Yoga Mudras, how to do it, how do each Yoga mudras benefit us: is what I have put together in this article. It aims at making it simple for you to practice the mudras easily.
The body comprises of Five Elements:
- Fire (Agni)
- Air (Vayu)
- Aether or Space (Akasha)
- Earth (Bhumi)
- Water (Jala)
Yoga mudras practised during Pranayam (Yogic breathing exercises). You sit in any of the three asanas: Padmasana, Sukhasana or Vajrasana Poses while practising Mudras.
Yoga Mudras stimulate various parts of mind and body to affect the way prana flows in our body.
When there is a disbalance in these five elements, that’s when the mind and body become imbalanced and dis-ease start.
What is Mudra?
Mudra is a gesture using the hands and fingers. Ever since the advent of yoga or spiritual practices, mudras are essentially used to help in meditation or healing.
You can perform mudras easily by using your fingers and hands, or a combination of movements along with wrists, elbows and shoulders, or sometimes even the entire body. Mudras are designed specifically to bring about various benefits. They are in sync with breathing to enhance the flow of Prana in our bodies.
Moreover, when you start practising yoga mudras, you develop a connection between the brain and unconscious reflexes in various parts of the body.
If you are interested in practising this interesting manner of yoga. Please go ahead and read further to understand the basic Mudras, their benefits and how to do each of them individually. You could also sign up for an introductory class for 60 minutes or a long series of classes to understand the science of Yoga.
What does each finger represent in Yoga Mudras?
The symbolic meaning of each finger:
- Thumb: Symbolizes Fire
- Index Finger: Represents Air
- Middle Finger: stands for Space or Aether
- Ring Finger: Symbolizes Earth
- Little finger: Represents element of water
I. Gyan Mudra or Chin Mudra (Psychic gesture of Knowledge)
Gyan Mudra (Chin Mudra) is the most commonly used posture while meditating. It energises your body with physical and mental health.
Chin means consciousness, and
Mudra means gesture or seal.
Thus, Gyan mudra could easily be understood as a ‘gesture of consciousness’. Since this Mudra uses the Index finger it stimulates the air element in the body. It is one of the most used mudras in Yoga.
How to do it?
Sit cross-legged on the floor and rest your hands on your knees with the palm facing upwards.
Gently touch the tip of your thumb to the tip of your index finger as if you are holding a thread in between. While doing so – keep the other three fingers open and extended.
Relax all your fingers and both hands at the back of the wrist and palm rest on your thighs and knees – facing upwards.
Benefits of Chin Mudra
The index finger represents individual consciousness, however, the thumb represents universal consciousness. Thumb is your expanded belief of self and Index finger is your limited belief of self. When the thumb and index fingers meet, the expanded Universal self meets the limited self.
- Has a calming effect on the mind
- Raises energy levels and is a mood uplifter
- Brings you to a higher receptive state
- Connects to the higher conscious self
II. Vayu Mudra (Psychic gesture of Air)
The element resides in the thumb and air element in the index finger. Therefore, the air is suppressed by the fire while you perform the Vayu Mudra.
As per Ayurveda, Vata Dosha is because of the air element. If your constitution is of Vata dosha Vayu Mudra will be beneficial for you.
How to do it?
Step1: First, bend your index finger so that the tip of your finger touches the base of your thumb.
Step2: Press your index finger with the thumb as if you are holding it down.
Step3: Keep the other three fingers stretched outwards.
There is no sitting particular position required for this Yoga Mudra. Therefore, it can be practised anywhere at your convenience.
Benefits of Vayu Mudra
- Relieves diseases related to air imbalances such as bloating, gas-related pains or discomfort in the abdomen.
- Vayu Mudra regulates Vata-related ailments – both physical and mental. This mudra brings the air element in its normal flow.
- By regular practice of Vayu Mudra – Vayu diseases like paralysis, knee pains, Parkinsons, sciatica, cervical spondylitis get cured.
III. Shuni Mudra (Mudra for Patience)
Shuni or Shunya Mudra is self-healing and most beneficial of all Yoga Mudras. It balances the mind and body energies as it syncs the energy between Fire (Middle Finger) and Space or Aether (Thumb). It is also called Heaven Mudra. Performing this Mudra will take you to another level of eternal bliss. However, this can only be experienced by yogis or if you practise this mudra consistently for at least 15 minutes daily.
How to do it?
Step1: Sit in a half lotus position comfortably. If possible for best results sit on the floor with a carpet or mat on it.
Step 2: If you close your eyes, it is better. However, it is okay if you are more comfortable with eyes open.
Step 3: Bend your middle finger inwards towards your thumb in a manner that the thumb presses the knuckle of the finger gently(first pic above) Or press the tip of the middle finger with the ball of the thumb (in the second pic).
Step 4: Extend the other three remaining fingers outwards gently without stressing them. Do this with both your hands.
