Mudras and The finishing Lotus Flowers

THE THREE CLOSING LOTUS FLOWERS

I wanted to take a look at what is happening in body, mind, and physiology of the closing lotus flowers in the ashtanga practice. You learn them in your very first ashtanga class and do them every time you practice. These are important postures to finish your practice with.

Mudras

The finishing lotus flowers are mudras. An area of yoga I have mostly ignored other, other than an occasional mention of anjali mudra and it’s meaning of balancing the masculine and feminine energies in our body or to place your thumb and index finger together as we sit to breathe and meditate. As I deepen into pranayama practices I am experiencing more mudras, and enjoying practicing them. Turns out a lot of the poses in the ashtanga series are actually mudras, and there are some cross overs between mudras and asanas.

Mudras are about breaking our mindless habitual tendencies. 

As I have journeyed through the mindstuff side of yoga and dappled with my meditations and my thoughts all throughout the day, tuning in to what I am saying to myself in the back of my mind and the quality of my thoughts, I have come to realize much of our maturation through the yoga practices leads us to be aware of our default natures, or the subconscious patterns, attitudes, and behaviors we fall into without consciously wanting to.

I have come across this in my scientific research and writing on the practices of yoga and science of the body; in science this is our default mode network (DMN). The simple explanation of our DMN is it is our programmed behavior from our childhood days that we relied on to get us what we want, or simply to feel safe in our environment.

A child who got what they want through temper tantrums will most likely be quick to anger as an adult, is an example. The DMN is your brain’s default mode you fall into when you are resting or doing a repetitive activity that does not require a lot of brain power, or when stressed or under pressure. 

There is some recent research coming out on our default mode networks finding a connection between default mode network and cognitive challenges such a Alzheimers and dementia. Those whose default mode network is rumination or worry, may be at an increased risk for cognitive decline than someone who’s default mode network is more productive.

Part of our work with our yoga practice is to be more aware of what is flitting through your thoughts and brains all day long as we do our everyday activities of daily living. Can you change your thoughts toward spiritual and emotional growth and not worry and rumination? An example in my life would be when I am thinking about these talks or workshops that I teach; it is easy to worry about what people are thinking about my work, to worry they don’t like it, think I’m crazy, or judge me in some way over my writing and teachings. Instead thinking about what I’m going to say and exactly how I want to teach it, or where I want to dig into a little more research is a much more productive way of brewing over my talks while I am doing dishes or little daily chores that don’t engage my brain.

Mudras are explained in yoga science as providing a means to access and influence these unconscious patterns, reflexes, and primal instinctive habits people fall into. These patterns originate in the primal parts of our brain, our amygdala and hippocampus located close to the brain stem, this is the area of our brain that takes over when we feel threatened — our survival mode. It seems easy for adults to subconsciously shift our brain power from our prefrontal cortex where we are more conscious, make better decisions and think clearer to our amygdala and consequent stressful thoughts. 

Mudras are postures and gestures designed to snap the practitioner out of instinctive habits into more conscious behaviors. Mudra translates as gestures or attitudes. They are a combination of physical and subtle movements meant to alter our mood, attitude, and perception. In the book “Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha” it traces the root mud as meaning delight or pleasure, and dru being a derivative of dravay which means to draw forth. So mudra means to draw forth delight and pleasure. That’s a nice thought. Most likely it is referring to the release of dopamine and serotonin, our feel good and rewarded hormones.

So we use mudras to alter which hormones we are releasing into our blood stream, instead of the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline we are encouraging the release of dopamine and serotonin helping to improve our mood.

A mudra may involve the whole body using asana, breathing and pranayama, bandha, and visualizations — or it may just be a simple hand position. Bandhas used to be known as a type of mudra, Mula, uddiyana, and Jalandhara bandhas used to be mudras until their practices become popular, then for some reason they got classified as bandhas instead of mudras.

Mudras are one of the more subtle practices of yoga and are introduced after some time and proficiency is attained with the practices of asana, pranayama, and bandha. They are more common in kundalini and kriya yoga practices. Mudras are touted as helping ones kundalini to escape and rise; in other words shift energy flow in the body and the brain away from primal habits to more conscious behaviors.

