The other day I received an email from a yogini that practices with me from time to time inquiring about Tadaga Mudra. Of course, like most people, me included when I began practicing, I spelled it incorrectly, and the way instructors pronounce it the “g” sounds more like a ”k”. Tadaga Mudra is only one of two madras (seals) in yoga
chakitsa (the primary series of ashtanga vinyasa yoga). Yoga mudra is the other. Here was my response to her inquiry:
Tadaga Mudra is the seal that is done before salamba sarvanghasana (supported shoulder stand.) Tadaga means tank, lake, or pond- Gregor Maehle describes it as “the stillness of a pond after the activity of backbends that is emulated here. The mudra resembles samasthitihi lying on one’s back. Keep all of your main muscle groups engaged and your eyes open. Hold tadaga mudra for ten breaths or until your breath has returned to its normal resting ratio. The breath during the finishing asanas needs to be calm.” There is a strong engagement of uddhyana bundha. You take the calm of the breath, energy of the seal, and uddhyana bundha up into shoulder stand and through the finishing poses……. As far as I know, it has always been part of finishing. All of the Ashtanga instructors that I have practiced with have included it in the practice, and I always teach it in the ashtanga vinyasa tradition.
Mudras are most commonly associated with the various hand and finger positions forming seals. There are entire practices of yoga based on the numerous mudras. In Tantra there are 108 recognized mudras. Mudras are also used in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Dharma, Indian Classical Dance, Kung Fu and various other martial arts. Here are some examples of madras.
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