Lisa H. – Tirisula 200 TT Blog 1 – 12th May 2017
Mudra is a Sanscrit word meaning “identifying symbol or seal”. A yoga Mudra is a symbolic hand gesture which aims to align the energy flows and connect the energy channels of the body; they start electromagnetic currents in the body which aid energetic balance. There are several hundred hand gestures used in practice, each evoking an energetic effect based on the positions of the thumb and fingers.
Each finger has a specific representation and is connected to one of the five elements respectively. Thumb- Supreme soul (Fire); Index finger – Individual Soul (Air); Middle finger- Ego (Ether/intercellular spaces); Ring finger – Illusion (Earth), Pinky – Karma (water). When used in meditation mudras aid in uniting the individual soul with the Supreme soul. When the fingers touch, the Nadi or subtle energy channels connect; when a finger is brought into contact with the thumb, that associated element is brought into balance. Some of the more common hand gestures are described here:
Abhaya-mudra: (No fear gesture). The fingers are held together, palms apart at about shoulder width and facing away from you. The elbows can be bent or outstretched.
Anjali-mudra: (Prayer gesture). The fingers are held together with palms pressed together firmly, fingers are pointing upwards. Depending on the posture, the hands can be placed in front of the chest at the level of the heart; between the eyebrows – the Anja chakra or Third eye chakra or above the head at the Sahasrara Chakra (Crown chakra). In some yoga positions the Anjali mudra is held to the side of the body or behind the body. For example, Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (revolved side angle pose).
Cin-mudra: (Consciousness gesture). The palms are held outwards with the fingers pointing downward, tips of the thumb and fore-fingerer of each hand gently touching to form a circle. The remaining three fingers can be curled slightly or held straight. This mudra helps to remind us of the goal of yoga which is to unify the individual soul with the supreme soul.
Dhyana-mudra: (Meditation gesture). The hands are held on the lap with both palms facing upwards, right hand placed on the left hand, with the fingers of each hand fully outstretched and the tips of the thumbs touching.
Jnana-mudra (aka Gyan-mudra in Hindi): (Knowledge gesture). Lightly touch the tip of the thumb with the tip of the index finger. The other fingers are straight but relaxed. Palms are held up or down facing outward from the body and when seated may be rested on the knees with elbows straight.
Karana-mudra: (Banishing gesture). The hand is held up with the thumb placed over the middle two fingers whilst the index and little fingers point upwards, resembling horns.
Varada-mudra: (Granting a boon/blessing/favour gesture). The palm faces outwards with the arm bent or completely extended.
Yoni-mudra: (Womb/uterus gesture). Place the palms together with the fingers straight and the thumbs pointing upwards. Fold in the pinky, ring and middle fingers so that the backs of the fingers are touching. Hold the tips of thumb and index fingers together. This mudra help to settle the mind, calm the nervous system and help you to feel stable.