There are 5 groups of yoga mudras:

  1. Hasta, or hand mudras. These are more meditative mudras where we are trying to direct the body’s energy flow to hands back into the body. The most common one being jnana or chin mudra, the touching together of the index finger and thumb, which creates a loop of energy flow from the hand back up to the brain. They also engage our motor cortex in our brain improving our coordination.   
    Until recently I did not make the connection about the amount of energy in our hands that we redirect with the practices of yoga. There are a lot of nerve endings in the hands and fingers that are constantly sending messages to our brain. It is those nerve endings we are connecting back to the body, keeping the energy those nerves send out to feel and interpret looped back into the body where the body can use it. 
  2. Mana, or head mudras. Mana mudras utilize the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and lips. They encourage deeper meditative states. Drishti in the ashtanga practice is an example of this type of mudra.
  3. Kaya, or postural mudras. These mudras use asana, breath, and concentration. Examples of these in the ashtanga practice would be Janu Sirsasana series, Karna Pidasana in closing where we squeeze our ears with our legs, inversions in general, even the way we initially grip our big toes in Paschimattanasana is the beginning of a mudra, and our 3 closing lotus flowers are all mudras.
  4. Bandha, or the lock mudras. These mudras combine mudra with bandha and are said to “charge the system with prana”. Janu sirsasana B done with the tongue mudra khechari where you reach your tongue backward toward your throat, hold your breath while engaging mula, uddiyana, and Jalandhara bandha, and in your mind rotating from ajna, vishuddhi, and muladhara chakra is an example of this type of mudra.
    1. That is Maha mudra which means “the great attitude”. Whew,  that’s a lot to do in one mudra, it makes you be present.
  5. Adhara, perineal mudras. These mudras are believed to direct our energies from the lower centers of our body to our brain. Aswhini mudra where the anal sphincter is contracted and lifted is an example of this type of mudra, and mula bandha can also be a mudra. 

All these mudras help to engage the cerebral cortex of our brain shifting our brain power to the higher more productive areas of our brain. The head and hand mudras effect the interpretations the nervous system is sending to the brain, this calms the nervous system, brings our awareness from the outside to the inside where we can better look at how our thoughts are shaping our whole perspective and reality. 

As mentioned in Minding your Mindstuff, we are all doing the best we can trying to interpret all this information our senses send to our brain. Your thoughts directly effect what you see as reality. The great thought leaders in yoga speak of reality as if there is no real reality. This is why 2 people can go through the same experience together and each come out with a completely different experience of the situation. The best we can do to have a clear picture of what is reality is to not allow our preconceived notions, past experiences, and expectations to influence the current situation. Back to that presence thing…

Our lovely ashtanga yoga gave us these tools before we were ready to comprehend what we were doing with them. One of the reasons I love this practice, the tools are there and as we grow into the yoga we better understand how to best employ them.

Mudras can be done in combination with asana and pranayama practices, or after them. Our three finishing lotus flowers are the mudras we do at the end of our practices because the practice has cleared out our body and opened up the pathways that allow us to tune into he subtle aspects these mudras offer.

The Inside Out of the 3 finishing Lotus flowers

Now I understand why these poses are so important, in the ashtanga practice you learn them your very first time, and practice them every time you do your practice. These poses offer a lot of benefits, and are worth their time. These poses will also identify you as an ashtangi, while these poses are sometimes done in other yogas, ashtanga is the only one that closes every practice with them. 

When you don’t have  time to do a full practice these 3 lotus positions can give you much of the benefits of doing a full hour long practice. They can really be of use on the days you don’t have time for a full practice. Don’t fall into the western mindset that if you can’t do an hour it’s not worth your time, 10 minutes of sun salutes and breathing in the 3 finishing lotus flowers are just enough to shift your nervous system, calm your mind, and release those feel good hormones of dopamine and serotonin. Then take that feeling with you off your mat and into your day or evening. Try it, you’ll see!

The first lotus position is a mudra, Yoga Mudra, however Baddha Padmasana occurs first.

Baddha Padmasana

Baddha means caught or restraint. In this pose the body is caught between the lotus legs in the front and the bound hands in the back making one puff out their chest. 

  • This is therapeutic for the shoulder joints and helps to bring blood flow to the heart and lungs.
  • This position with your chest expanded opens up your breathing airways and stretches your muscles of respiration allowing them to function optimally, giving you more breathing space to inhale and exhale deeper.
  • This position historically in India has been used for children with poorly developed  chests, it encourages normal healthy growth.
  • This position is helpful for the spinal column, helping to realign and release a hunched back.

If you are not able to catch the double bind, clasp your hands, wrist, or elbows and squeeze your shoulder blade toward each other to get the action of puffing out your chest expanding and stretching your muscles of respiration.

