ego and certain other gross senses. These elements form the basis of the major chakras that govern the body - earth for Mooladhar, water for Swadhisthan, fire for Manipoorak, air for Anahad and ether for Vishuddhi. The controls for the various elements in our body lie at the fingertips – the little, ring, middle and index fingers representing earth, water, ether and air respectively while the thumb represents fire.
We know that things expand on heating and contract on cooling. The thumb represents fire. If you touch any element to the tip of the thumb, it expands and when you touch it to the base of the thumb it reduces. In this way, we can very easily increase or decrease the various elements in our body, depending on the need of the situation, using our fingers through the science of mudras. For example, in situations of extreme tension and anxiety, like in the case of appearing for an interview, or an exam, or an important meeting, the vayu tattva increases in the body leading to a feeling of uneasiness in the chest. If at that time, you place your index finger at the base of the thumb (where you will feel a pulsation), the air element will normalise and you will feel better. The Gyan mudra, which involves touching the index finger to the tip of the thumb, has a diametrically opposite effect. If the one increases the vayu tattva but the body is not prepared for the increase, tension in the body increases and one develops problems of the nerves. That is why it is not advisable to sit in Gyan mudra in the initial stages of dhyan. The mudra is introduced by one’s Guru at a later stage, after the body has attained a specific balance. The science of mudras is a perfect and precise science, however it is not taught en-mass. It is given by the Guru to the shishya, individually, as per his/her individual needs and capacity. The science if used incorrectly can do more harm than good. The purpose ofmudras is to bring the body in a state of balance but if you perform an incorrect mudra, the element which is not supposed to increase might increase, resulting in an imbalance, instead.