Hand mudras (literally seals) are a refinement to the postures, breathing practices and meditation. If we think of energy in terms of electricity it would be like completing the circuit.
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the hand mudra thumb to forefinger (chin mudra), backs of hands to the thighs in a seated position, as is so often shown in relation to yoga. For the next two terms in class we are focusing on the seven chakras or energy centres within the body, some of which are specifically associated with the elements.
This week we are working on the Muladhara chakra (or base chakra) located at the very base of the spine, which is associated with the earth element. The third finger or ring finger relates to this element and so it follows that the mudra for this element is third finger or ring finger to thumb on each hand, as shown.
Backs of the hands can be rested on the thighs in a comfortable sitting position - doesn't have to be cross-legged on the floor - could be sitting on a chair. Mudras can be practised during a breathing practice, which could be no more than taking the attention to the breath in the nostrils (watching the breath) or during periods of meditation or relaxation. They are not a quick fix and need to be practised regularly over a period of time to have any significant effect. The earth mudra is good for grounding, a great antidote to modern life where we spend a lot of time in our heads.
Yoga practices are like a tools and we can select those which are beneficial to us to put in our own toolkit. Not all practices suit everyone and as I always say in my classes, if it does not suit you just let it go. Yoga is all about letting go!