The fourth chakra, the heart chakra, is said to be where the the lower (earth-bound) regions of the body rise up to meet the upper (heavenly) aspects of the self. The spot for love and compassion, the 4th mudra askes us to sprout out of our muddy base to reveal the magnificent flower of our true self.
The lotus has special significance for me. As a child my cousin Dorothy had a lovely swimming pool with a lotus/koi pond adjacent to it. After swimming I would plop down on the hot cement (there is nothing like the smell of wet cement on a summer day in Southern California.) I would eat oreo cookies and watch the bugs and turtles and koi pop up and down in the water until I fell asleep or got so hot I’d have to dive back in. Exotic and self sufficient, these lotus seemed to form pink buds out of nothing. The koi would swim lazily about sinking under the mud into an underground tunnel that would pop up under Dorothy’s staircase in her living room. What a lovely memory with which to practice Matsyendrasana–Lord of the Fishes pose.
Gertrud Hirschi suggests the lotus mudra we will practice should be done whenever you feel drained, exploited, misunderstood, or lonely.