You might have seen people making a hand gesture palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest, especially in India. Do you know what this gesture means?
If you belong to India, you might know what this gesture means. This gesture is a commonly used hand gesture in India to offer respectful greeting and salutation. In the native language, it’s known as Namaste, Namaskar, or Pranam but in the yogic tradition, this gesture is used as The Anjali Mudra.
Now, let us explain to you what is The Anjali mudra.
Anjali Mudra: The Salutation Seal
Anjali Mudra is a hand gesture we used to show respectfulness to other persons but in yoga, it’s part of a series of mudras. It’s believed by the use of this mudra, we actually can connect ourselves with the supreme soul or spirituality within.
Generally in a yoga class, we use Anjali mudra at the beginning and end of class. It indicates the following things:
- The union: the union of male and female powers, light and dark within us. Also, it reminds forces are within all of us, hence we are the same.
- This gesture reflects a union of opposites, there are no more differences, but just unity.
Yogis usually chant OM while performing this mudra which is a way to respect the soul within. In the practical world joining both hands over the heart allows you to feel the exchange of energies between hands and heart. This tells about the sate and consciousness of mind.
Anjali mudra is one of the most used gesture, all over the world. It is widely used in the Asia region, especially in India, with different meanings and perspectives. The growth of yoga made it popular in all countries.
Meaning of Anjali Mudra
Anjali mudra is a Sanskrit term, where Anjali means divine offering 1 or salutation and mudra means gesture or seal. therefore, Anjali mudra means The salutation seal.
By means of divine offering, this mudra represents the unification of our soul with the supreme soul. Further, this union neutralizes the negative and positive energies within us.
Different Aspects of Anjali Mudra
Anjali mudra is used in different aspects as per the need of individuals. The following are some simple aspects we use in daily practice.
1. Worshiping Pose
While praying God, we use hand gestures as Anjali mudra to show the divine offering and devotion to God. This indicates that we are surrendering everything in front of God. This is a sign of submission.
Above all, God is the creator and destroyer of the world. This hand gesture shows that we are surrendering him, our soul and mind.
This gesture represent respect and gratitude. In other words, we use this gesture to say thanks and show gratitude to God for everything we have. This reflects respect joy and Bhakti
2. Greeting Pose Namaste
As Anjali mudra is a gesture of salutation, in India this gesture is used to say Namaste (greetings).
Namaste is a combination of two words namah+te. Namah means to bow and te means you. It means ‘I bow to you.‘ 2
In India, we are taught that saying Namaste shows a good manner. It is quite similar to saying hello, with an ingredient of respect. In some parts of India, we wish our elders by bending down and touching their feet, followed by a namaste hand gesture. It shows our respect to elders.
We often use this gesture to say thanks to our parents, teachers, and all elders. We thank them for their blessing and support.
This is an indication of respect and humility. It indicates “I bow the divine soul within me to the divine soul within you.”
3. Requesting Pose
We often use a hand gesture, the same as the Anjali mudra for polite requests. This hand gesture shows respect and politeness.
The reason for this indication is, in this hand gesture, the hands are automatically bound, making it a polite and peaceful indication. Therefore we make such a gesture when we request something politely.
How to Perform Anjali Mudra
Anjali mudra is among the easiest mudras you can perform at home. You just need to join the palms of your hands, fingers facing upwards and thumbs close to your chest. To perform it in a yoga session, you have to follow the following steps.
- Firstly, come in a comfortable yoga asana, such as sukhasana, tadasana and vrkshasana keeping the torso straight and upright.
- Now, bring the palm of both hands together and touch the finger to each other. Make sure, to not apply much pressure in hands, just feel the heat of both hands and maintain the little space between the middle part of your palms.
- Bring your hands towards the chest region such that your thumb touches the middle line of your chest. Keep your elbow straight and parallel to the ground.
- Lastly, close your eyes, breath ‘in and out’ through your nostrils to regulate the flow of prana within you.
- You can also chant OM for a better concentration. Chanting OM will help you to meditate.
You can change the effect of Anjali mudra by changing the position of hands. Let me explain to you how.
- With the same arrangement of hands, shift your hands towards the third eye region (center of forehead). This is the posture of devotion.
- Place your hands above the head, with the same hand posture. This points to the deities.
Can you feel the difference in energy in this variation?
You will feel the energy much focused in the region of forehead, while, at the chest region, energy is more opened and much outward than above the head.
Best Time and Duration To Perform Anjali Mudra
This is a meditative mudra. You can perform it as long as you want. This mudra has no side effects on our body.
This mudra itself is a meditative mudra that requires concentration and focus. You should perform it in the morning time, away from all distractions and disturbances, to get better results.
Benefits of Doing Anjali mudra
Anjali mudra is a meditative practice that comes with a lot of benefits to our body.
- Improves Focus
As Anjali mudra itself is a concentration practice, this increases the stability of the mind. A stable mind gives the power to focus better on a particular thing. This mudra calms our thoughts and clears the brain. It strengthens the mind and makes it stable.
- Connects Left and Right Hemisphere of the Brain
It is believed that the right hand’s palm is connected with the left brain and the left hand’s palm is connected to with right brain. Therefore the joining of both hands connects the brain’s left and right hemisphere.
In addition, this mudra promotes the consciousness of the mind and generates awareness within.
- Helps to Stimulate Anahata Chakra
The connection between our hands and chest region regulates the flow of energies in the chest region. This helps in the stimulation of the Anahata chakra.