To perform:

  • Place your legs in full lotus right foot first, half lotus, or siddhasana (legs crossed with toes tucked up between calf and thigh).  
  • Reach behind the back with the left hand and grasp the left foot, then reach behind and clasp the right foot with the right hand.  If you are not able to bind, clasp your hands or grasp the elbows or wrists behind your back, or clasp the left wrist with your right hand, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
    • After you fold forward over your legs you can adjust your hand position again. Hands can be clasped with arms straight behind you, in prayer position behind your back, or crossed behind your back holding your wrists elbows or toes. Any hand position theat squeezes your shoulder blades together. When not bound I like to start with the hands clasped, then change them to one of the other positions. 

Inhale:  Lengthen your spine lift your chin and heart, tilt your face upward. Traditionally this is only held for one inhale, however for therapeutic reasons you can hold this pose for a couple breaths before going forward into yoga mudra.

Exhale: Fold forward into Yoga mudra, placing your forehead or chin on the floor if possible. If you are unable to make it all the way down to the floor, be mindful to not let your head hang down and do not hold long until you can rest your head on something.  Remain here for 10 deep breaths.

Yoga Mudra

Yoga mudra is  classically translated as  “The psychic union pose” or “yoga seal pose” representing the seal of awareness. It is believed by some this is position stimulations the psychic energy points and helps you to channel psychic awareness, improving your awareness of both the seen and unseen. 

On a physical level, this mudra is about circulation and peristalsis, keeping things flowing in the body, which can be considered a physical channeling of types. 

If you do not do full lotus you can get the same internal benefits by placing your fists in between your thigh and abdomen before you forward bend. 

Iyengar teaches when you exhale forward in this pose, you first come straight forward then exhale touch chin to your right knee, inhale center, exhale to left knee, then inhale center and exhale forward fold. This would get a little more circulation out of the posture as you move from side to side you are squeezing one side and opening the other helping fluids to circulate.

While holding this asana it states in Yoga Mala and other texts to meditate on your chosen deity while directing your gaze softly between your eyebrows and breathing strongly.

Benefits:

  • Yoga mudrasana increases peristaltic activity (movement though the tubes in our body) by helping to push down food through the colon relieving constipation and increasing digestive power. 
  • The head down position does help bring fresh blood flow to the brain, this helps to calm the mind relieving stress, and may be why the pose is called psychic union pose and be used to enhance spiritual awareness. 
  • Due to the heels pressing into the liver and spleen, this posture is touted to be therapeutic for many diseases, specifically for the liver, spleen, and anal canal. The combined lotus and forward bend massages all the internal organs.
  • The forward bend over your crossed legs stretches the vertebrae allowing fresh blood flow to the nerves and discs in the spine helping to keep them healthy, and helps to loosen the knees and hip joints making it easier to sit in lotus or with crossed legs. 
  • This position reduces blood flow to the legs, increasing blood flow to the pelvic organs which can improve their functioning. 
  • It is also useful for the practice of meditation, breathing, bandhas, and mudras, and is therefore used in the texts to start the kundalini awakening process. It is a great prelude to meditative practices.

Padmasana – The Lotus Posture 

Padmasana in my first little studio that was in my home in Mechancisburg, PA

Placing your thumb and index finger together into jnana mudra, lay the backs of your wrists on your knees.

The Lotus Flower:  Floating in the water and yet anchored firmly to the earth below by a single strand.   

BeFit Body & Mind logo painted by Joe Mattus on the wall of my first studio in New Cumberland, PA

The lotus flower is very symbolic for me, it is the flower that is in my logo.

The lotus flower grows in mud and muck

and thus is symbolic to rising above the muck in its life and blooming beautifully, despite the obstacles.  In yogic lore, the lotus is a metaphor for how all past experiences, especially negative ones, can be used as fertile soil for blooming into a more awakened being. 

Resilience and growth from our experiences, that’s what the lotus is symbolic of.

This is the famous yoga meditation position one sits in to ‘draw their prana upward and raise their kundalini’. In order to work on these benefits while in padmasana, pranayama, bandhas, and mudras need to be added, padmasana alone is not sufficient.

Lotus Pond, Bali along my commute from hut to yoga class

Raising the kundalini lies within your vagus nerve and brain function, helping tocreate balance in our brain patterns which then influence our entire body.

