For those of us who have made our way to the mat, we know yoga is life changing. We're aware that the learned rewards of yoga—such as being patient, strong, accepting, and less judgmental—spill off our mats and into our daily lives. The qualities we cultivate in our yoga practice become embedded into our character, impacting the way we respond under stress, engage in relationships, and even shift the way we see the world.
Yoga can be medicinal. But as with any medication, there is no magic bullet. The benefits of yoga asanas, or poses, build as we become more deliberate and consistent with the intention behind the pose.
My favorite pose is actually a mudra, or hand gesture. The gesture evokes the qualities of being present and grateful. The mudra is called Anjali mudra, or heart’s seal. Whether you are new to the practice, or have been a yogi for many lifetimes, Anjali mudra can change your life.
This is a great place to set a sankalpa, or intention, such as "I am grateful," "I am present," "I am committed to the moment,” or "I am open to the flow of life." Choose any intention that feels authentic to you. With your hands in Anjali mudra, repeat the intention either out loud or in your mind’s eye several times. The is a beautiful way to start your practice or start your day.
This pose can be done standing like a mountain, sitting cross legged, or kneeling. This pose can also be integrated throughout your practice such as in lunges, Warrior Pose, and balancing poses like Tree Pose.
Likewise, Anjali mudra can be weaved into your daily life off the mat. If you're stressed at work, pause, bring your hands to your heart, breathe, and allow your intention to echo. After a meeting with an acquaintance or loved one you can unite your hands over your heart and give a small bow by tucking your chin to your chest as a gesture of gratitude. Additionally, if you find yourself in a rush but needing to wait in a long transportation or shopping line, you can find solace in your mudra and intention. You don't have to be a yogi or own a yoga mat to reap the rewards of the life changing gifts of yoga. Yoga is life. You don't have to wear a label. We are all yogis in our own way.