Depictions of ninjas in movies and manga often include similar characteristics of the covert agents: clad head to toe in black, stealthy, and wielding shuriken and short daggers. They're also known as standing in an iconic pose, hands clasped together in front of the chest bearing one of various symbolic hand signs of the ninjas. But as it turns out, these hand signs aren't simply symbolic; they have actually been scientifically proven to reduce stress and calm the mind.

On a visit to The NINJA - who were they? exhibition held earlier this year, Japanese Twitter user ‏@kuukai226 discovered a panel revealing the positive effects that maintaining a ninja pose has, proving that there is much more to the iconic hand signs than meets the eye.


Source: @kuukai226

The experiments consisted of first measuring a person's brain waves and heartbeat. The individuals were then asked to maintain a ninja pose for 15 seconds, after which their brain waves and heartbeat were measured again. Results showed that from just 15 seconds of holding a pose, participants had an increase of focus, lowered irritability and anxiety, and even a decrease in drowsiness, compared with participants who did not make ninja poses. Brain waves were measured to prove that the mind was relaxed and calm, and hence that the poses served as quick meditative actions in addition to having symbolic meanings.

Now that we know the positive effects these poses have for our mental state, you might consider learning the Kuji-in, a series of nine syllabic mantras learned by the ninjas, to get the full effect!

By - grape Japan editorial staff.