When I started practicing yoga I simply practiced for the workout. I thought that the various poses and routines online were a great way to gain flexibility and strength. I was never interested in learning about any other parts of yoga. As I get deeper into my practice I realize how much I have to learn about the various aspects of my practice that I have ignored for years. Recently, I’ve become more interested in what mudras mean and how to incorporate them into a daily practice. Keep reading to get a general overview of what mudras are and 5 common mudras you can start using in your practice today!
Mudra means seal or closure in Sanskrit (1). Using these different seals lock and guide the energy flow in the body and the reflexes to the brain (4). Mudras therefore are a great way to shift the energy flow in your body. We can use these gestures to transfer the energy from how we feel to how we want to feel (2), helping ourselves to brighten our mood if we are not having the greatest day. In addition, each of these gestures represents an inner enlightened state (3) in our own body and mind. Using mudras is a great way to spark a certain quality we would like to emphasize throughout the day.
Each finger represents a different element in our bodies. Mudras then combine these different elements to lock and guide the different energies in our bodies. On your hand your thumb represents fire and universal consciousness. The pointer finger represents air and individual consciousness. The middle finger represents akasha, or space. The ring finger represents earth, and finally, the pinky represents water (1).
The first four common mudras I will show you are simply a combination of the 5 elements.
Gyana mudra is the unity of fire and air and also of universal and individual consciousness. This mudra increases concentration, creativity, and is the gesture of knowledge (1). Using this mudra brings an openness and ease to your meditation practice (5). When using this mudra, if you have your palm facing upwards it shows a receptive mind. In contrast, your palm facing down shows a need for grounding in your mind (1).
Shuni mudra is the unity of fire and akasha, or space. This mudra symbolizes patience and discipline (1). Using this mudra encourages patience and the courage to fulfill one’s responsibilities. Shuni mudra also helps turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts (6).
Surya Ravi mudra is the unity of fire and earth. This mudra represents energy and health, and provides a feeling of balance. In addition, Surya Ravi mudra can help bring about positive changes in life (1). Using this mudra gives the yogi energy, positivity, and intuition. Finally, Surya Ravi mudra helps to energize the whole body (6).
Buddhi mudra is the unity of fire and water. This mudra enhances our intuitive communication. Buddhi mudra symbolizes communication and openness (1). Using this mudra helps us make sense of intuitive messages and assists us to gain greater access to our inner knowledge (7).
The last mudra is not simply a combination of elements. Anjali mudra is commonly known as prayer pose. This mudra symbolizes honor and respect towards the self and the universe. In addition, this mudra expresses love and gratitude (1). Using Anjali mudra helps to open the heart, calm and balance the mind, and assists in the reduction of anxiety (9). The posture is seen as a posture of composure and returning to one’s heart (8). Therefore, this pose is often used at the beginning and end of a yoga class. It can also be used during a yoga practice after a series of difficult poses to help bring yourself back to center.
I hope this post inspires you to incorporate more mudras into your practice!
Do you use mudras? What is your favorite one to incorporate into your practice?
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