I am still a novice yoga practitioner, but I find the simple poses that I am focusing on have been most beneficial in not only calming my mind but also in ‘unclenching’ my body.
What are Hand Mudra?
I happened upon Hand Mudra as I was wandering through my Facebook feed one day. It interested me because it seemed so simple – a practice that can be performed anytime to aid in healing and wellness. The underlying philosophy is interesting.
The natural sciences of Mudra therapy believe that the five fingers correspond to the five basic elements viz. Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.
- Thumb – The fire (Agni)
- Index finger – The air (Vayu)
- Middle finger – The ether (Aakasha)
- Ring finger – The earth (Prithvi)
- Small finger – The water (Jala)
A mudra is a movement or positioning of the hands through which energy is directed to flow and to connect parts of the body to the brain as life force energy flows through the body. Certain yoga mudras are believed to instigate particular energy flows and stimulate different emotions, spiritual reactions and reactions in the body. By pressing together, curling, touching or pointing different fingers or parts of the hands in different ways, you can stimulate reflexes from the hand to the brain. (International Day of Yoga.org)
Let’s Get Started.
1. Gyan Mudra or the Mudra of Knowledge
Touch the tip of the thumb and the tip of the index or 1st finger together. The other 3 fingers have to be kept straight
This symbolizes the unity of fire and air as well as the unity of universal and individual consciousness.
The Gyana mudra increases concentration, creativity, and is a gesture of knowledge. Keep your palms facing upwards when feeling receptive or rest your palm on your leg when you wish to feel more grounded.
- It helps in meditation and concentration and reduces negativity of the mind.
- It improves memory and with regular practice students can improve grades and intelligence.
- It aids in alleviating headache, insomnia and hypertension and reduces anger.
2. Vayu Mudra or Mudra of Air
In this Mudra, the tip of the index or 1st finger is touched to the base of the thumb and the thumb comes over the finger with a slight pressure of the thumb being exerted. Rest of the fingers remain straight.
Use this mudra to ease all Vayu, air related problems like Arthritis, Gout, Sciatica, Knee pain, and Gas. It especially benefits in neck pain and spinal pain.
3. Shoonya Mudra or The Mudra of Emptiness
The tip of the middle finger is put at the base of the thumb and the thumb comes over the finger with slight pressure of the thumb being exerted on the finger. The other 3 fingers are kept straight.
- Regular practice of this Mudra helps in reducing ear pain.
- The bones become strong and is beneficial in heart disease.
- It strengthens gums and is helpful in throat problems and thyroid disease.
4. Shuni Mudra – The Seal of Patience
Bring the tip of the middle finger and thumb together, uniting the elements of fire and connection. This mudra symbolizes patience and discipline, and helps us generate a feeling of stability. Use this mudra when you feel you need additional strength to follow through with tasks.
A. Provides an increase in patience. It also helps bring feelings of stability and strength.
5. Prithvi Mudra or the Mudra of Earth
In this Mudra, the tips of the thumb and the ring finger are touched together. The other fingers are kept straight.
- Regular practice of this Mudra is helpful in body weakness, thinness and also obesity.
- It improves the functioning of the digestive system and reduces the deficiency of vitamins.
- It gives energy and lustre to the body.
6. Prana Mudra or the Mudra of Life
In this Mudra the tips of the thumb, ring finger and the little finger are touched together while keeping the other 2 fingers straight.
- It awakens the dormant power of prana, gives energy, health. It is beneficial in diseases of the eye and improves eyesight, raises body resistance to disease, reduces deficiency of vitamins, removes tiredness.
- During fasting it reduces hunger pangs and thirst.
- In insomnia, doing this hand posture, along with Gyan Mudra, helps in bringing on sleep.
7. Apan Mudra or the Mudra of Digestion
This mudra is made by joining the tips of the thumb, the middle finger and the ring finger keeping the other fingers straight.
- Toxins are removed from the body and the body becomes pure. It also relieves constipation, piles, diseases caused by vayu or air, is helpful in diabetes, stoppage of urine, kidney defects and dental problems.
- It is beneficial in stomach and heart diseases and brings out perspiration.
8. Surya Mudra or Mudra of the Sun
This Mudra is performed by touching the tip of the ring finger to the base of the thumb and exerting pressure on the finger with the thumb.
- It balances the body, reduces body weight and obesity. It increases body heat and helps in digestion.
- It reduces hypertension and cholesterol and builds strength.
- It is beneficial in diabetes and liver defects.
Note: International Yoga Day.org warns that weak persons should not perform this hand posture and this hand posture should not be performed for a long time in hot weather.
9. Varun Mudra or Mudra of Water
This Mudra is made by touching the tips of the thumb and the little finger.
- It reduces dryness of the skin and improves skin lustre and softness
- It is useful in skin diseases, acne and blood defects. It improves facial beauty
Note: International Yoga Day.org warns persons suffering from Asthma and respiratory problems should do this Mudra for a short time only.
10. Dyhana Mudra:
This mudra provides calming energy for meditation and is used for deep contemplation and reflection. It is the first one that I learned about and is probably the most common mudras used – whether people understand its importance or not. To do this, place your hands on your lap, left palm under, palms facing up, and the tips of the thumbs touching.
11. Anjali Mudra
Bringing the palms together in front of the heart space symbolizes honor and respect toward yourself and toward the universe. This mudra expresses love and gratitude.
My Plan: I am going to incorporate some of these mudras into my daily practice. It will be interesting to see if I derive the benefits as listed above.