Fingers on the pulse

Updated: 2008-05-07 17:09

Tracing the origins of finger yoga is a bit like the Da Vinci Code. The earliest known reference is a Sanskrit verse in the 5,000-year-old Bhagavad Gita. Here follow countless signs across diverse civilizations and religions-Buddha in lotus position with thumb and forefinger joined; Egyptian mummies embalmed with forearms crossed over the breast; the Pope signaling to the masses with two fingers raised-all, apparently, hinting at the extraordinary powers of certain finger postures.

Vijay K Bansal, a proponent of Mudra Vigyan (the science of finger and hand postures), says that there are thousands of such finger postures, or mudras, most of which have been suppressed over the centuries because their practice can give individuals miraculous powers. The former scientist, who "doesn't take any hocus-pocus", has delved specifically into the therapeutic aspects of finger yoga and is sharing these secrets with the aim of ridding us "of our modern-day dependence on pharmaceuticals".

And indeed, neural science explains that by folding the fingers in different postures and holding them for specific periods, natural tension is applied on the requisite nerves to provide curative effects for various ailments. This tension is different according to each individual's needs; nature ensures this by making everyone's fingers as distinct as fingerprints.

By practicing finger yoga, virtually everything from indigestion to indecisiveness to insomnia can be relieved without medication, and Bansal claims to have had high success rates with so-called incurable ailments such as asthma, migraines and arthritis too. The effects can sometimes be felt within minutes, while long-term practice can bring about permanent changes in mental, emotional and physical disposition.

Basnal lectures around the world but, luckily for us, has made a long stopover in Shanghai to visit his daughter who runs a feng shui practice here. If you haven't heard the sprightly 66-year-old yet, you still have one month before he returns to India. Join the workshops from 10am-midday each Tuesday (April 1, 8, 15, 22), or contact him for personal consultations at / 138 1696 9582.

You can even try finger yoga out for yourself-the posture pictured above is called the Gyan Mudra and can relieve stress, insomnia and emotional instability. Sit in full or half lotus position and adopt the finger posture, touching the tips of the thumb and the forefinger on each hand. Keep your arms straight, but relaxed, and resting on the knees, breathe deeply and rhythmically, and feel the stress slipping away.


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