When we sit in lotus, control our breathing, focus our mind, and still our body with mudras, the higher faculties of the mind are stimulated or awakened because we are activating more of our brain. This activation requires more prana or energy from the body, hence we have to still the body to allow the energy taken for bodily works and the energy taken by the senses to be redirected to the brain. When the body is taking less energy, our brain has additional energy to engage more areas of our brain leading to higher consciousness. This is the process of increasing your prana to raise your kundalini.

The ethereal side of the science

All living matter is the combination of energy and consciousness.

Alexis and lotus flower, Maui HI

According to yogic thought, the left hemisphere of the brain functions according to time, and the right hemisphere operates according to the principals of space. When these two opposites come together there is higher awakening because both hemispheres of the brain are functioning together. We are combing the linear structured thinking side of the brain with the open, expansive, creative and intuitive side of our brain, this makes for a nice balanced approach in what you are thinking and/or doing.

In science, when time and space meet in the nucleus of matter, the matter explodes into thousands and thousands of particles which is the basis of creation.

When these two opposing poles unite in the brain there is an explosion of energy that awakens the mind and body according to yogic belief. 

Lotuses in my 2nd Studio in Lemoyne, PA

The physical

Not everyone can attain padmasana, certainly not the average person, and for many people it takes years of practice to be able to do this, and still many will never be able to.

Lotus Postures require flexibility in the adductors and internal rotators (gluteus medius and minmus, TFL or Tensor Fasciae Latae, and some of the hamstring muscles – the semimembranosis and semitendinosis).  The lotus posture is difficult for most Westerners to get into due to the positioning of the hip and knee, and years of sitting in chairs and toilets. 

  • It is important to not force the lotus posture if your hips are tight, this puts a strain on the knees.  

To help attain lotus postures; don’t sit like a lady or gentlemen, sit like a yogi.

  • Don’t sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, this disconnects your upper and lower bodies. Instead sit with your feet up under you, crossed, or half lotus, or tuck one leg back, or put a leg in Marichyasana A position, or whatever position is comfortable for you. And fidgeting is good, switch your leg positions around when you are seated for long periods of time. This is especially nice to do while you work on a computer.
  • Sit on the floor often.
  • Adductor stretches, baddha konasana and poses where we externally rotate the thigh will help prepare one for lotus.

It is not only tight hips that can keep you out of lotus, but tight quads can too; if your quads are tight you will not be able to fully flex your knee joint.

If tight knees/quads are keeping you out of lotus:

  • sit in virasana most every day with a pillow under your buttocks for a few minutes.  Be careful not to overdo this asana.  

If you have any knee issues avoid placing your legs in lotus postures.

Working into full Lotus For knee integrity make sure you work your leg into lotus while keeping your knee fully bent, a partially bent knee in lotus strains the knee. Janu sirsasana series -specifically Janu C, can help prepare the knee joint for lotus.

  • Point and invert your right foot, fully bend right knee, place heel close to navel and your foot toward your left groin (if hip does not allow your heel to at the very minimum get within one inch of your hip bone do not proceed, instead spend more time sitting with your legs in half lotus or underneath you.

Envision full lotus as two half lotuses, to complete the full lotus, just think of placing your left leg into another half lotus

  • Test by bending your left knee and placing your left foot under your right knee, if this is somewhat comfortable you can proceed.
  • Fully bend your left knee, lean back, lifting your legs off the floor, dropping your right knee as low as possible, try to slide your left foot on top into the lotus position.
  • Sit up tall and breathe deeply for as many breaths as you can comfortably hold the position.

And if lotus is not happening for you, ahhhh no worries! The main benefits of this practice come from the internal work, not what the physical body can do. After many years of practice lotus may come or it may not; either way our work is acceptance. Find a comfortable meditation position, and continue your inner work. Siddhasana is also a lovely and beneficial posture.

Folding your legs into padmasana makes it easier to sit longer as the legs crossed over each other pull the spine to sit up straighter requiring less activation of the back muscles to sit straight. The body becomes “locked” in this position and reduces fidgets and unnecessary movements. The legs make a firm foundation to support the body and head. If you can’t do lotus, you can make up for this just by putting a pillow or towel under your tailbone and/or sitz bones (ischial tuberosities).

When your legs are folded into lotus, it applies pressure to the lower spine which can be calming to the nervous system. The coccygeal (tailbone) and sacrum are benefitted by the extra blood supply that is normally going to the legs, this position will reduce blood flow to the legs. Additional blood flow will also go to the abdomen helping to improve both digestion and detoxification. Why this pose is known as the “Destroyer of Diseases”.

