Yoga for Addictions

music by Massive Attack, Paradise Circus

The truth is that we all have addictions. It might be to food, alcohol, sex, work, negative thoughts, sugar, judgment of others, controlling others, gambling, shopping…the list goes on. Yoga can be a salve for the body, mind and spirit and an additional tool for those working in 12-step programs and with physicians. This series of six poses are meant to be nourishing, internal. I’ve designed this sequence to specifically help when cravings arise. The trick is to practice this sequence before you spin out. Hold each pose for one to five minutes.

Day 12 of my 21 Day Yoga Challenge



Day 7: Hasta Mudra to Reduce Anxiety and Increase Memory – 28 Day Yoga Challenge

kalesvara mudra for reducing anxiety and increasing memory

If you know me well, you’ll know that one of my favorite practices is working with hasta mudras. These are hand postures that heal the body. (Full explanation below)

This photo is the Kalesvara Mudra. This mudra allows you to shape and control the mind. It’s primary benefit is to calm anxieties, but it is also known to heal addictions or unwanted character traits. It also enhances memory and concentration. As when practicing all mudras, it helps to set a positive intention at the onset or during the time practicing the mudra.

How to form the mudra: The pads of the middle fingers touch each other and extend, as do the pads of the thumbs. Curl the index, ring and pinky fingers in towards the palm of the hand and connect these fingers from the joint to the tips. Point the thumbs towards your chest with your elbows out to the side.

(This is taken from my book, Hasta Mudras for Health & Healing.)

About Hasta Mudras

A hasta mudra is a gesture or positioning of the hands to channel and direct energy in the body. Mudras come from the over three thousand year old tradition of yoga originating in India. Hasta means “hand” in Sanskrit and “mudra” comes from the Sanskrit word “mud”, meaning to delight. A mudra is a seal as in sealing your connection with the Divine or sealing energy in the body. There are many forms of mudras, such as with the eyes and the tongue.

Yoga is a spiritual practice and offers practical healing applications that benefit even those who aren’t spiritually oriented. Hasta mudras work in a way that can be compared to acupuncture or reflexology. By activating parts of the hand, a hasta mudra opens up channels of energy and sends messages to the brain.

Try the kalesvara mudra above during your daily meditation today. If you are sensitive energetically, you may receive immediate results. But if the benefit doesn’t come quickly, be patient and consistent in your practice. Keep in mind though that while hasta mudras can offer great healing, no mudra is a substitute for medication or medical attention.

Since hasta mudras work to change the energy in the body and spirit, it’s best if you incorporate conscious breathing with your practice. Breathe full and free on the inhale and exhale the breath out completely. Find a rhythm with the breath. Try to make the inhale and exhale the same length.

It also helps to set a positive intention as you form a hasta mudra and concentrate on this intention during the practice.

Mudras can be held for various lengths of time. You may find that today’s mudra may only need to be held for 30 seconds until you feel refreshed or try holding the mudra throughout your meditation. There are no set rules. Let your intuition guide you. Have fun and explore!