Free Drugs! Book Review of Mudra: The Sacred Secret
Posted on May 22, 2015
Indu Arora had me at “hello.” Well, a very unique “hello” that went like this: “What I’m talking about is not normal intelligence. It’s connection-derived intelligence.” Helloooooo, right?!?
Indu said this at a workshop at my old studio, Field of Yoga, a year ago. I have a big star by this quote in my notebook. Not only was Indu speaking my language, but she was speaking our language. A highly connected language. It comes through in her unique way of expressing concepts so that you can’t help but connect to them – even if you don’t want to. Like now – as I write this blog in my kitchen, I am recalling Indu’s words about the effect of our modern “open” kitchens: “The craving clock stays on.” Look at that leftover cinnamon roll! Ooooo, someone left the peanut butter out! Hell, I can’t stand the heat, I better get out of the kitchen.
But I don’t want to. I wanna work right here. And, thanks to Indu, I’ve got another option, if I gotta be a rebel. (All the pittas in da house say HEY-O!) At that workshop, Indu gave us a practice she prescribed specifically for cravings. Hold up. I’ma go get a hit of it. Meanwhile, you go meet Indu in this 2-minute video that I love beyond words!
[2-minute time lapse.] Isn’t she awesome?!?
Indu has a unique way of expressing concepts so that you can’t help but connect to them – even if you don’t want to.
Ahhh. I’m back. As someone with an eating disorder history, I need all the help I can get when it comes to food triggers. (Q: So why am I still in the kitchen?!? A: Because – pitta.) The practice I just did involves a mudra. Yeah, a mudra. That “yoga of the hands” thing. That “energy sealing” at termination points in our nervous system thing. Or, maybe it’s even more than that….
Let’s find out! Indu wrote a book! And it’s on mudras! And it is vast and informed and has all that wonderful wisdomful connecting language that is Indu. Mudra: The Sacred Secret makes clear connections between a slew of fields having to do with energy, from reflexology to astrology. And, if you’re a yogeek, it connects all those energy classification systems in the yoga compendium, like chakras, shaktis, gunas, and pranas (aka vayus).
In fact, the first 100 pages of the book are all about helping you make these connections. The charts in this section are gold. Gold I say! Case in point: I’ve always had a bit of a palmistry crush. Palmistry is like taking the solar system and putting it into your hand, and seeing patterns in it that translate to patterns in your life. Indu’s chart on the planet-hand relationship really helped me see a connection between my weird palmistry fascination and my main support system of yoga. Huh! Maybe I’ll be hanging out that “Palm Reader” shingle after all!
Oh, wait. This is about Indu. 😉
Allow me to recover (is there a mudra for that?). Ahem. It’s important to gain an understanding of how and why something works, so you can get on board with actually doing that thing. Indu handles this brilliantly in these first 100 pages, so you are informed, and empowered to use the practices that follow effectively.
A mudra gives you an immediate hit. But unlike a drug, if you do it regularly, you won’t develop a tolerance that lessens its effect. Nope. You’ll get the opposite – cumulative awesomeness.
Back to me! I’ve noticed that human nature is to go for the drugs, the supplements, the essential oils – the immediate things you “take” rather than the longer term things you “do.” And get this – mudras are like both. Both! You get an immediate hit. But unlike a drug, if you do it regularly as a practice, you won’t develop a tolerance that lessens its effect. Nope. You’ll get the opposite – cumulative awesomeness. Just like the longer term “doing” that makes you healthier. So, as I’m always recommending, if you can find ways to hack into your system, right past all the resistance, and make a healthy change with little effort, do it! (If you need a mudra pusher, you came to the right place.)
So, how does a mudra for “Cajoling One to Sleep” sound? Or, how ‘bout one to “Release Negativity”? Dang, how does “Supreme Wisdom” sound, man? “Divine Expression,” hmmm? Or something more directly physical, like “Aiding Digestion” or “Relieving Headache”? It’s all in there. And more. (Disclaimer #16: Most mudras have not been proven via evidence-based research. They come from a wisdom tradition rather than modern science. When using resources that aren’t evidence-based, it’s best to go to a source that’s as rooted in the wisdom tradition as possible, someone with a direct line to the wisdom as it goes way back – a lineage – as opposed to someone dabbling. Indu is rooted, baby. She’s the real deal. Oh – and don’t come to me for palmistry. Yet.)
In summary, I think mudras are cool and worth doing. And I think we should be as informed and empowered as possible when we do them. And I think having, like, 140 photos of Indu doing mudras, with all aspects of each mudra visible and described, is totally bitchin’. I mean – I think it’s indescribably valuable. In case, you know, I get quoted.
Who’s the modern-day sage I recommend you learn mudras from? Indu.
Who’s the modern-day sage I recommend you learn mudras from? Indu. Indu’s book brings a lot of things home for me as a longer-term yoga practitioner, and it presents so many options for people just looking to get started in a healthier direction. It’s touted by some biggies in the yogasphere, from the more spiritual-philosophical side like David Frawley, American Institute of Vedic Studies Director, to the more physical-based, like Beth Shaw, YogaFit Founder. You can pore over the first 100 pages of charts and energy talk, or if the idea of that nauseates you, flip it open to the mudra “for Nausea.”
Take advantage of Indu’s “connection-derived intelligence.” And build your own. Go on, do some mudras. Take a crack at it.