Anjali Mudra is the most commonly used gestures in yoga. You may also know it as Namaste position, or prayer hands. This is a gesture that crosses cultures, and language barriers, as a symbol of respect. It is an everyday greeting in many Asian countries and a gesture of prayer in many spiritual traditions. It is also a symbol of gratitude the world over.
In yoga, Anjali means reverence or offering, and this gesture is therefore made at the beginning, and end of practice, as well as throughout particular sequences.
I have thought A LOT over the years about the roots of yoga, my place in sharing it, about lineage, cultural appropriation, and accessibility. It’s tricky territory, and deserves careful consideration, always.
What I always strive to offer when I share the practices of yoga is both a respect for the roots of where our practices came and evolved from, as well as a clear invitation to those I serve to come home to themselves, and witness that the truest teacher sits within.
There are a lot of elements of traditional practice that I chose not to share. For example, I litter Sanskrit into my teaching only to give English context. I have stripped Om’ing and chanting out of my public classes, and use mudras only if they can enhance a clear energetic theme.
But, the gesture of Anjali Mudra still means a great deal to me, and I feel honoured each and every time I am able to share space with others and offer this gesture. It very truly conveys an offering from my heart, and I hope in that way I will always feel connected to using it.