Mudras – The Power Of Yoga In Your Hands

Mudrā (मुद्रा) is a Sanskrit term that literally means “seal”, “gesture” or “sign”. In yoga, mudras are often symbolic gestures with hands and fingers that facilitate the flow of energy through the body, helping and thus promoting our meditative practices. Proper positioning of hands is extremely important in meditation: hands should never be neglected or placed casually. Each mudra stimulates different parts of our brain and helps us channel the energy into a certain area of our body.
In this post, I have collected 9 of the most widespread mudra, along with their benefits and instructions on how to properly execute them.

Mudra symbolism and natural elements

Mudras are closely related to the energy of the universe (Chi energy) and their purpose is precisely to channel it into our body to obtain certain benefits.

Almost every mudra is connected with a divinity of the Vedic tradition, which in turn embodies an aspect of energy tied to a quality we want to awaken in us. The mudra (and the divinities associated with them) are related to the five natural elements, energies that in the body are reflected on the psychophysical and spiritual plane, through the nadi, energetic channels that end right in the fingers of our hands. 

Each finger, therefore, represents a connection point with an element and the energy connected to it. By positioning the fingers in a certain way, we are able to control the amount of elemental energy flowing within us and consequently draw on the qualities associated with the element we are invoking.

Here the list of the energies associated with each finger of the hand:

  • Thumb: sun, energy, fire.
  • Index: air, moving energy.
  • Middle: space, expansion, opening.
  • Ring: earth, solidity, rooting.
  • Pinky: water, liquids, mobility.

A little bit of history

Mudra practice as we know it today has his roots in India more than 5000 years ago: we can found traces of it in ancient shamanism and in the Vedic culture, which contemplated the use of hand gestures accompanied by mantras during sacred ceremonies.

Through this ritual, the Brahmins invoked Earth and Sky energy at the same time, which was then channeled to obtain certain benefits, both material and spiritual.

Mudras are also used in some artistic expressions such as Indian dance, where their purpose is also to accompany harmoniously the motions of the body.

9 powerful mudras and them meaning

Gyan Mudra
gyan-mudraHow it’s done: the index finger touches the thumb slightly and the other fingers remain relaxed, never stretched. Seems that this is the Buddha’s favorite mudra during his meditations and is also the most widely used today.
Meaning: this is the mudra of knowledge, where the index finger represents consciousness and its union with the thumb symbolizes the wisdom and expansion of the ego. 
Benefits: this position is used to stimulate creativity and concentration, which persist also after the end of the meditation session. 
Surya Ravi Mudra
surya-ravi-mudraHow it’s done: the ring finger touches gently the thumb and the other fingers remain relaxed. However, it’s important not to put them on the thumb so many advise to keep them slightly raised.
Meaning: this mudra is known as the sign of life, with the thumb and ring union symbolizing balance and good health. The ring finger also reinforces the concepts of persistence and strength. 

Benefits: this position, besides strengthening the muscle tissues, is capable of channeling positive energy that generates optimism and constructive changes. 

Shuni Mudra
shuni-mudraHow it’s done: in this position, the thumb touches the middle finger and the other fingers let go kindly. You can put your hands on your knees to relax your fingers and avoid stiffening them.
Meaning: Shuni Mudra is the mudra that represents patience: the middle finger is indicating the constancy in reaching your goals, while the thumb symbolizes metaphorically nature and divine.
Benefits: this mudra is able to act on our patience, increasing and consolidating it. It helps us to deal better with times of transition and change, but also when we are waiting to see the results of our work or we are waiting for something important and we need to calm down anxiety and negativity. 
Buddhi Mudra 

buddhi-mudraHow it’s done​: the little finger touches the thumb slightly and the other fingers remain relaxed. It may be a bit more difficult than other mudras as it needs more elasticity to maintain its position for a long time. 
Meaning: Buddhi Mudra is the position of mental clarity: the little finger represents communication and it’s union with the thumb symbolizes mental opening. 
Benefits: this mudra helps balance water levels in the body, helping a lot those who suffer from dry mouth or poor tear. It also promotes communication in all forms. 

Apaan Mudra

apaan-mudraHow it’s done: the middle and the ring finger touch the thumb while the index and the little finger remain slightly tense.
Meaning: this mudra represents purification, both in the physical sense (being straightly linked to digestion) and in the spiritual sense. 
Benefits: this position is very helpful in eliminating toxins from the body; it’s particularly suitable for digestive problems and beneficial for the heart and the blood circulation.

Vayu Mudra
vayu-mudraHow it’s done: the index finger is placed under the thumb, to allow the thumb to apply pressure. The remaining three fingers should be kept straight, without too much effort in order to don’t feel any discomfort. 
Meaning: this mudra is associated with the air and everything related to it. Ayurvedic medicine often uses this position to cure body dysfunctions. 
Benefits: this position is a great help for all physical problems related to air stagnation, such as abdominal swelling or flatulence. Even some parkinson’s patients have found benefits in calming the symptoms of them condition. 
Prana Mudra
prana-mudraHow it’s done: the ring and the little finger touch the thumb, while the middle and the index remain tense. It’s mainly used to channel energy to the first chakra.
Meaning: this mudra is also known as the position of life, since it’s able to move vital energies throughout the body. 
Benefits: this mudra is able to infuse energy during and after meditation. It also reinforces the vision and the immune system. 
Hakini Mudra
hakini-mudraHow it’s done: the tips of the fingers of both hands are gently touching, without exerting too much pressure. Thumbs must have a slightly increased pressure.
Meaning: since forever in the Hindu culture this mantra is used to increase concentration and channel the energy towards the sixth chakra.
Benefits: this position helps to connect the two brain hemispheres , improving concentration, creativity and memory. 
Yoni Mudra
yoni-mudraHow it’s done: the thumbs touch each other with moderate pressure, while the two indexes touch each other with the whole first phalanx. The position of the middle fingers can be a bit complicated for beginners, so I hope you wont mind if my example is not perfect; the back of the two middle fingers in fact must touch perfectly. To begin let’s just touch until the second phalanx.
Meaning: the word “Yoni” means “uterus” and represents isolation from the world, similar to the condition we experience in the maternal uterus before birth. 
Benefits: this position helps to calm the nervous system and mitigate stress. It allows to isolate completely for the whole meditative session.

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