Nyasa is a symbolic gesture of placing the mantra onto one’s body so that the body becomes the seat or temple of the Deity. One of the most potent and meaningful nyasas in Devata yoga is Hrdaya (Anga) Nyasa. This series of gestures with activating mantras is used to connect to your chosen Deity, put aside your daily concerns, open yourself up to cosmic energy, create armor to protect yourself from external negative energies, enable yourself to see more clearly, and drive away negative external influences.
Hrdaya (Anga) Nyasa is performed by touching different parts (anga means “limb”) of your body, starting with your heart (hrdaya means “spiritual heart”).
|Meaning: Recognition of Divinity in our heart, a place of love and devotion
Part of the body: Chest (hrdaye means “spiritual heart”)
Hand gesture: All fingers touch the chest together
Activating mantra: Namaha
Entire mantra: Hrdaye namaha
|Meaning: Dissolution of our materialistic thoughts, gaining sense of inner security that comes from surrender to Higher power
Part of the body: Top of the head (shira)
Hand gesture: Middle part of the palm on top of the head
Activating mantra: Svaha
Entire mantra: Shirasi Svaha
|Meaning: Activation of a place that receives cosmic energy. Request for a Divine deity to descend upon us.
Part of the body: Crown of the head (shikhaa); it represents the Divine
Hand gesture: Touching the crown with extended thumb, all other fingers folded
Activating mantra: Vashat
Entire mantra: Shikhaye Vashat
|Meaning: Creation of a shield (kawacha) around us to block external negative energies, reclaiming our space
Part of the body: Opposite shoulders
Hand gesture: Placing the base of little fingers to opposite shoulders
Activating mantra: Hum
Entire mantra: Kawachaye Hum
|Meaning: Igniting the power of Divine vision, activating the third eye center
Part of the body: Three eyes (netra means “eye”)
Hand gesture: Index finger touches the right eye, ring finger touches the left eye, middle finger touches the third eye.
Activating mantra: Vaushat
Entire mantra: Netraye Vaushat
|Meaning: Driving away external disturbances, burning one’s bondages (astra means “a weapon that’s activated by recitation of a mantra”)
Part of the body: Around the head
Hand gesture: 8 finger snaps (phat) around the head
Activating mantra: Phat
Entire mantra: Astraye Phat
Some traditions use different mudras with this nyasa. This nyasa can also be done by evoking a particular deity; then the name of the deity is repeated with every gesture. Here is an example of dedicating this nyasa to Durga, the Divine Mother.
Nyasas can be used at the beginning of the yoga practice to help set an intention, but they are most potent following asana / pranayama and prior to meditation. You can use these traditional nyasas or come up with your own nyasa-like gestures. Next time we will talk about adding your own symbolic gestures to your practice – tune in!
Subscribe to Blog via Email