When things just seem to fit we call it hand in hand. When our hands are stiff and sore we call it aging or arthritis and unfortunately they go hand in hand! Most of us don’t even think about our hands and all the things they do until the stiffness sets in and our movements are limited.
I heard a question asked about our hand that gives room for thought; if you could have four hands or four feet which would you choose? Most likely it would be your hands. That’s because hands do so very much for us. We can even walk on our hands, but our feet are hard pressed to do the fine movements that happen with our fingers.
As we age the hands begin to drape and develop what are called age spots. These age spots are actually as the result of sun damage. However, it is the accumulation of sun damage which makes it appear that the spots are a byproduct of aging. The hands and finger s hold very little fat so as the collagen begins to break down in our body the hands begin to take on the signs of aging.
Further carpel tunnel and arthritis can make it very difficult to maintain our normal activities. When I look at my hands I think of the diapers I’ve changed, the faces I’ve wiped, the shoe laces I have tied and the life-force experience of touch. What would life be like without touch?
Yoga uses the hands to make mudras or gestures that signify certain states of being. Namaste, the prayer mudra, is a sign of respect. It simply means my soul bows to your soul. It is formed by placing the palms of the hands together, the fingers extended and the thumbs resting against each other.
If you have carpel tunnel or arthritis you can use this pose to stretch the muscles in the hand and straighten the fingers. And if your hands are fine this simple hand exercise can keep them flexible and strong.
Gently press the palm together into the Namaste mudra. Bring the hands in close to your center near your chest. Now take a deep breath and then exhale. Begin to take some deep breathes and as you breathe encourage the fingers to move towards the thumbs while keeping the fingers together. Hold for a few breathes and release. Do this three times. This simple mudra will work to stretch the muscles of your hands and increase circulation while at the same time you’ll be practicing respect and humility. If there is one thing aging teaches you it is to be respectful and humble. Appreciate the movement of your body. Respect it and be humble enough to know that it will change with age. So adjust, keep moving and remember all the things these hands have done for you.
My hands, just like yours are feeling the wear and tear of the years. I see the age spots and the draping. But I remind myself of all the good work these hands have done as I move them into Namaste and bow my soul to meet your soul. Because with aging – we’re all in this together!