The term Mudra in Sanskrit means “seal” or “closure” and these gestures are mainly used in yoga and meditation to direct the flow of energy within the body. Different areas of the hands are connected while performing mudras which stimulate various parts of the brain to create a specific energy circuit in the body and mind.
Each of our fingers represents the five elements of the universe. The thumb represents fire and universal consciousness; index finger for air and individual consciousness; middle finger for akasha or connection; ring finger for the earth, and the little finger representing water. These five elements must be well-balanced to keep diseases at bay and one way of maintaining it is by practicing mudras. Here are some of the commonly used mudras in Ayurveda you can perform on a daily basis:
Anjali Mudra is considered to be the most familiar mudra where the palms are brought together in front of the heart space. Lightly press your palm against each other while lifting the heart center towards your hands. People practicing yoga begin and end their sessions by articulating the word “Namaste” along with the usage of this mudra, which symbolizes love and honor towards you and the universe. Practicing this mudra helps in connecting the right and left hemispheres of the brain. It also connects the individual’s spirituality and promotes respect for others and oneself. Also, Anjali Mudra acts as a natural remedy to beat stress and anxiety.
Perhaps the most used mudra in yoga, Gyana Mudra or the chin mudra brings a great sense of openness and calmness in meditation. It is done by bringing the tips of your thumb and index finger together, facing upwards, while keeping the other fingers together and lightly stretched. This mudra symbolizes the unity of fire and air and also the unity of universal and individual consciousness. The chin mudra is said to be a gesture of knowledge and enhances concentration and creativity.
Touch your thumb to your little finger and hold the other three fingers straight to practice this mudra. It is performed for attaining mental clarity and can prove to be beneficial when you need to understand intuitive messages from subconscious ones. It also helps in improving the communication of dialogues, both internal and external.
Prana is the vital force within all beings and performing this mudra provides energy and health. It is considered to be one of the most important mudras because of its ability to activate dormant energy in our body. Touch the ring and little fingers to the tip of the thumb and keep the other fingers straight to perform this mudra. Performing this mudra helps in improving eyesight, reduces deficiency of vitamins, tiredness and increases the resistance of the body towards diseases.
Intended to boost solar or fire element in the body, Surya Mudra, when practiced regularly, helps in improving metabolism and digestion. Bend the ring finger to the base of your thumb in such a way that it touches the knuckle of your ring finger. Stretch the other fingers straight without stressing. Practicing Surya mudra proves to be beneficial in reducing the heaviness of the body and wards off colds as it increases core body temperature.
Apana Mudra is ideal for digestion and cleansing of the body. It eliminates waste material and toxins from internal organs of the body and detoxifies the entire system to leave you feeling light and active. To perform this mudra, touch the ring and middle fingers to your thumb while sitting in a relaxed posture. Apana mudra can be performed to overcome conditions like diabetes, constipation, urinary infection, stomach aches, etc.
Performing Vayu Mudra helps in battling diseases relating to air imbalances like gas-related pain, bloating, flatulence and abdominal discomfort. It regulates Vata-related issues and brings air elements back to its previous and proper flow. It is associated with happy and healthy living when practiced for a longer time. Vayu Mudra does wonders for people expecting to lose weight or for those suffering from neck stiffness and chest pains. It builds immunity and protects your body from cold and cough. This mudra might seem similar to Gyana Mudra but here, the thumb is connected to the knuckle or hump of the index finger. Press down on the index finger, depending on your comfort level. Ensure that you do not strain as this mudra aims at relaxing the joints and not stressing it.