Yoga Mudras: 7 Mudras To Try Today
If you’ve taken a meditation or yoga class, you may have reached a point where the teacher asked you to position your hands and fingers in specific ways to create mudras. These mudras are made when you are in a meditative posture, and their purpose is to help you draw your energy and reflection inward. They are meant as a means for self-healing and empowerment by directing energy through the body from head to toe.
With nearly four hundred mudras having evolved over time, there is a gesture for almost every function and intent. Some yogis believe that mudras are a powerful alternative for anyone who is physically unable to practice poses due to injury, disability, and so on. Each mudra has a specific purpose for moving the flow of energy - you only have to know which fingers to utilize during your practice.
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How Do Mudras Work?
There are five fingers on the hand, and each of these digits represents one of the five elements. The thumb represents space, the index finger symbolizes air, the middle finger is fire, the ring finger represents water, and the pinky finger symbolizes earth. These elements contain immense energy, and so when you combine these elements together in mudras you are harnessing that power for the well-being of mind, body, and spirit.
It's this great power that allows you to use mudras as a way to manipulate the flow of energy in the body and to connect the brain to the physical and spiritual aspects of the body. There are mudras that can help relieve pain, boost endorphins, alter your mood, increase stamina, improve focus and concentration, and so much more.
The use of mudras helps to stimulate specific portions of the brain and prompt the appropriate response. Some of these effects can be felt almost immediately, while others may take longer to achieve their maximum impact. It could take between a few hours to a few months to feel the changes you are seeking. But if you keep working at it, you will start to experience a difference.
We certainly can't walk you through all of the existing mudras (there are hundreds!), but the following are some of the most commonly practiced that can bring you a wealth of benefits for a range of purposes.
Holding the tip of the index finger to the tip of the thumb with the three other fingers pointed straight, the Gyan is perhaps the most widely recognized of the mudras. It's held during meditation as a way to continue the flow of energy so as to maintain uninterrupted focus and concentration, both of which are essential for maintaining a meditative state. It also helps to increase your willingness to accept knowledge and broaden your mind.
Resting your left hand on the left knee with the palm facing up, hold your fingers extended out. That's all you have to do. Notice the openness that exists in your hand - this reflects the principles of compassion and generosity that this mudra represents. When you are ready to spread good cheer and simple human kindness to your fellow man, the Varada mudra grants you the preparedness for this bounty.
The Buddhi is a good example of how one small adjustment can make a big difference in the benefits and purposes from one mudra to the next. Similar to the Gyan mudra in its method, the Buddhi mudra is performed by touching the tip of your pinky finger to the tip of the thumb while keeping the three other fingers of the hand outstretched in a straight position. The purpose of this mudra is to provide mental clarity which can help to improve your ability to communicate and better understand thoughts and cues from both the conscious and subconscious mind. While the Gyan mudra can bring better focus and concentration for self-reflection, the Buddhi mudra can make you more in tune with your inner thoughts.
If Gyan mudra can make you more focused, Samadhi mudra provides a similar capacity for concentration and clearing the mind of distraction. The Samadhi mudra allows you to find a path through all the mental and emotional clutter keeping you from concentrating on what's important in the here and now. This mudra is performed by resting your hands on your lap, palms open and facing towards the sky. Position your right hand atop the left, keeping the tips of your thumbs in contact. This one is good for all the multi-taskers out there who need a way to cut loose and be present.
Start by touching the tips of the middle finger and thumb together, with the three other fingers held out straight. Performing the Shuni mudra is a good way to awaken the senses, strengthen the natural intuition that we all possess, and make you more attentive. Another benefit of this mudra is the ability to purify your thoughts and emotions.
Prana is the name for the life force that flows through all of us, and every living thing is infused with it. The prana within you and the prana within others is a powerful energy, but one that can lie dormant for too long and cause negative impacts on your mind and body. The Prana mudra is intended to reawaken the prana within, revitalize that energy, and bring you into sync with the energy in those around you. It's a simple mudra to perform; touch the ring and pinky finger to the thumb while your middle and index fingers remain straight.
Positivity is a road to discovery, enlightenment, and self-improvement. But we are human and so negative thoughts and feelings can sometimes invade or interfere with our thought processes. Sometimes we can overcome them, and sometimes we need a little extra help to bring about some positivity, That's what Karana mudra is for. This mudra offers benefits such as calmness and clarity of mind. Bend the tips of the middle and ring fingers of the right hand towards the thumb so they are all touching. Hold the index and pinky outstretched. It's important to then position the hand in this formation before your heart, with the palm facing away from you. Keep the left hand on your lap, palm facing up.
These are just some of the mudras that exist and the benefits they provide, but there are many more that exist and can be used to improve your practice and help you find inner peace. These are powerful tools that must be learned and mastered in order to enjoy their benefits to the fullest. It takes time and patience to understand all that mudras can offer, but start with these methods first and you will be able to channel your body's energy flow to recharge and influence your entire being.
Interested in learning more ways to expand your yoga practice? Visit the Yoga Society Blog.
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