The Art of Natya With The Artistry of Yog

The Art of Natya With The Artistry of Yog

Mudras or we may say mystical positions of the hand serve to focus the mind and direct its power of attention. Hand mudras can be seen like hand mantras which pacify different facets, introducing different benefits, depending on what we specifically need. When practiced, a connection is developed with the patterns in the brain that influences the unconscious reflexes in the different areas. The internal energy is, in turn, equalised and redirected, creating an impact on the sensory organs, tendons and glands veins.

Mudras have lived with us from thousands of years through gestures incorporated during worship and Sandhya Vandana but also through various Indian dance forms well equipped with silent eloquence of mudras. Interestingly, many yogic mudras when used in Indian classical dance forms, illustrates dancer’s “vocabulary” which are used to visually convey inner feelings as well as external events. The beauty lies when they show their artistry as a code language filling the gap between both the performer and the audience communicating externally, unlike in yoga, where they serve to communicate internally.
One such mystical hand gesture in dance forms such as bharatnatyam, odissi or kuchipudi is  Shankha Mudra which is the twelfth hand gesture of the twenty-four, two-hand mudras (samyukta hastas)  typifying a ‘shape of a counch’ as described in the Abhinaya Darpana. The same mudra is utilised to cure thyroid or throat related issues in the Yoga tradition.

Shankh Mudra can be formed by wrapping all four fingers of your right hand around your left thumb. Bring the tips of your right thumb and left index finger together. The other fingers off your left hand should be parallel to the index finger. This can be performed with reversing hands too.

Its usage in ancient times during rituals in many hindu temples where the blow of conch horn announced the opening of the temple doors. It was believed the conch or shankh could send sound waves far and wide, thereby removing ill effects of bad elements. The dance also exhibits the similar ‘bhav’ (representation) in its performances. The same applies in our inner temple, in which the divine light shines – which should also be opened.

It may be fascinating to know, the thumb representing the fire element is covered with the fingers hence fire is mellowed down whereas  the union of the left index finger and thumb creates a balance of wind.

Benefits of Shankh Mudra :
  • Tones up the throat, the airways, and the lungs.
  • Treat chronic conditions like asthma, tonsils and throat disorders.
  • Relieves from the throat infection caught during chilly or rainy weather
  • Balances the Thyroxine secretion from Thyroid gland
  • Purifies 72000 nerves connected to the navel centre
  • Any trouble of stammering or stuttering in speech is rectified
  • Helps in voice modulation with must for singers, teachers and corporates (minimum 10 minutes of practice)
  • Relieves allergies caused by dust and smoke
  • Helps to calm the mind.
  • Reduces the pitta effect and increases the vatta and kapha doshas (humors) in the body.
  • Beneficial for cases of weakness or paralytic attacks
  • Kidney problems are cured
  • Strengthens the nervous system

Also popular as Shell mudra, it drives away every kind of problem in the throat. Regular practice with ‘OM’ chanting, one gradually strengthen its vocal chords. Fifteen minutes, thrice a day is recommended while sitting in sukhasana or vajrasana but remember to discontinue if you see putting on or off much weight after practicing it.

So, combine the art of dance and artistry of Yog artfully to create an ambiance where you can experience the beauty that your body is, and like a swan in a lake, spreading your wings soaring towards a beautiful life.