Hello fellow Yoga practitioners!
As we acquaint ourselves with Yoga and explore its treasures, let us get acquainted with one more concept of Yoga, the mudras. Mudra is a Sanskrit language word having multiple meanings. The word could mean a hand or facial gesture. Yoga mudras are simple, subtle hand gestures that affect people’s health and well-being.
Ancient Hindu scriptures on religion, Yoga, and Ayurveda state that intangible and subtle energy flows through the body. The energy is known as prana, which powers human health’s physical, mental, and spiritual planes. Our lifestyle, diet, exercise routine, and state of well-being determine the flow of prana through each cell of the human body. Yogic Mudras are an excellent means to stimulate and govern the functions of prana.
Yoga Mudras are crucial in opening and aligning your chakras. (CLICK HERE to know more about chakras)
Let us get to know some Yoga Mudras and their significance in building a healthy mind and body.
Five Impactful Yoga Mudras
Mudras have been an integral part of Indian culture since time immemorial. Mudras have been used extensively during Yoga, dance, and traditional rituals. Some religious scriptures that there are as many as 399 different mudras used since ancient times.
Below are a few simple Yoga mudras that you may include in your daily exercise routine.
1. Gyan Mudra
The Gyan Mudra is widely used in Yoga, meditation practices, and various dance forms. Gyan means knowledge. Monks and sages used the Gyan Mudra to increase their mental concentration, which helped them to focus better and gain more understanding.
How To Perform Gyan Mudra
- Relax your palm, wrist, and fingers.
- Bend your index finger and thumb till their tips touch one another.
- Avoid bending or straightening your other fingers excessively.
- Bear caution to prevent overlapping your index finger and thumb.
Gyan Mudra depicts wisdom, intelligence, and spiritual enlightenment. Ancient Indian dance forms often use the Gyan Mudra to represent different stories, cultures, or traditions.
Benefits Of Gyan Mudra
- Practicing Gyan Mudra regularly enhances mental focus and the power of concentration.
- Gyan Mudra plays a pivotal role in boosting people’s self-confidence.
- The positioning of the thumb and forefinger during Gyan Mudra stimulates the pituitary gland and balances the levels of its hormones.
- Patients with anxiety and depression are likely to benefit immensely from the regular practice of Gyan Mudra.
- Gyan Mudra is known to enhance one’s intelligence and increase their ability to absorb knowledge. Therefore, it contributes significantly to helping people attain their spiritual goals.
- The Gyan Mudra is directly associated with the well-being of the root chakra. Practicing the Mudra is one of the most efficient ways to open the root chakra and align it with the vibrations of the other chakras.
- The Gyan Mudra has profound positive effects on cardiac and neurological functions.
One uses their forefinger and thumb, representing the Air and Fire elements of nature, respectively, while performing the Gyan Mudra. The Mudra symbolizes the union of an individual’s soul with the cosmic Universe.
1. Prithvi Mudra
Prithvi, or Mother Earth, is a symbol of balance and stability. The Prithvi Mudra restores spiritual balance in a person’s life. The mudra significantly contributes to the body’s natural ability to heal and restore physiological balance.
How To Perform Prithvi Mudra
- Seat yourselves comfortably on the floor, in the chair, or on your bed.
- Relax your palm, wrist, and all fingers.
- Bend your ring finger and thumb so that their tips are touching.
- Keep the other three fingers slightly extended to enhance the Prithvi Mudra.
Benefits of Prithvi Mudra
- The Prithvi Mudra controls the Earth element, which makes its role in stimulating healthy hair growth pivotal.
- The Earth element is connected with the musculoskeletal tissue of the human body. Prithvi Mudra stimulates healthy weight gain, boosts physical stamina, and increases one’s energy levels by influencing muscle mass, body fat, and bone growth.
- You may perform Prithvi Mudra to keep your cholesterol levels in check.
- The Prithvi Mudra balances the influence of the Earth element on the skin to make it appear youthful, radiant, and smooth.
