Mudra Mantra: Varied benefits of Surya Agni Mudra

Losing weight is just one benefit of practicing this mudra

Prof G B LuthriaUpdated: Saturday, April 02, 2022, 10:01 PM IST
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Since ancient times, yoga or its derivatives have been rooted in Asian cultures. Yoga has become a symbol of peace, wellness, and mindfulness today, finding new fans every day across the globe. Yoga originated from its practitioners - the “Yogis”, who perfected control over their mind, body, and breath to discover certain postures and positions that could help the body remain healthy. Yogis also discovered yoga mudras (hand gestures) to be incredibly effective and began to incorporate them in all yoga practices. Mudras in yoga are known to provide healing powers to the body in order to alleviate physiological and emotional ailments. The basic theory behind mudras lies in each finger representing one of the five essential internal life forces or “Prana”- namely, earth, wind, water, ether, and fire; and, locking of the fingers in different ways impacts the flow of the prana in the body. Similarly the pressure points at the tips of the fingers activate the meridian channels in the body. Hence one can draw a close connection between holistic sciences - be it Indian Ayurveda or Asian Meridian systems.

Readers who have been following my articles may have already understood a few basics of Mudras or hand gestures. I am sure many may question the science behind these simple hand poses, but if you have a belief in holistic systems like acupuncture or acupressure, then the reasoning is that Mudras work on the acupuncture meridians of the body. Meridians are strings connecting acupuncture points, which are considered as passageways through which life energy or Prana flows in the body. Therefore, meridians are more or less what we call nadis in yoga. In yogic science, it is believed that our bodies are made up of five fundamental elements like the air, earth, water, fire, and space. Any imbalances, called doshas, in these elements are bound to lead to health problems. Research has shown that yoga mudras provide a means to access and influence the unconscious reflexes and primal, instinctive habit patterns that originate in the primitive areas of the brain around the brain stem. Yoga mudras create a subtle, non-intellectual connection

In my previous articles on mudras, I have covered the elements of wind and water, and this week, I will focus on the fire or “Agni” element.

Fire is the element of transformation. Since its discovery as far back as 1.7 million years ago, it’s been central to how we humans and our eating habits have evolved. Our digestive system has certainly changed over time, and has played an important role in shaping our imagination, thinking and living habits too. Fire made the weakest of animal species, one of the most powerful in the world. Truly, fire represents change and power, and one of the things about us that we certainly want to change is our shape. We strive to look good and that means attaining a healthy athletic body. Unfortunately, our eating and lifestyle habits go counter to what we want, and are always struggling to shed the extra weight that we put on. Fortunately, we we all have an “inner fire” that gives us the power to make change when we need to. Speaking of ‘inner fire’, each of us have an energetic ‘wheel’ or ‘vortex’ known as the “Manipura Chakra” or the Solar Plexus located in the centre of the abdomen. You could think of Manipura Chakra as a wheel of fire in the belly, governing aspects of us related to power, digestion, decision making and self-confidence. When we do things that make us feel powerful, respected and strong, this fire burns bright and we generally feel good. When we allow our proverbial fire to be dampened however – via negative self-talk, doubt and fear, we feel a little weaker and literally less ‘fiery’.

The “Agni Mudra” or the ‘fire gesture’ symbolises the power to change, whatever ‘change’ means to you. Change might come in the form of transforming scattered and anxious thoughts into a focused and optimistic vision; it might look like stopping one unhealthy habit and replacing it with a beneficial one. As with many mudras, practicing the symbolic gesture can be done anywhere, and serves as a reminder to believe in yourself, and know that you can transform any mindset or situation you find yourself in. In the weight loss process, several people find difficulty in reducing fat due to poor digestive health.

The fire element present in the Agni or Surya mudra is known to improve digestion by regulating body temperature and reducing the earth (store/gain) element of the body by boosting the metabolism to burn off the fat. In ayurvedic terms this mudra increases the fire element and reduces the earth or Kapha element. it is also called as ‘Agni Vardhak Mudra’ the mudra that increases Pitta fire or ‘Prithvi shamak Mudra’, the mudra that decreases Kapha Earth.You should avoid this mudra or practice in moderation if you are suffering from indigestion or acidity.

Losing weight is just one benefit of practicing this mudra. Fire also means radiance, and this mudra brings out a glow on the face that will leave you looking fresh, younger, agile, basically more attractive as well. In turn, psychologically, a healthy body leads to developing a healthy mind, which leads to a stress and fatigue free day without depressing thoughts. Over time, it will help build character of discipline and ambition in those suffering from poor confidence.

Regular practice of Agni mudra when accompanied by disciplined eating as per ayurvedic diet plan can significantly aid in faster fat reduction.

There are a few variations of Agni Mudra, but this one focuses on the power of the fire in the belly. To practice:

  • Bend your ring finger inward.

  • Place the tip of ring finger at the base of the thumb and touch the second phalanx bone with the thumb.

  • Give it a slight press.

  • Stretch out the other three fingers.

  • You can perform breathing techniques or meditation.

  • The Surya- Agni mudra should be performed for 5 to 15 minutes two to three times each day. The best result of the agni mudra can be achieved when practiced early in the day.

    (To understand Mudras properly and attaches appearing earlier in this column, you are invited to our Zoom meeting (ID: 4793331908; Password: healing) held every Monday from 7 PM to 7:45 PM. It’s a free service courtesy of The Free Press Journal and the Lions Club Mumbai ACTIONs. You can also share your problems by writing to us at features@fpj.co.in; lionsclubofaction@gmail.com or send a WhatsApp at 9323178565.)

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