Sunday, November 7, 2010

Book Review – Mudras: Ancient Gestures to Ease Modern Stress

When I am particularly impatient or stressed, I touch the tips of my thumbs and middle fingers together in a circle and relax my other fingers. While navigating a voice mail menu maze, standing in line at the Issaquah post office, or stuck in a traffic jam, this hand gesture (also called a mudra) keeps me from lashing out and facilitates the deep breaths I need for calm. Emily Fuller Williams’ new book, Mudras: Ancient Gestures to Ease Modern Stress is an easy-to-use guide for mudras that release, relax, restore, recharge, reframe thinking, and refresh the mind.

Hand gestures are often used to enhance a state of being. “Hang loose” comes naturally when in Hawaii just as making a fist does when angry. And, they are powerful and fast-acting. While a clenched hand can intensify irritation, you can use the same idea to create a more peaceful state of mind for yourself. The author suggests holding the mudra for three minutes, but I find a shift in just a minute.

Of the 20 individual mudras included in this book, my current favorite is to release chaos by pulling on my ear lobes. While it doesn’t magically clean up the disorder around me, it does help me to see a clear path through the clutter. Others gestures in the book show how to release jaw tension, chase away sadness, and increase confidence.

You can buy a copy direct from the publisher, Parenting Press.