- Thyroid functions are directly under the control of the Prithvi Mudra.
- The connection of the Prithvi Mudra and the Earth element makes the former suitable to improve mental stability and make one feel grounded and protected.
- Fitness enthusiasts may partake in the Prithvi Mudra to build a healthier body mass and bone structure.
Ancient Hindu and Buddhist scriptures teach that the five elements of nature, earth, fire, air, water, and space, influence a person’s physiological functions. An imbalance between either of these elements will lead to ill health. The Prithvi Mudra balances the effect of the Earth element on a person’s health and restores a sense of stability and self-confidence.
Yoga teachings and philosophy believe in the presence of a subtle life force that enlivens the human body, mind, and spirit. Yoga scholars refer to this life force as Prana. The Prana Mudra is a Yoga Mudra that stimulates, controls, and nurtures the life force of Prana.
How To Perform Prana Mudra
- Seat yourselves on the floor cross-legged and place your palms on your thighs or knees.
- Relax your wrists and fingers before beginning the Prana Mudra.
- Bring your thumb, ring finger, and little finger closer till their tips touch one another.
- Avoid bending or straightening your other two fingers excessively.
- Avoid pressing the tips of the ring finger, little finger, and thumb very firmly against one another.
Benefits Of Prana Mudra
- The Prana Mudra stimulates the flow of the subtle life force through the body, thereby increasing one’s physical energy levels. Those who yawn excessively throughout the day can benefit from the practice of Prana Mudra.
- By regulating the blood flow, the Prana Mudra effectively reduces increased blood pressure and protects the cardiac system.
- Prana Mudra affects the Earth element and promotes healthy hair growth, thereby restoring thick hair volume.
- When combined with Pranayama exercises, Prana Mudra enhances lung capacity to a great degree. Tuberculosis patients are likely to find relief with the regular practice of Prana Mudra.
- Prana Mudra boosts the immune system and curbs several disorders like infections, allergies, and inflammatory conditions.
The Prana Mudra acts like a breath of fresh air after a particularly tiring day and provides a much-needed energy boost. According to the principles of Ayurveda, the little finger, ring finger, and the thumb represent Jala (water), Prithvi (Earth), and Agni (fire), which are three out of the five elements of nature. Performing the Prana Mudra balances the effect that the elements mentioned above of nature have on a person’s health.
1. Varun Mudra
Varun Mudra influences the effect of the water element on a person’s mind, body, and spirit. The Mudra is powerful and capable of improving several physiological functions. The Varun Mudra influences the natural levels of water in the body, thereby reverting any ill effects caused due to lack of adequate water. The Varun Mudra is also known as Jalvardhak Mudra, meaning the Mudra that enhances water.
How To Perform Varun Mudra
- Sit on the floor, chair, or on the balcony of your apartment in a relaxed position.
- Breathe a few times deeply while relaxing your mind and body.
- Bring the tips of your little finger and thumb closer to one another till they touch.
- Keep your other three fingers straight without bending them backward.
Benefits Of Varun Mudra
- Varun Mudra allows the body to rehydrate by regulating the excretion of water from your body. Constipation, excessive urination, dehydration, and recurrent urine infection may be avoided with the practice of Varun Mudra.
- You can efficiently lower your cholesterol levels by practicing Varun Mudra daily.
- By regulating the water levels in the body, Varun Mudra ensures effective detoxification of all tissues and enhances the antioxidant levels in the blood.
- Your musculoskeletal system will benefit greatly by including Varun Mudra in your daily routine. The Mudra prevents premature wear and tear of the joints, thereby preventing the early onset of arthritis.
- Most people experience dryness of the eyes due to recurrent exposure to laptops, television, or iPad screens. Varun Mudra takes care of dry eyes by moisturizing and lubricating the corneal surface.
- Your skin develops a healthy, youthful, and radiant glow if you practice Varun Mudra regularly.
