The Original Eight Finger Postures (Mudras)
Jiro Murai was born in 1866 as the second son in a family of medical practitioners. As the second, free-of-obligations son, he studied according to his own inclinations: philosophy, religion, and agriculture. He held education equivalent to our modern Masters of Science and wrote a dissertation on the mating habits of silkworms. He also enjoyed eating food and frequently entered eating competitions for which he was very proud.
At an age of 26, all his pursuits came to an abrupt halt, however, when he was diagnosed with an incurable disease and was given a short time to live. Upon exhausting all the available medical alternatives, he requested that he be taken to his family mountain cabin, where he could die in peace. There, he fasted, meditated, and prayed for six days. And, he practiced mudras – ancient finger postures from the yogic traditions of the Indian subcontinent. As he practiced, his body grew progressively colder and colder until he could feel life leaving his body as blood turned into ice in his veins. On the seventh day, all of a sudden there appeared warmth in his body with the blood feeling like a liquid fire in his veins. He thought that was the end. He woke up on the eighth day, however, to discover not death but his complete healing of any illness. The story goes that he dropped to his knees and thanked the Creator for his healing. He also dedicated the rest of his life, which spanned more than 60 more years, to the study of the art of his healing.
In his long life, Jiro Murai experimented with many mudras yet he inevitably returned to the original eight, which he held in highest esteem. Here they are.
Mudras No.1 and No.2
Place the thumb of your left hand over the inner side of the middle finger of the right hand. Place the rest of the fingers of the left hand on the back side of the right middle finger. The left-hand fingers practically wrap around the right middle finger. Mirror the steps for the opposite side. You can hold either left or right middle fingers.
When you turn your hand and place the thumb on the outside of the middle finger, while the rest of the fingers wrap around the inner side of it, you form Mudra No.2. You can do it with both hands. Mudra No.2 facilitates the inhaling aspect of breathing.
Mudra No.1 facilitates the exhaling and Mudra No.2 facilitates the inhaling aspect of breathing and our energetic circulation. The middle finger also harmonizes the 3rd Depth, its projects, and its attitude of Anger. The fatigue flow itself ascends along the back of the middle finger and descends down the front of it through the palm down along the arm. And so does a part of the Diaphragm Function Energy branches and reaches the tip of the middle finger. Through the finger-toe relationship, the middle finger is related to the middle toe at the tip of which the Compressed Oxygen energy from air we breathe intermingles with the LIquified Grain Energy from the food we eat.
Mudras No.3 and No.4
Here is another couple of mudras that facilitate the exhaling and inhaling processes and work as a pair.
For Mudra No.3, place the left thumb across the right ring and little fingers while wrapping your left hand around those two fingers of the right hand. Repeat for the opposite hand.
For Mudra No. 4, place the left thumb across the right thumb, index, and middle finger, while wrapping the rest of the left hand around those three fingers. Repeat with the opposite hand.
Mudras No. 5 and No.6
Mudras No.5 and No.6 help with both the exhaling and inhaling at the same time.
To experience Mudra No. 5, slide the left thumb between the thumb and the middle finger of the right hand (see the diagram). Repeat for the opposite hand.
Mudra No.6 is particularly powerful for breathing projects. Vary the placement of your thumb so that it touches simultaneously both the fingernails of the ring and the little finger, and you got yourself a hold that helps breathing and cardio-vascular processes at the same time.
Mudras No. 7 and No.8
I have practiced Mudras No. 7 and No. 8 the least amount of time and my experience is limited. I realized recently that Mudra No. 8 particularly requires some effort on my part to hold it. A friend of mine suggested that I bring the hands closer so that all the fingers but the middle actually touch (face to face). Such variation is certainly much more stable and I was able to hold it for a prolonged period of time.
I have held all mudras at one point or another but have never been able to distinguish their individual action. They all have felt particularly invigorating and balancing. After holding each one for 20 to 30 min, I inevitably feel a sense of warmth and general well-being. They help me awake fresh in the morning, yet they help me to go to bed at night. So, it seems they bring harmony to the energy flow and add whatever is missing. As such the experience of them has been grounding and harmonizing.
Each of the 8 Mudras can be used as a quickie for the Fatigue flow. In fact, I prefer them over that actual self-help for the Fatigue flow.