Step 5: While performing Shunya or Shuni Mudra always remember for greater benefits point the middle finger towards the sky that symbolizes heaven.
Step 6: It is recommended that you place the back of your hand on your upper knee or upper thigh to give your hands support.
Benefits of Shuni or Shunya Mudra
- It improves your sensory power – like intuition and also helps you become more alert.
- By practising Shuni Mudra it helps purify your thoughts and emotions.
- The mudra is known for enhancing your concentration and discipline.
- Regular practice of this Yoga Mudra generates a feeling of stability.
IV. Surya Mudra
Surya (Sun or Ravi) Mudra falls under the category of Hasta (hand) Mudras (gestures). It helps eliminate the earth element and enhances the fire element in your body.
Anothe name for Surya Mudra is ‘Agni Vardhak Mudra’ (agni = fire, vardhak= booster) or ‘Prithvi Shamak Mudra’ (prithvi = earth, shamak = sedative).
How to do it?
Step 1: This Mudra can be performed sitting anywhere. However, the best results are when you sit comfortably cross-legged on the floor.
Step 2: Bend the ring finger and press it gently with the thumb as seen in the picture above.
Step 3: Face the palm of your hand upwards.
Step 4: Stretch the rest of the fingers straight as comfortably as you can.
Step 5: Rest the back of your hand on your knee as you sit cross-legged.
Note: You could do the same posture an alternate manner. Bend your ring finger and place the tip on the base of the thumb (see the second pic above). Gently press the knuckle of the ring finger with the thumb.
Benefits of Surya Mudra
You should practise Surya Mudra for 30-45 minutes per day Or 15 minutes thrice a day. Most important – is to be careful to not overdo the mudra – as it creates heat in the body.
1. Surya Mudra helps in weight loss.
2. Improves metabolism.
3. Improves vision and makes the eyes stronger.
4. Helps maintain the body temperature, therefore useful when the body is cold or you are suffering from flu.
V. Varun Mudra
The word Varun comes from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘Water’ in English and ‘Jal’ in Hindi. Varun is the name of a Hindu God of water. Moreover, Varun Mudra is also called ‘Jal vardhak mudra’ where ‘Jal’ means water and ‘vardhak’ means to enhance. Varun Mudra balances the water element in your bodies. Like all other Yoga Mudras, this too has great healing properties and can be done while meditating.
How to do it?
Step 1: Like other hasta (hand) Yoga Mudras you can practise Varun Mudra while sitting, standing or even while walking. Remember, your body has to be always relaxed when you do this.
Step 2: bend the tip of your little most finger and apply gentle pressure on the edge of the thumb.
Step 3: Keep the other three fingers comfortably stretched outwards.
Step 4: If you practise it while sitting and need support – keep the palm facing upwards on your knee or thighs.
Step 5: For better results practise thrice daily for 15 minutes each.
Benefits of Varun Mudra
1. If you have diseases related to less water in the body Varun Mudra is what you need to practise.
2. It helps solve digestive issues like constipation and indigestion.
3. Varun Mudra is best for glowing skin. It helps cure skin diseases like eczema or psoriasis.
4. By practising Varun Mudra regularly you can get rid of dry eyes, mouth, hair or skin. Moreover, it helps bring back the taste in your tongue.
5. For those suffering from blood-related problems, Osteoarthritis, Anemia or disease related to kidneys or bladder should practise Varun Mudra.
Note: In case of issues like water retention, cold or cough – it is advisable to stay away from Varun Mudra.
VI. Apana Mudra ( Mudra for digestion)
Apana Mudra comes under the Hasta Mudra (hand gesture) responsible to purify by detoxifying the body. Some people refer to this Mudra as the ‘energy or cleansing mudra.’
Since Apana Mudra is practised by using the middle, ring finger and thumb it helps balance the earth, space and fire elements within you. Most importantly, it decreases the pitta in the body and enhances the kapha and vatta doshas in the body. As a result, it balances the three doshas prevalent in your body according to Ayurveda.
How to do it?
Similar to other Yoga Mudras – Apana Mudra can also be practised 15 minutes – thrice daily. It is best practised in the morning.
Step 1: Bend your thumb, ring finger and middle finger to make all three touch each other at the tip.
Step 2: Press all three gently in a relaxed state of mind.
Step 3: Make sure the index finger and the little finger are comfortably stretched outwards.
Step 4: Moreover, you can easily practise Apana Mudra by placing the back of your hand on your knees or thighs for support while sitting cross-legged.
Step5: Even if you cannot sit cross-legged – the mudra will still benefit you.
Benefits of Apana Mudra
1. If you practise this mudra regularly it improves digestion and helps in childbirth delay.
2. It helps generate fresh energy in your gallbladder and liver since it balances the three doshas in your body.
3. It takes out the toxins from your body. As a result, releases the chemicals preventing illnesses.
Note: If you have Kapha and Vata it is best to practise this mudra moderately.