In the tradition of Yoga Tattva Mudra Vigyan or Yoga Mudra, mudras are performed along with the practice of asanas, pranayama, concentration, and meditation. Mudras strengthen the connection of internal organs with their corresponding centers in the brain. The correct practice of mudras will help you to restore the correct work of organs, improve health, fill your body with vital energy, and receive other benefits. If you’re asking yourself: “What is mudra?” and want to learn more about it then this article is for you!
What Is Mudra?
“Mudra” can be translated as “seal”, “mark”, or “gesture”.
Mudras are symbolic gestures often practiced with the hands and fingers.
Connecting the fingers in certain combinations, you can activate the meridians and direct energy throughout the body, restore the flow of energy and eliminate “breakdowns” in diseased organs.
Thus, each position of the hands has its own meaning and can benefit us if we learn to use this knowledge correctly.
How Do Mudras Work?
Different positions of the fingers have the ability to close or clear the energy channels. In addition, performing this or that mudra, we affect the biologically active points of the palms and fingers.
There are about 180 different finger positions. Obviously, it is not necessary to know all the mudras in order to start performing Yoga Mudra. It would be enough to start with a couple of basic mudras of your choice.
Mudras are invented for the correct redirection of energy in the body, for the control of prana and for changing the psycho-emotional state. Also, with their help, you can eliminate problems in the body and in the mind by pressing on particular acupuncture points.
Each finger of the hand corresponds to certain energy. And each phalanx of each finger is responsible for a specific part of the body.
The index finger is associated with knowledge, wisdom, and self-confidence. It is connected to our life force.
The middle finger is responsible for patience and the ability to control feelings. This finger is connected to the heart and Anahata chakra.
The ring finger is responsible for health and vitality. This finger is connected to the respiratory and nervous systems.
The pinkie is associated with a creative component of the personality and the ability to see beauty. This finger is responsible for the pelvic organs.
The thumb is responsible for our ego, will, and logic. Also, this finger is associated with wisdom, mind, and awareness.
In addition, each finger is connected with different parts of the body and internal organs. For example, the upper phalanx of the thumb is a “projection” of the head. The ring and middle fingers correspond to the right and left foot, and the pinkie and index fingers correspond to the right and left hand.
By performing mudras with your hands, you definitely stimulate those parts of the body and organs that are directly connected to the energy channels that pass through the palms and fingers.
5 Fingers And 5 Elements
Did you know that each finger is associated with one of the 5 elements?
Thumb represents the Fire element (Agni).
The index finger is associated with the energy of the Air element.
The middle finger is responsible for the Ether.
The ring finger connects us to the energy of the Earth.
The pinkie represents Water.
Thus, by performing mudras, you redistribute the energy in your body. You regulate its flow through the opening and closing of energy channels as you do when practicing Hatha yoga. The only difference is that in Hatha yoga you achieve this effect by taking different body poses whereas in Yoga Mudras you do the same but with your fingers.
The thumb, representing the element of Fire, is considered the main finger in Yoga mudra. With whatever other finger the tip of the thumb comes in contact, it will strengthen the element that this finger or a combination of several fingers represents.
It turns out that if you connect the tips of the thumb and ring finger, the element of Air will increase through the Fire element. This is how Gyan Mudra (Mudra of Knowledge) is created.
When you connect the thumb and the middle finger then you activate the cosmic energy or ether. This is how Aakash mudra is created.
If you connect the pads of the thumb and ring finger you will activate the energy of the Earth. This is how the Prithvi mudra is performed.
The combination of the thumb and the pinkie increases the Water element in our bodies. This is how the Varun mudra is performed.
How To Perform Mudras?
Many mudras are quite simple to perform. Once you have mastered the basics, you can move on to more advanced finger combinations in mudras if you want it.
No special preparations are required to perform the mudras. You just need to take a meditative pose, choose one of the asanas (Sukhasana, Vajrasana or Padmasana) and while you are meditating, you can easily hold the mudra.
