Yoga practices are the collection of various asanas, kriyas, breathing & meditative techniques, and gestures. Yoga mudras are specific hand gestures generally performed during the dhyana or meditation. Yoga mudras facilitate the flow of energy, that is prana, in the body and the mind. ‘Mudra’ In Sanskrit literally means the hand gestures.
Significance of Yoga Mudras
Mudras are a significant part of Hindu and Buddhist culture, used in rituals and dance forms. There are around 399 mudras in total across various disciplines. These mudras are extensively used in yoga, meditation, and dance to signify a deeper meaning. Yoga mudras are especially performed to enhance the healing process in mindful meditation. The beauty of practicing yoga mudras is that it can be performed before or after eating, there is no hard and fast rule to its practice. You can practice it while talking, walking, or even when lying in the bed.
Based on the principles of Ayurveda, yoga mudras may involve the entire body or could be just simple hand positions. Combined with the yoga breathing exercises or meditative practices, it elevates the flow of prana in the body, speeding up the healing energies and energizing the various parts of the body.
Here are the top 9 most powerful yoga mudras with their health benefits and healing properties-
1) Gyan Mudra
This is the most commonly used yoga mudra in meditation practice. It is also known as the chin mudra. In this mudra, your index finger and thumb come together to form a circle and the other three fingers are stretched outside.
Gyan means knowledge in Sanskrit, so it is known as ‘mudra of knowledge. It sharpens the mind, promotes physical and mental health. It fosters knowledge, concentration, and creativity. It is also known to open up the energy flow in the entire body. It reduces stress and helps in better sleep.
2) Dhyan Mudra
It is a hand gesture that helps the mind to go deep into meditation. It is believed to invoke a sense of calmness- beneficial for sitting in quiet contemplation or meditation.
Bring both the hands together in the lap, keep the back of the right hand resting on the top of the palm of the left hand. Join the tips of both thumbs to form a circle. The right palm represents enlightenment, a state of higher consciousness, while the left palm represents the illusion. Dhyan mudra represents a total balance between all five elements. It keeps you free from blood pressure and heart ailments.
3) Prana Mudra
It is often called the ‘mudra of life’, as prana is the energy of life flow. This mudra involves three fingers- thumb, little finger, and ring finger.
Join the tips of these three fingers together, and point out the other two fingers in a relaxed position and away from the joints. This mudra removes tiredness and helps you to give a boost of energy. It develops stamina, increases immunity, increases self-confidence, relieves mental tension.
4) Shunya Mudra
Shunya mudra is used for the spiritual awakening. It stimulates the Anahata chakra that enlightens you to the hidden sounds of nature. One can enjoy peace and tranquility with the use of its practice.
Fold your middle finger and press it with the help of your thumb, try to keep all other fingers straight pointing outwards. This mudra acts as a panacea, removes earaches, and reduces deafness. It awakens your intuition, improves blood circulation, cures thyroid misfunction, helpful in sore throat.
5) Surya Mudra
This mudra increases the fire element in the body and helps to reduce weight. As it increases the fire elements in the body it is also known as the Agni mudra. It symbolizes health and energy.
Fold your ring finger and press it with your thumb, put the tip of the ring finger at the root of the thumb. Extend the other three fingers and keep them straight in a relaxed position. It lowers cholesterol, prolongs lifespan, controls diabetes, removes bloating, aids digestion, and sharpens the mind.
6) Prithvi Mudra
Earth is considered one of the elements within our body. Prithvi that is earth is represented by the ring finger. It increases the earth element and reduces the Agni element from the body, thereby known as Agni shaamak mudra. It is beneficial for healing and promoting spiritual balance.
Fold the ring finger and join the tip of the ring finger with that of the thumb. Stretch out the other three fingers in a relaxed position. It reduces inflammation, improves body strength, gives glowing skin, reduces hair fall, aids to overcome nasal diseases, controls diabetes, and keeps the ulcers under control.
7) Vayu Mudra
It deals with the air elements in the body. It regulates and controls the air movement in the body which gives you a healthy body in a long run.
Begin with placing the tip of the index finger at the root of the thumb. Now fold the thumb and gently pressurize it on the index finger. Keep the remaining three fingers straight pointing outwards. It relieves constipation and cures Vata dosha. It removes stiffness from muscles and neck, gives relief from chest pain, cold & cough. It relieves arthritic pain.
8) Varuna Mudra
The water element in the body is balanced with this yoga mudra. It prevents inadequate water levels in the body and maintains a good flow of water throughout the body.
Fold your small finger and join the tip of the small finger to that of the thumb. Extend out the rest of the three fingers as much as possible. This yoga mudra hydrates the body, keeps the elasticity of the skin intact, improves blood circulation, relieves constipation, increases nutrient absorption., calms the mind, cures the problem of short urination, oligospermia, and menstrual problems.
9) Apaan Mudra
It is a purifying, cleansing-energy gesture. It improves the functioning of the organs involved in cleansing and toxin removing such as the urinary bladder, colon, etc. It is known as the ‘mudra of digestion’.
Fold the ring finger and the middle finger and join the tips of these to the finger with the tip of the thumb, keep other fingers straight. It relieves indigestion and acidity, regulates menstrual cycles. Detoxifies the body, strengthens pelvic muscles, eases emotional baggage. Removes back, chest pain. It eliminates toothache. Gives you a healthy and strong immune system.