Mudra is the hand positions you hold during meditation or during yoga. The prayer position (hands in prayer position in front of your chest) or "namaste" mudra is pretty common in yoga practice. I'm sure you've also seen the meditation mudra where the yogi is in lotus with hands resting on knees, index fingers touching thumbs -- I always think of this as a Buddha mudra! I think it's actually called Gian mudra in kundalini, but I could be mistaken.
The mudras I'm doing are for balance (hands resting in front of me as I sit cross legged, fingertips touching fingertips as if I'm holding an invisible ball); for intuition (prayer pose with thumbs resting against my third eye point); or for abundance (Laxmi mudra....to complicated to explain!). I also do other mudras as needed. We include mudra in our yoga practice at the ashram I study at. I don't know why I'm so drawn to it actually! I guess I find that it really helps me focus and it feels beautiful to perform.
I love mantra too. I sometimes do Sat Nam or Wahe Guru as I breathe. Though it's not easy to do that and count at the same time -- so I'm not using mantra when I do my new breath meditation. I also sometimes practice a breath that includes the manta Jaya Jaya Jaya at the end. It makes me feel very strong when I do it.
LJM -- I know what you mean about trying to practice yoga when your kids are crawling all over you!
My son used to do that all the time. I couldn't even have a regular home practice when he was younger because I could never focus on it! It gets easier though. Now that he's older (almost 6) he lets me have 30 - 45 minutes a day to myself to practice. He sometimes comes and does yoga with me too, which is really cool. He thinks we should open our own yoga studio with him as my assistant! I'm nowhere near that....but I think it's cute that he's dreaming big!
BTW, please feel free to ask about anything that you're not clear on. I absolutely LOVE talking about yoga, meditation, mudra, mantra, kirtan -- anything spiritually related. Also, check out the Goldren Bridge site if you get a chance. There's a lot of information there that can give you a better idea of what we're talking about. And Gurmukh (the owner/teacher at Golden Bridge) is so cool! She is an excellent teacher. I haven't taken any classes with her in person, of course, but I love her book, the web site and her video!
oatmeal -- I'm glad you're doing so well. Maybe there WILL still be moments of cosmic bliss during your meditation. My theory is that it becomes second nature the more we practice it, and that it's supposed to be that way. But keep in mind, we are constantly growing and evolving, so even though it's becoming more comfortable and matter of fact for you now, there will undoubtedly be future moments of bliss as you stretch past your boundaries. I know I'm not saying that very well....I guess I mean that we aren't static beings. We are fluid -- moving and growing, so you're bound to have a variety of experiences as you continue to meditate. And I imagine that cosmic feeling will manifest every time you tap into a new level of understanding or awareness or being.....whatever it should be called.
Blechh! I'm not communicating well at all today! Sorry if I sound like a rambling windbag -- or a know it all! I'm no expert on all of this, just someone on a similar path! I apologize if I go on too much in my posts! Like I said, it's something that's important to me, so I love to talk about it.
Ok, got to go. It's late and I obviously need to get off the computer for awhile!
I'll check in tomorrow --