Introduction to mudras

I have been practicing yoga for a while and I have been putting my hands in different positions on many occasions, however, I never understood what they truly meant.  Hence, I decided to look into it and find out more about Mudras. Here you have the summary of what I have found out:

Mudras help to channel the energy of our body, and thus be able to reach a balance. When Mudras are carried out, energy is able to flow through the nadis or energetic channels of the body where the prana flows, causing us to reach a state of inner peace and serenity.

Mudras are mainly performed by different positions of the fingers, and by joining them, and applying light pressure, it sends a message to the brain through the nerves. This is how we establish connection and harmony between body and mind.

Their key benefits are: stimulating endorphin production, stress relief, better sleep, overall mood enhancement, improves self-esteem and concentration. In order to achieve these benefits, it will be necessary to be consistent with the practice of mudras. It is recommended to practice them every day. Depending on the type of mudra we choose, the duration of this pose ranges from about 5 to 45 minutes, being advisable to stay as long as possible within this range. If 45 minutes is too long and difficult, break it down into blocks of 15 minutes. Also, if possible, we will try to perform them on an empty stomach, to avoid diverting energy to other functions not related to the goal of the mudras.

Mudras can also be done with other parts of the body, other than hands, such as the feet, eyes, and even with some breathing techniques. However, today, let’s focus on the fingers. The fingers of our hands are associated with the different types of energy that act in our body. This energy comes from the five elements (fire, air, ether, earth and water), and are each connected to a chakra.

Thus, depending on the connection of the fingers, we will focus on different mudras.

Each finger corresponds to the following:

– Thumb: relates to the fire element and is associated with the solar chakra. It’s the representation of the person himself. Control our logic and willpower.

– Index Finger: Relates to the air element and the planet Jupiter. It is associated with the heart chakra. It’s the representation of knowledge. Control our mind.

– Heart finger: it relates to the ether element and the planet Saturn. It is associated with the throat chakra. It’s the representation of patience and calm. It’s in charge of controlling the circulation.

– Ring finger: relates to the earth element and the planet Uranus (or to the Sun). It is associated with the root chakra. It is the representation of vital energy and health. It is responsible for controlling the liver, gallbladder, and our vitality in general.

– Little finger: it relates to the water element and the planet Mercury. It is associated with the sacral chakra. It represents our ability to communicate. It is responsible for controlling our sexuality, our personal relationships, and communication with our environment.

When we talk about mudras, we must know that we will be able to perform them actively, or passively:

– Active Mudras: The fingertip should be placed on the fingernail of each finger.

– Passive mudras: these are used on a regular basis. They consist of touching with the fingertips of the other fingers, without touching nails. The pressure to exert on these mudras will be the right one to feel in contact and the flow of energy so that it is not excessive.

There are 399 mudras, each with its meaning.  Here, you have some of the most popular ones. Enjoy! 

 

Gyan mudra: it is the seal of knowledge. It consists of joining the fingertips of the thumb and the index finger, while the rest of the fingers remain extended. 

 

 


Shuni mudra: is the seal of patience. It consists of joining the fingertips of the thumb and the heart finger, keeping the rest of the fingers in extension.

 


 

Ravi mudra: also called the seal of the sun or life. To do this we will have to join the fingertips of the thumb and the ring finger, stretching the rest of the fingers.


 

 Buddhi mudra: it is the hallmark of mental clarity. It is done by joining the fingertip on the thumb with the little finger, stretching the rest of the fingers, as in the previous basic mudras.

 


 

Anjali mudra or Mudra of Prayer: To do this we will extend the back and gather the palms of the hands at the height of our heart chakra. Your fingers should always be pointing upwards. This mudra helps to achieve a feeling of balance and connection between our mind and body.


 

Chin mudra or Gesture of consciousness: Also known as Jnana mudra but with the palms up. It is done by turning the palms of the hands making them stare at the ground, and touching with the tip of the index fingers the tips of the thumb, forming a circle with both fingers. All other fingers should be stretched. This mudra serves to stimulate the root chakra, and offers a feeling of modesty linked to the return to our origins.


Vishnu Mudra It is one of the most complicated hand-held mudras. We’ll have to stretch our hands so that the palm is facing the front. We will bend the index and heart fingers, keeping the ring and little fingers stretched. There may be difficulty keeping the ring outstretched, and a good solution is to make the little one supportive. This mudra serves to activate and balance the root, sacral and solar plexus chakras, in addition to allowing to clean the 7 chakras.

Yoni mudra: One of the most suitable handed mudras to soothe daily stress and to relax. We will do this by joining the fingertips of the thumbs and forefinger of each hand (thumb with thumb, and index with index), keeping the fingers stretched. This will cause a triangle to form between the two hands. The tip of this triangle should be facing downwards, and we will bend the remaining fingers of the hand that have not come into action. The term Yoni, in Sanskrit, means womb or uterus. Thus, this mudra allows us to isolate ourselves from the stress of the outside world as if we were inside a matrix that protects us, offering relief and mental relaxation.

Abhaya mudra: It is a mudra associated with peace and security in oneself, considered the first mudra, in addition to being one of the easiest. It consists of vertically extending our right hand, so that the palm is facing the front. Once in this position, we will tilt the hand back until we feel a slight strain on the wrist. Place your hand at a height somewhat below your chest. In Sanskrit, Abhaya means fearlessness, and represents peace by showing hands without any weapon. It will allow us to achieve a feeling of peace and courage.

Hakini mudra: Associated with strength and spiritual power. Put our hands together in anjali mudra’s position. We’ll extend the elbows out until only the fingertips of both hands remain in contact. Fingers should be pointing upwards at all times, without forcing the position. With this mudra we will get a feeling of concentration and greater control of our thoughts.


Dhyana mudra or meditation mutra: Frequently used to meditate. It is done in a seated position, placing the outside of the right hand on the palm of the left hand. Once we have performed this step, we will place both hands on our lap and make the tips of the thumbs touch. This mudra leads to a very powerful state of concentration, offering calm, tranquility between body and mind