Yoga practices are often, if not always, accompanied by specific hand gestures or formations known as Mudras.
As each part of the hand is connected to a certain part of the body or brain, Mudras are used to direct the flow of energy within our bodies. Usually done in conjunction with meditation and pranayama Mudras are powerful tools to heal the body and mind. Different Mudras symbolise different states of mind so for all states of mind there is a corresponding Mudra.
The word Mudra in Sanskrit means ‘seal’. Each Mudra had a specific function and benefits, so understanding them is important. When using a Mudra make sure you exert enough pressure to feel the flow of energy but not enough to white your fingertips.
There are a number of mudras. Here is an overview of some of the common ones.
Gyan Mudra, also known as Chin Mudra or Vaayu Vardhak in Ayurveda, is a powerful Mudra practiced for thousands of years by Yogis to bring peace, calm and spiritual progress.
Practicing this Mudra helps you eliminate negative forces and focus on attaining true knowledge. This Mudra gives rise to the root chakra reducing tension and depression. Every Mudra is related to a planet, Gyan Mudra is related to the planet Jupiter.
It stimulates the air elements of your body purifying the brain and pituitary glands, it empowers the mind and cures many nervous system problems.
Linga is the Sanskrit name for phallus. This Mudra reinforces the fire element in the thumb by increasing body heat.
It helps with colds, asthma, cough, sinus, dried phlegm and sexual disorders in men.
This Mudra should be performed when and if you are suffering from a cold or chills and should be discontinued once you feel better.
Avoid this Mudra if you have a fever.
Are you feeling restless or nervous? Try the Vayu Mudra during your meditation or practice to calm a restless mind.
Vayu means air, thus helping to balance the air within the body. It is said that the fire element resides in the thumb and the air element in the index finger. In this way, the air element is suppressed by the fire of the thumb.
Vayu Mudra heals and treats you against air imbalance diseases such as abdominal discomfort, flatulence and gas, tightens and strengthens your chest, and builds immunity.
In Sanskrit, Apana means downward moving force. Apana Mudra governs the pelvic region of your body.
This Mudra is a great way to detoxify. It smoothens the downward movement in the digestive and reproductive organs of the body. It balances the elements of space and earth within. It eliminates waste, toxins and chemicals in the body and prevents diseases and illnesses especially related to the stomach.
Varun Mudra, also known as Jal Vardhak Mudra, is the Mudra of water. Almost 70 % of our body is made up of water and this Mudra balances the water element in our body.
It combats dehydration by increasing the water content of the body by suitably affecting the water metabolism.
It also helps keep skin moisturised, improves its lustre and softness and also helps cure many skin diseases. It is known as a seat of mental clarity and encourages openness.
SURYA MUDRA AKA MUDRA OF THE SUN
The Surya Mudra helps you manage your body weight and control obesity by regulating the amount of heat in your body. The earth element is the primary factor in the fat that causes obesity.
This Mudra boosts metabolism leading to weight loss by reducing the earth element. It also helps improve eyesight, relieves constipation, indigestion, common cold and other metabolism related problems.
Avoid this Mudra if you are tired or fatigued.
As the name suggests this Mudra channels the vital life force or Prana within us. Through tapping into this energy, this gesture stimulates the root chakra and energises and awakens the body. This Mudras works to heal your entire being from boosting immunity to improving body strength, from improving vision to controlling diabetes. It is also said to build self confidence, reduce anxiety and stabilize the mind. The Mudra can be practiced by anyone at anytime of the day. However, avoid doing this directly after eating.
The Anjali Mudra is a gesture of gratitude and love towards the universe and oneself. Placed at the heart, this Mudra promotes respect of oneself and others and is done at the start and end of a yoga practice.
Bring your hands together in this gesture connects the right and left hemisphere of your brain and promotes the flow of energy to the brain connecting the masculine and feminine energy.
During yoga practice Anjali Mudra is used to help us focus our attention, feel centered, and bring poses into balance. It also helps you enter a meditative state, promoting spirituality