Also when your legs are locked into lotus it stimulates the meridians of the stomach, gall bladder, spleen, liver, and kidneys hence another reason why its called the destroyer of diseases, when these organs are healthy our body will remain disease free.

In yoga this position is used to help direct the flow of prana or energy upward from the lower spine to the higher centers in the brain heightening the experience of meditation, and allowing one to do the inner work of minding your mindstuff 

It states in Yoga Mala, the practice of Padmasana destroys not only diseases of the body, but great sins as well.  This is the best and the greatest of the asanas, and is relatively easy to practice in all respects, it should be performed by everyone. Not too many things in life destroy sins, I was quite tickled to read that. It is sure worth a try!

Lotuses in my 3rd studio, 2201 in Camp Hill, PA

To perform:

  • Sit in full lotus (right foot first) or legs crossed, choose an option that allows you to sit comfortably.  Drop your tailbone lengthening your lower back, gently let your heart and chest lift or float just like the lotus flower. It is important to keep the spine long and shoulders back so the lungs have the optimum amount of space for expansion. Think of expansion 360o around your rib cage as you inhale, expanding the back ribs along with the front and side ribs. Use your exhales to reinforce engaging of your bandhas, gently pulling your navel inward and upward as you exhale.
  • Place the back of the hands on the knees, arms straight.  Position the thumb and fore finger so they are touching and three remaining fingers point toward the floor.
  • Slow the breath rate, to about a 5 second inhale and a 5 second exhale, saturate the entire body with oxygen and life giving prana.  Listen to the sound of your breath.  Keep it rhythmic and soft.  Feel the stillness and the unseen forces moving within.
  • Remain here for 10 deep breaths.   Take this breath with you when you go, this is the breath you want to fall into naturally all day long. Practice it here, so it becomes easier to recall throughout your busy days.

Resonance Breathing in Padmasana

Here we use padmasana to retrain our body to breathe correctly all day long while we are  unconsciously breathing. 

Resonance breathing is the act of slowing down your breath to a rate of 5-7 breaths per minute, which is the rate we breathe at for our meditations — this has also been called coherence breathing (when adding mindfulness to it).  Most people normally breathe at a rate of about 15-18 breaths per minute which can be adequate to ensure the body has the oxygen it needs.  

When feeling anxiety or stress the breathing rate usually increases to around 20-25 breaths per minute — when the breath speeds up but there is not a demand in the body for more oxygen — or faster breathing — it sends a message to be on alert and can activate the sympathetic arm of the nervous system raising blood pressure, inflammation or other stress responses.

When we slow our breath down, it stops this process and balances the two sides of our autonomic nervous system bringing our body back into homeostasis.  When we meditate, chant, or sing — and even sometimes just talking our body falls into this slower breathing rate. 

When we sleep we fall into a slow breathing rate with our exhales slightly longer.

The inhales and exhales can be equal or the exhale can be slightly longer for example; 

  • 5 second inhale / 5 second exhale (or 4 or 6 second inhales and exhales)
  • 4 second inhale /  6 second exhale
  • 5 second inhale / 7 second exhale

The breaths do not need to be real deep, it is more important to keep it smooth and a little slower than your normal breath.  Sometimes when we try to breathe deeply we put a little tension in our breath.

I like extending the exhale — the exhale is under used (and under-rated!) when people breathe unconsciously.  During the exhale is when the O2 we just breathed into our blood transfers to our tissues — we don’t want the oxygen to stay in our blood, we want the oxygen to get from our blood to our tissues.

Resonance means when 2 or more things are in harmony, in this case we are harmonizing our inhales and exhales, sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system, heart and brain waves, and blood pressure.

When we inhale it activates the SNS when we exhale it activates the PNS, with each breath our body is saying “inhale do something, exhale relax” or in other words do something relaxed! When we breathe conscious and slow it brings both the sides of the nervous system into balance; the body can heal and digest and repair – be in homeostasis and yet also be alert and move about our business. When we have too activation of the sympathetic arm we are stressed, when we have too much activation of the parasympathetic arm we are sluggish, we want a balance between the two.

One of the primary benefits of breathing this way is the balancing effect it has on blood pressure.  When we do sun salutes (or prostrations if your religious belief practices those) it exercises the baroreceptor reflexes which are wrapped around our carotid artery in our neck, when we change positions the baroreflex-ers send the message to your heart to pump harder or slower depending on whether we need our blood pressure elevated or decreased for the position we are in. 

