Bringing our hands together in prayer is a universally understood gesture of peace and good intent. Prayer is an occasion to commune with our innermost heart. It abolishes the borders of religion and personalises our connection to Self. In the chamber of our heart we connect to our deepest feelings and give form to what is often yet unrevealed, even to ourselves. Here we have license to create our unique individualised free-form prayer. Praying is an intimate communion with our source.
In Eastern cultures bringing the hands together is not revered only for formal prayer. It is also used as a greeting, to signify humility and as an expression of thanks. Nevertheless this ritual gifts an immediate sense of serenity and sincerity. Typically, the hands are placed over the area of the heart coinciding with our heart energy centre, the Anahata chakra. The energy of the Anahata chakra is affirmative, nurturing, giving, and caring. It relates to the higher human sentiments of compassion, love and forgiveness. This central chakra connects our lower chakras that enable us to survive and function successfully in the world with those chakras above it, which connect us to our highest aspirations and to the Divine.
Our fingers are intensely laden with receptors that give us our incredible ability to physically feel and comprehend what we are sensing. An enormous area of the cerebral cortex of our brain is dedicated to our fingers and hands. Touch receptors in our hands stimulate our brain: the right hand the left factual, analytical hemisphere of our brain and the left hand the right creative, intuitive hemisphere. Bringing our hands together to touch each other switches on both brain hemispheres simultaneously and integrates them so that they function as one whole. This whole brain ‘exercise’ acts as a mudra or seal. It enhances concentration, focuses intention and aids assimilation – the perfect ‘mind-space’ for prayer!
We bring our hands together in earnest prayer when we are in despair, in times of need and when our hearts are full of joy and overflowing with gratitude. Let us pray with focus and pure, clear intent for those less fortunate than us. May we act conscious of the consequences our actions bring. May we give generously, act selflessness and express love and respect to all beings. May we give thanks for our great fortune, our many blessings. Every day is a day for giving thanks. In yoga we also bring our hands together in prayer in recognition of the goodness in each other and as an act of reverence for the Divine inherent in each of us. Namaste