Namaste – A Greeting with Ancient Roots
The act of folding our hands together with the fingers and palms touching, often accompanied by the words ‘Namaste’ is an ancient form of greeting in our country, and indeed, in much of the subcontinent too. Meant to show acknowledgment and respect for the person in front of us, Namaste is a traditional and graceful greeting that has endured as a part of our culture for thousands of years.
But did you know it had a number of health benefits too?
Anjali Mudra and Its Health Benefits
As the world grapples with the pandemic of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the country has fallen back on this ancient greeting to maintain social distance – prevention of personal contact to help prevent the spread of virus.
But did you know that Anjali Mudra had a number of other health benefits too? That’s right, this pose is much more than just a greeting. It carries a number of physical, spiritual and emotional benefits, all of which can promote holistic health and mindfulness. Here is how this mudra works its wonders –
- Connect with the Religious – If you are a believer in the faith, you might have made the Anjali mudra countless times in front of the Sun, in prayer, or at temples. Religion has tremendous power to influence and divide, but at the same time, faith is very important for people – it gives them hope and support, provides the meaning, and motivates them to be good and do good. Science has also found numerous benefits of faith, including less anxiety, better coping, and longevity.
- Facilitate Your Meditation – Meditation is another practice known to have numerous benefits for physical and mental health. However, many may find concentrating during meditation difficult. After all, we live in the age of information overload and hyperactivity. When your hands are placed above your heart in the Anjali Mudra, it stimulates harmony and calmness and can feed into your meditation to make you more relaxed and mindful of the moment and your body, helping you reach the concentration level needed for good meditation.
- Aid The Shoulders – Sitting on our desks and laptops all day has begun to take a toll on our bodies, and our stiff and paining shoulders are often the first victims. The Anjali Mudra helps in opening up the space between the shoulder blades, and when the same mudra is used in yogic poses, the wrists and fingers gain better flexibility. Thus, integrating the Anjali Mudra into your daily workouts and yogic poses can help in reducing muscle tension in the hands, arms, and shoulders, and help in better circulation and nerve activation.
- Mindfulness – Mindfulness is all about cultivating great awareness or consciousness of that which is around you, including your own body. Mindfulness prevents you from being hung up on the past or worrying too much about the future, focusing instead on how you can live in the here and now. The touching of the fingers and palms in the Namaste pose can help in bringing the component of mindfulness into your meditation.
- Balance of Mind and Body – It is believed that when the Namaskar Mudra is performed, balance is brought to the left and the right sides of the brain, thus encouraging them to function as whole while also promoting harmony. It also makes you aware of the difference between your dominant and non-dominant hands, and thus also helps in promoting bodily harmony and equality.
Thus, not only is the Namaskar a splendid form of greeting that can help us in maintaining social distance and prevent the spread of coronavirus, it also brings with it numerous other health benefits, including balance, relaxation, and greater flexibility. So integrate this mudra into your daily practice not only as a greeting but also as a health exercise, and you will see the benefits for yourself.