Bird-sound and the fluttering of wings is definitely a sign of Spring at my house. And, with the arrival of my first hummingbird this morning, it feels like a perfect time to share with you one of my favorite Yogic stories – the beautiful story of a small bird who was willing to fight for what was important, and then simply trust the outcome.
During Yoga class you may have heard the standing balance pose Garudasana, referred to as “eagle pose” and wondered why. Garuda’s story can help us understand the intention that is required to fully embody Garudasana. In Hindu mythology, Garuda is Vishnu’s carrier. He is described as a divine bird with the head and wings of an eagle, and the body, arms and legs of a man.
Garuda’s story begins when he finds out that his mother, Vinata, has made a foolish bet with some snakes. After losing the bet, she is enslaved in Patala, the underground city of the snakes. When Garuda approaches the snakes, with the intent of freeing his mother, they tell him that they will only free her if he brings them some amrita, otherwise known as the nectar of the Gods. The amrita is stored in a lake on the top of a mountain and Garuda must make his way through three obstacles in order to retrieve it. Garuda sets off, determined to bring back the amrita and free his mother.
The word Pran (sometimes Prana) translates from Sanskrit as “life force”. Practicing this Mudra has the benefit of activating dormant energy in the body – it increases our sense of vitality and decreases feelings of fatigue. As we move out of Winter and into Spring, we may need help keeping ourselves in-sync with everything that is reawakening around us. Practicing Pran Mudra is the perfect tool to help with reactivating our “life force”. This Mudra can be practiced anywhere and anytime that you need a quick pick-me-up.
- With your palms facing up, bring the tips of your thumb, little finger and ring finger to touch.
- Let the other two fingers stretch outward and draw toward each other.
- Close your eyes and set an intention to nurture your “life force”.
- As you inhale imagine white light being drawn in through the tips of your two outstretched fingers. Welcome any of the cleansing and energizing properties that are contained in the white light into your body and mind.
- As you exhale, either through your nose or mouth, let go of any feelings of heaviness and lethargy.