If you are not in the mood to meditate in one of the yoga asanas, you can simply relax and sit comfortably and begin to perform the mudra.
You can perform mudras anywhere: when you’re riding in public transportation, when you are listening to music or watching a movie, etc. Mudras have one very attractive factor: whether you are focused on their performance or not, whether you deeply believe in their healing power or not – they will work anyways (regardless of the situation and your mood).
Mudras are recommended to be performed daily. The duration of the practice should be 30-45 minutes so that you can feel its therapeutic effect. For convenience, you can divide this time period into several sessions of 15 minutes.
Usually, mudras are performed with both hands, as this activates the work of both hemispheres of the brain. You not only work to correct the problems that have accumulated in your physical body but also stimulate the work of the mind, which, in turn, has a positive impact on the emotional state.
9 Most Simple And Effective Mudras
Enough theory! Let’s start our mudra practice! Let me share with you 9 most simple yet very effective mudras you can start practice today!
Prana Mudra (Mudra of Life)
This mudra is designed to increase energy, restore energy potential, give strength, inspiration, increase endurance, and even improve vision. Prana mudra provides energy and health. Also, it reduces hunger pangs during fasting and gives you a good night’s sleep.
How to perform:
Touch the tip of the thumb with the ring finger and the pinkie finger together, while keeping the other two fingers straight. Take a regular breath, breathe in and exhale for a few seconds. Perform this mudra for 30-40 minutes daily.
Padma Mudra (Lotus Mudra)
The Lotus Mudra opens the Heart Chakra (Anahata). It is a symbol of purity, light, and beauty emerging from the darkness.
The message of the lotus mudra is to stay connected to your roots, open yourself to the light and realize that the greatest sense of steadiness in life is an open heart.
The Lotus Mudra helps to heal a “broken heart”, strengthens unconditional love for all living beings or for a particular person, opens the heart, helps to attract a soul mate, drains out the misunderstanding, helps to release tension. It is also practiced to enhance the fire element in the body.
How to perform:
Take a cross-legged position. Bring the base of the palms together at the heart center, touching the thumbs and pinky fingers together. Spread the rest of the fingers out like the lotus flower opening toward the sunlight. Close your eyes and take several deep and long breaths.
Apana Mudra is a Cleansing – Energy Gesture. The Sanskrit word “Apana” refers to a cleansing form of subtle energy in our bodies that moves downwards and outwards.
Apana Mudra is especially beneficial to women, helping to regulate the menstrual cycle and easing childbirth.
This mudra strengthens the immune system on all levels, detoxifies the body and balances the elements of space and earth within.
Apana Mudra improves digestion and helps clear the skin. It can help you to feel grounded and process difficult emotions.
Most importantly, it helps to harmonize the flow of Qi.
How to perform:
Take a comfortable seated position, stand or lie down. You can also hold the hand gesture whilst performing a walking meditation. Using both hands bring the tips of your middle and ring fingers to the tip of your thumb, keep your other fingers extended and relaxed. This Mudra can be held for up to 45 minutes a day. the time could be broken down into 15-minute sections. To feel the benefits it would be helpful to hold the position for at least 10 minutes a day.
Gyan Mudra (Mudra of Knowledge)
The Mudra of Knowledge evokes the most expansive version of the self, so you can flow through your life lessons with ease and calm. It stimulates wisdom and knowledge.
This beautiful mudra helps to eliminate stress, sadness, and sorrow. It gives hope and confidence in the future. In addition, Gyan mudra improves concentration and helps those who need to process large amounts of information, memorize and concentrate. This mudra improves memory and attention.
The Gyan Mudra:
- stimulates the Root chakra;
- eases tension and depression;
- calms down;
- brings spiritual openness and ease in meditation;
- boosts the air element;
- stimulates the brain;
- empowers the mind, nervous system and pituitary gland;
- helps enhance concentration;
- prevents insomnia.
