Exactly what are yoga mudras? And what is their purpose?
Mudras are symbolic gestures, typically done with the hands and fingers, that have the energetic properties to back them up and make them powerful. As with anything done by many people over time, the gradual power behind the practice of mudras builds. When you repeat a prayer or chant that’s been said for centuries, you can FEEL that something bigger is at work.
Mudra literally means “seal” or “gesture” and each finger holds a different element and corresponds to varying parts of the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. The elements are universally powerful, and mudras bring this power into the practice. The elements represented are fire, air, akasha(space or sky), earth, and water.
You can heighten your yoga or meditation practice by adding in mudras that may enhance what you’re striving for, or what you’ve set your intention to be for your practice that day.
There are various benefits of the different mudras
- Offer calm
- Be energizing
- Encourage relaxing
- Be invigorating
- Bring contentment
- Offer peace
- Create more self-love
- Extend more confidence
- Ease anxiety, depression, and fear
- Deepen your practice
- Connect you to something greater than yourself
- Bring new life to your practice
Here are my top 3 favorite yoga mudras
Include them in your practice or anytime you wish to invite a particular feeling or intention into your psyche.
- Gyan Mudra – bring the tip of your thumb and pointer finger together, turn your palms up and rest the backs of your hands on your knees or thighs. This mudra is known as the mudra of knowledge but it’s also great for meditation. This is why it’s the most common and recognizable mudra utilized during meditation.
- Mushti Mudra – bring your thumb into your palm and wrap all the other fingers around the thumb creating a fist with the thumb inside. This mudra can help release anger and unexpressed emotions. It may also lower your blood pressure. Try this mudra during your asana practice in chair pose, warrior 3, and tree pose.
- Prana Mudra – bring the tip of your thumb, ring, and pinky together towards the palm. Extend the pointer and middle finger. Turn palm upwards and place on the knee or thigh in meditation. This mudra invites energetic shifts both internally and externally.
As with an asana practice, this yoga practice is totally unique to you. Just because a mudra may make ME feel a certain way, doesn’t mean it will bring you that same feeling. Keep a journal handy so you can write down any observations about what the mudra brought up for you so the next time you need it, you can look back through your notes and return to that specific mudra. Do this for postures, mantras, and chants as well.
Thanks so much for reading. And let us know in the comments which mudra is your favorite and why!