The Varun Mudra significantly improves the functions of the digestive tract, kidneys, reproductive system, and skin. Performing the Varun Mudra with both hands balances and stabilizes one’s physical health.
1. Shoonya Mudra
The word Shoonya stands for the numerical figure zero; it may also imply nothingness or a void. True to its name, the Shoonya Mudra helps to create emptiness by reducing the effect of the Space element on human health. Therefore, the Shoonya Mudra is also known as the Akash Shamak Mudra, which means the ‘Mudra which reduces space .’ Space is one of the five elements of nature and is present in every hollow of every cell of the human body. The Shoonya Mudra stimulates the space element’s balance and heals various functional disorders.
How To Perform Shoonya Mudra
- Sit on the floor cross-legged or in any position that you find comfortable.
- Rest your palms on your thighs or knees.
- Breathe a few times deeply and close your eyes before beginning the Shoonya Mudra.
- Bend your middle finger till its tip rests on the base of the thumb.
- Now fold your thumb inwards and rest it at the center of the middle finger.
- Allow the remaining fingers to relax by keeping them in a neutral position.
Benefits Of Shoonya Mudra
- The Shoonya Mudra helps to overcome the ear conditions such as tinnitus, infections, loss of hearing, and eardrum dysfunction.
- Patients suffering from chronic vertigo are likely to benefit from the regular practice of Shoonya Mudra.
- You may be able to curb your motion sickness effectively with the help of Shoonya Mudra.
- The position of your middle finger and thumb during Shoonya Mudra stimulates the nerve endings which control cardiac functions. Thus, Shoonya Mudra helps to curb blood pressure disorders and disorders developing due to disturbed cardiac rhythm.
- Yogic teachings give due importance to spiritual enlightenment. Meditation is pivotal to spiritual progress; one can master it after years of practice. It is believed that the Shoonya Mudra invokes Anahata, a mystical sound that one may hear as they begin their spiritual progression. Anahata is an indication that your chakras and prana are undergoing purification.
Several other Mudras affect the elements of nature and have numerous health benefits. The Mudras also play a pivotal role in opening and aligning the chakras.
Important Information About Yoga Mudras
Ancient Yogic literature mentions hundreds of Mudras and elaborates on their benefits. Each Mudra affects different aspects of human health and enhances one’s wellbeing. You may follow the tips below to get the best results while practicing Mudras.
- Yoga scholars of the olden era believed that Yoga Mudras are the most beneficial if one practices them between 4.00 to 6.00 in the morning. However, this is not compulsory, and you may practice the Mudras at any time of the day or night.
- Always practice the Yoga Mudras with both hands at the same time.
- You may perform specific Yoga Mudras on a full stomach, but some Yoga Mudras are most effective when practiced on an empty stomach. Learn about Yoga Mudras from a certified Yoga trainer before you practice them independently.
- Spending a minimum of 15-20 minutes practicing one Mudra is advisable.
- It is preferable to sit cross-legged, with your eyes closed, while practicing Mudras. However, you may also position your fingers into various Mudras during bedtime, traveling, or taking your morning or evening walk.
- Mudras cannot substitute mainstream medical or surgical treatment for existing health conditions.
- Pregnant ladies are advised to consult with their doctor and a certified Yoga trainer to ensure that they can safely practice Mudras.
In the bygone era, monks meditated in various Yoga Mudras for spiritual progress. Religious teachings of Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism strongly believe in the powers of Mudras. Several Yoga Mudras activate dormant energies that invoke spiritual powers within a person. Mudras are accredited for being a catalyst in achieving the one true goal; the union of an individual soul with the forces of the cosmic Universe. Sages and hermits with excellent spiritual knowledge often sat meditating in a Yoga Mudra for months or even years before they attained spiritual enlightenment.
Fast forward to the present, and the powers of Mudras are as relevant as they were centuries ago. Mudras help strike a balance between the mental, spiritual, and physical planes of well-being, thus allowing people to be happy and healthy.