When we breathe slow it also balances the baroreflexers to nice smooth waveforms.  It takes about a 5 seconds for the message sent from the baroreceptor reflex to reach the brain, meaning within about 5 seconds we can start to influence a better balance in our own blood pressure.  This is why when you stand up quickly after sitting for a long period of time — or when you come out of a forward bend too quickly — you get light headed briefly, your blood pressure was low for sitting, when you suddenly stood up you needed more blood pressure and it takes about 5 seconds to send the message to the heart and brain for the dizziness to go away.  

Sun salutes and movements that exercise your baroreceptor reflexes will shorten this time and improve the synchronization of heart rate and blood pressure.

More info on resonance breathing and coherence here.

More coming next week on the fishing lotus flowers of ashtanga:

Uth Pluthi – yet to add to this blog.

The deeper I go into the study of the alternative practices of yoga, Ayurveda, and TCM and the more I learn through Functional Medicine, Integrative Medicine and Aromatherapy I am seeing all kinds of cross overs. They are all designed to make a similar shift in the body.  They are all saying the same thing in different languages, for example;

  • The kundalini is the vagus nerve
  • The chakras are our nerve plexuses
  • The amrita bindhu, the nectar of life according to yoga, is just the hormones secreted by our pituitary gland
  • Prana is biophotons
  • The kanda is given much attention in yogic philosophy as the place where all 72,000 nadis originate. The kanda is not ethereal or energetic or only in the subtle body. The kanda is the conus medullaris (bulb at the root of our spine) in our physical, real body. The yogic texts state all 72,000 nadis originate from the kanda because it is the junction where the peripheral nervous system meets the central nervous system.

Here are the 3 major points in the body all these therapies are trying to shift:

#1 Autonomic balance – The practices of yoga, aromatherapy, Ayurveda, and TCM first deal with resetting your autonomic balance to being parasympathetic dominant where healing and regeneration can happen. 

  • Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez who was an alternative cancer doctor who elaborated and progressed the treatments of Gershwin Therapy teaches the importance of this and it has been the back bone to his cancer treatments along with specific diets, supplements, and detoxes. 
  • Aromatherapy scents are about making this shift first
    • Lavender helps GABA reach GABA receptors relaxing the stress response and making us feel good. The scent of lavender alone reduces pulse, blood pressure, and pain.
    • Another study showed that the inhalation of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is capable of reducing sympathetic nervous activity and decrease blood pressure
    • rose (Rosa damascena) and patchouli (Pogostemum patchouli) decreased sympathetic activity. 

#2 Brain function – Shifting brain function from the amygdala to the prefrontal cortex

  • Functional Neurologists, Drs. David and Austin Perlmutter book “Brain Wash” is about this and foods that switch you to your amygdala such as sweets and processed flours making it harder to make good decisions about what you are eating.

#3 Hormone balance – Ways to get our body to release dopamine and serotonin instead of the stress hormones of adrenaline and cortisol.

  • Mudras are about making this shift (and they are better for you than anti-depressants)
  • Essential oils can increase serotonin while inhibiting cortisol
    • Lemon (ingested) lowers the neurotransmitters adrenaline and noradrenaline (aka epinephrine and norepinephrine) while it increases dopamine and serotonin
    • Clary sage increases dopamine and therefore is a very good anti-depressant.
    • Black pepper actually increased adrenaline concentration while rose essential oil decreased adrenaline levels. 
    • Sweet orange demonstrates stress relieving activity by decreasing cortisol in saliva samples. 

First get these 3 importing systems in your body in balance, then go after any diseases or imbalances — or just keep these things inline for preventative maintenance. This is how you treat the person instead of the disease. Modern medicine does not even look at how a person developed the imbalance, they just go after it with a pill while the causative factors still carry on in the person, making many medical treatments an ongoing event for the rest of the persons life.

Without this first step medical treatments have a lower efficacy.

Yoga is a tool box for this, we have been doing this long before we knew what we were even doing with all this yoga:

  • Breathing and Asana are about autonomic balance
  • Meditation and pranayama makes the brain shift from the amygdala to the prefrontal cortex
  • Combining breathing, meditation and posture are our Mudras which help to make the hormonal shift in our body from the stress hormones of adrenaline and cortisol to the feel good hormones of dopamine and serotonin

The 3 finishing lotus flowers are first and foremost about this important shift in the body and are safe and easy enough to do everyday, and for the benefit they bring to body, mind, and spirit they are worthy of your daily time.

 

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