The Purpose of Yoga Mudras

Ancient Seal of Energy

The specific positioning of hands and fingers during the practice of yoga is not an accidental flourish. The symbolic gestures are known as mudras. These spiritual gestures are used in the practice of Hinduism and Buddhism, as an “energetic seal of authenticity.” These postures have been used for centuries to aid in the practice of meditation, yoga and healing. They can involve the fingers, hands, wrists and elbows; and sometimes the shoulders with the entire body. There are hundreds of different types of mudras that are used in a variety of religious and ceremonial settings.

 

Mind-Body Connection

Mudras are used in the practice of yoga together with pranayama, which are breathing exercises. The mudras are usually performed during the seated poses of Padmasana, Sukhasana, or Vajrasana. While performing the mudra, different areas of the body will become engaged in the active yogic breathing. This will have drastic effects on the flow of energy in the body. This will lead to a tangible difference in the person’s mood. The mudras will seal in the energy flows throughout the body with distinct gestures. These flows are then registered by the brain and a reflex is initiated. The patterns created by the simple act of bending, coiling, and touching fingers and hands engages the mind and body into a vital connection.

 

This connection is also outwardly visible through the intention of the mudra. The deliberate shape of fingers and hands in the symbolic gesture allows you to tune into the deepest intent for your practice. There are a variety of mudras; each with the ability to help you manifest specific goals and wishes in your life.

 

How Mudras are accomplished

Begin each mudra session by rubbing your hands together and then holding them at the navel chakra. This enables energy to flow into your hands for the beginning of this seal. During the mudra, feel the force flow through each fingertip on your hands. You must exert energy to maintain pressure where the fingertips touch. However, there must not be so much pressure that you constrict blood flow and whiten the fingertips. Each mudra must be held for at least 3 to 4 minutes to be done effectively. However, they are most effective when they are done over a period of 15 minutes. Therefore, it may be useful to incorporate the mudra into your meditation practice.

 

Common Mudras to Practice

 

Atmanjali Mudra

This mudra is the placing of the palms together in the common “Namaste” greeting ritual. The hands are placed in front of the chest and the palms are touching.

 

Dhyani Mudra

The hands are placed like bowls in the center of your lap. The left hand is placed on top of the right hand with the palms open and facing skyward. The hands are then positioned so that the two thumb tips are touching.