How to perform:
Lightly touch the tip of the thumb with the tip of the index finger, keeping the other fingers straight but relaxed. Do this with both the right and left hand and hold for at least a few minutes. In Kundalini Yoga, this mudra is usually practiced with the hands resting on the knees and the elbows straight.
Varun Mudra (Mudra of Water)
This powerful mudra helps to improve kidneys and liver health. It helps to remove excess fluid from the body, accelerates metabolism and improves health. Also, it reduces the dryness of the skin and helps to improve its luster and softness.
The Mudra of Water is known as a seat of mental clarity. It encourages openness and fluid communication and balances the water element in the body.
How to perform:
Sit in a cross-legged position. Slightly touch the tip of the thumb with the little finger, then put some pressure and see the difference. There is no time limit for doing this Mudra and can be done anytime and anywhere.
Mudra of Earth (Prithvi Mudra)
This is the mudra of protection. If you suffer because of the strong pressure of the surrounding world, if events or specific people take away your peace, perform the Prithvi mudra and you will feel that you are under the protection of the natural forces. It helps to relieve stress quickly.
The mudra of Earth can provide emergency assistance in moments of nervous breakdown, hysteria or severe stress. With regular performance, it helps to achieve inner harmony and improve self-esteem.
The Prithvi mudra increases the earth element within the body while decreasing the fire element. The earth element is a vital component of bodily tissues like bones, cartilage, skin, hair, nails, flesh, muscles, tendons, internal organs, etc.
Also, by performing the Mudra of Earth you’re balancing your Root chakra.
How to perform:
The Prithvi Mudra is created by touching the ring finger to the thumb, with the rest of the fingers extended. It is recommended to begin by holding this mudra in 10-minute increments, slowly building up to 45 minutes a day.
Vajra Arrow Mudra
This mudra helps to heal the cardiovascular system. If the body has accumulated too much energy or if the mental tension has reached its peak, perform the Vajra Arrow Mudra. This powerful Mudra can help you to accumulate more energy in your body.
How to perform:
Put your right and left index fingers together. Cross the rest of your fingers. Press your thumbs against your index fingers.
Anjali Mudra (The Mudra of Gratitude)
Anjali Mudra stabilizes the lower chakras and opens the heart chakra.
It is a mudra of devotion and offering, of balance and composure, of returning to the heart. It connotes gratitude for self and others. This is a very peaceful and safe gesture, and you will often see it come out unconsciously. It is often used alongside the word Namaste in salutations.
How to perform:
Taking your two hands in front of your chest, press the palms together. Extend the pressure up through each finger and the thumbs to the very tips. Keep the sides of your fingers touching. There will naturally be a little hollow of space between the centers of your two palms. Relax your shoulders away from your ears.
Bringing the joined hands to your Anahata chakra with the forearms parallel to the floor stretches the wrists and directs your awareness to your heart center.
Perform the Mudra of Gratitude at least 10 minutes a day.
This is a powerful protection Mudra you can use anytime you face toxic people, energy vampires, or people with bad attitudes. Also, if you are an empath, this mudra will protect you from absorbing the negative energy of people around you. In other words, this is the mudra you need to protect your energy. It balances and grounds you while creating a seal against negative energy.
How to perform:
Place the thumb underneath the index and middle fingers, letting the tip of the thumb poke out, and make a fist.
Start by mastering the basic mudras and practicing them in your daily meditations. Then you can pick more advanced ones. Your fingers will eventually get used to new positions, and the daily mudra practice will bring not only positive results to improve your health, but also the quality of your life. Be patient, be consistent, and the rest will follow!
Sometimes our bodies give us clues. If at some point you feel like you want to fold your hands and fingers in a certain way and stay in this position – just let it happen. Observe and accept what will happen during this practice. Your body intuitively knows what you need at the moment!