Featured Practice – Ubaya Hridaya Mudra

by Octavio Salvado.

This mudra is designed to evoke a deep sense of courage and at the same time, wash the nervous system with humility. In this way, the practitioner can move forward embodying pure equanimity and be ready to engage with any given moment with absolute presence, patience and when needed, passion.

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‘Ubaya’ translates to fearless and ‘Hridaya’ is a reference to the deep spiritual core of our heart. It is not the physical heart that pumps blood through the body but rather the very source of our being, that untouchable essence that remains undisturbed by the fluctuations of our mind and all external factors. That is why at the beginning of practice it is helpful to engage this mudra and accompany it with deep, balanced breathing – Savitri Pranayama for example (Inhale 8, hold in 4, Exhale 8, Hold out 4) for 3 to 5 minutes, to prepare for the challenges and confrontations, internal and external we face throughout practice.

Over time, this ‘willingness’ to show up and engage wholeheartedly ripples outwards into everything we do. The practice on the mat becomes ‘the foundation’ for what we do off the mat. Yoga quite literally is the practice arena for the main event of LIFE and Ubaya Hridaya Mudra is a tool we can utilise to prepare us for the full spectrum of experience that we will undoubtedly encounter.

 

FROM ‘THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO’.

“Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome. Do your worst, for I will do mine! Then the fates will know you as we know you: as Albert Mondego, the Man! (The Yogi!)”

 

APPLICATION

From Anjali Mudra (prayer hands), separate your palms and cross your right wrist over the top of your left, then touch the backs of your hands together. Hook the pads of your index fingers together so that your right index finger is ‘closest’ to your body. Do the same ‘hooking’ with your middle fingers and pinkie fingers, leaving the thumbs and ring fingers free.

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Join your thumbs and ring fingers of both of your hands together and then lightly draw the base of your right thumb knuckle to your sternum. Note: Often this mudra will cause a ‘rolling forward’ of the left shoulder. Be mindful of this and counter it by lifting your left shoulder up, moving it back and then settling your left shoulder blade down your back. If sitting for an extended time, keep this adjustment in mind and re-apply it as required.

Keep your heart lifted, spine long and simultaneously fill and refill your kidney area with presence and breath.

Happy Practicing.

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