Silent Lessons in the Void ◌
When we are working with Ether mudras, the middle finger is concerned.
Funnily enough, the not-giving-a-fuck finger relates to your sense of inner peace, self-expression and creativity. When we don’t take other people’s opinions too personally, we are free to be ourselves and to feel comfortable within our own skin.
Akasha translates very poetically as both space and the emptiness of the void.
It’s a relatively simple and relaxed mudra to hold. And as you can imagine, it is about releasing physical and emotional tension in the body to create more space.
It is intended to assist you with aparigraha. Typically, this has been described as non-possessiveness / non-greediness. If we assess a little deeper, these qualities point toward the idea of ~ giving back ~ This theme of exchange can be found at the very heart of Yoga.
It is fair to say that, overall, Yoga gives us something good. Not only does it give us the chance to cultivate this wonderful, open posture or the chance to stretch and strengthen our muscles, but it gives us something much more; a profound connection with our deeper or higher selves, that begins to transform into an indescribable relationship through dedicated, daily practice.
Some yogis consider aparigraha one of the hardest of the yamas and niyamas (Ten Ethical Principles) to master. It is a path paved with intention.
Intention is a word that gets abused and thrown around these days. The etymology comes from the Latin, “stretching” or “purpose”. We could say the purpose of this mudra is to stretch or reach toward the void. To reach this expansive place of inner stillness, we must let the drag of heavy baggage burn off and declutter the mind.
Bronze sculpture of the Supreme Goddess as the Void, w/ projection-space for Her image, Andhra Pradesh, 19th Century, Ajit Mookerjee Collection of Tantric Art,
National Museum, New Delhi
Akasha Mudra is best done in silence to observe the rise and fall of chattering thoughts, all eventually dissolving into the void.
Come into your choice of seated pose.
Join your middle finger with the tip of your thumb on both of your hands. Remember to keep the extended fingers relaxed but awake.
Place each of the mudras comfortably on the respective thighs or knees with the palms facing upwards.
Close your eyes and hold for however long is needed within your meditation practice.
When we combine Ether element with the element of Fire, we stimulate and increase the sense of space within the body. This leaves us feeling like we have an enhanced capacity to tackle life’s challenges. We become more able to overcome the burdens weighing on us by seeing ourselves in the broader perspective that Akasha Mudra can offer.
But in the spirit of aparigraha, how do we begin to incorporate these teachings when we step off the mat (or meditation cushion) and step out into the physical world?
I like to use this mudra before I kickstart my morning routine. It sets me off on a peaceful trajectory and I notice how much easier it is to see the world beyond words with a clearer mind.
As a result, I have become more understanding and compassionate yet also firmer in my own beliefs, communicating with more conviction. I am able to hold more space for tension and conflicting views and values in the world.
Another excellent use of this mudra includes the moments just before deep-cleaning my apartment or writing a difficult email that I have been putting off for ages. It seems to really help in fighting procrastination. I have also found that Akasha Mudra before a Tarot reading can work wonders.
Finding ways to live Yoga in our day-to-day is our end goal.
If we can honour Yoga and embody its principles by giving back to our communities or carving time to simply be in a Yogic state, then we give back to Yoga itself.
Let this be your practice.