This weeks mudras are Anjali Mudra and Pashim Namaskarasana
Anjali Mudra is probably the most commonly used Mudra in yoga practice and yet students are rarely aware of its significance. In western culture we tend to presume that it is a symbol of prayer, because that's how it is predominantly used. However, "Anjali" actually translates as "offering" and is often used in combination with the phrase "namaste", which cements it as the essence of the yogic practice of seeing the Devine in all things.
Anjali mudra is where we compose ourselves and shift our focus back to our heart. As we unite our hands at the centre we are connecting the right and left hemispheres of the mind and body. Yoga, literally translated as "yoke", is the process of unification, the yoking of our active and receptive natures.
When performed behind the back, Anjali Mudra becomes Pashim Namaskarasana or, as it is more commonly known, Reverse Prayer.
Performed this way the Mudra opens the abdomen, allowing for deeper breathing. It also stretches the upper back, shoulder joints and pectoral muscles. Over time it works to improve our overall posture.
If the full version is too intense of a shoulder opening for you, other options include making your hands into fists and pressing them against each other behind your back or, alternatively, reaching for opposite elbows and resting your hands atop your forearms.
Illustration © estudio mosa 2017