Yoga mudras stimulate different brain glands & direct energy flow within the body by just touching fingertips in different patterns. It is 100% authentic, based on scientific research on Mudras (which I have mentioned in this article).
Being a Yoga teacher, In this article, I have explained the secret power of yoga mudras, its effect on human body, practicing guide and different benefits. I have also created an infographic on 9 top effective yoga mudras with easy & accurate steps.
What is Yoga Mudra?
Yoga mudra is the symbolic hand, eyes & body gesture which is based on the principle of Ayurveda to heal and redirects energy in the different organs of the body.
The most popular yoga mudras comprise hands only, also called hand mudras. Each hand mudra is the symbolic representation of a closed circuit of energy patterns in the body.
Mudras, along with being a part of Yoga, are also a part of rituals in different traditions like Hinduism and Buddhism 1. Mudras practices in conjunction with Pranayama and Meditation to redirects the flow of life-force (Prana).
Yoga mudra is a very similar practice like Asana except that most of the mudra comprises the hand pose. Let’s understand…
Asana – The physical Pose
Mudra – The Finger or Hand Pose
Mudra comprises ‘Mud’ means ‘Delight’ & ‘Ra’ means ‘Produce’.
The literal meaning of mudra is ‘seal’, ‘gesture’ or ‘mark’. The ‘gesture’ of hand, face, finger or other body organs that represent some specific energy lies within the body.
Common Yoga Mudras [Infographic]
Research on Yoga Mudras
To detect changes in the energy patterns of the body after practicing the yoga mudra, ‘Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, Karnataka, India’ had conducted research.
This research was based on the EPI technique (Electrophotonic imaging). Through this technique, we can measure the coronal discharge (electron capturing) around a specific surface of the body.
In this research 2, 61 volunteers divided into 2 groups namely ‘control’ & ‘mudra’ group. In Mudra Group, volunteers were said to practice Prana Mudra for 5 minutes. On the other hand, similar instructions were given to the control group to expect that they do not practice Prana Mudra and sit quietly for 5 minutes.
Result of Research
The results of this research were recorded in terms of EPI parameters like Normalized area, Average intensity & Entropy by putting fingers on the glass surface of EPI equipment.
It was seen in the result ‘mudra’ group has an increased effect size for the 3 parameters as compared to the control group. This increase in effect size proved yoga mudra is able to stimulate & redirects energy patterns of the body.
How does Yoga Mudra work?
The working of Yoga Mudra closely related to the 5 elements lies within our body.
5 Elements of universe
There are 3 qualities in the universe which combines to develop 5 elements: Fire, Air, Ether, Earth & Water. Our physical body has the characteristics of the same 5 elements represented by 5 fingers.
- Thumb – Fire or Universal consciousness
- Index finger – Air or Individual consciousness
- Middle finger – Ether or Connection
- Ring finger – Earth or Physical sensation
- Little finger – Water or Flowdity
A balanced state of these 5 elements shows the effective working of body & mind. So, when there is an imbalance in these 5 elements, it can result in a disruption in mind and body to experience the ill effects of diseases.
When thumb (fire element) bought in contact with any of the 4 fingers (other 4 elements), it means these 4 elements have come in a balanced state.
An Analogy to understand Yoga Mudra working
Consider, the human body an electric circuit in which current (energy) is flowing through wires (Nadis/nerves of the body).
These nerves connect the different parts of the electrical circuit (body organs). There are 5 main terminals of this circuit which either begin or end in hands or feet.
When you hold or press a particular finger in yoga mudra, the corresponding energy center or gland stimulates in the brain (Power supplier of the circuit). In this way, the brain receives a signal to alter the energy pattern within the body by regulating the Prana flow.
5 types of Yoga Mudras
There are almost 399 mudras estimated among different religions.
Some mudras may involve Yoga Asana, Pranayama, visualization techniques, body locks or simply hand. While in some mudras, stimulating of Prana redirects subtle energy to 7 major chakras, or sometimes it calms down to concentrate in a meditative posture.
In a nutshell, all the yoga mudras can be categorized into the following 5 types.
1. Kaya (postural) Mudra
Kaya mudras are similar to asana practice when performed in conjunction with simple mudras. It requires intense concentration to hold the body in a particular asana (or pranayama) & mudra.
Example – Manduki Mudra, Pashinee Mudra
2. Mana (Head) Mudra
Head mudras comprise the practice to focus the mind in meditation (mainly in kundalini yoga). These mudras require the involvement of sense organs (eyes, nose, tongue, lips & ears). Head mudras are so powerful that it can snap out us from instinctive habits (which become an obstacle in meditation) even in short periods.
Example – Shambhavi Mudra, Khechari Mudra, Kaki Mudra, Bhoochari Mudra
3. Hast (Hand) Mudra
These are the most common mudras performed using different positioning of thumb, fingers & hand. It works on the characteristics of 5 universal elements.
4. Bandha (Lock) Mudra
5. Adhara (Perineal) mudra
Adhara or Perineal mudra contains the involvement of the pelvic floor area to stimulate the sacral chakra, which in turn harness sexual energy in the body.
Practicing Adhara Mudra helps energy to redirects into the solar channel (Pingala Nadi) of the body.
Example – Vajroli Mudra, Ashwini Mudra, Maha Bheda Mudra
Top 20 Hand Yoga Mudras
Let’s discuss the most common hand mudras used in yogic practice. You can use these mudras during meditation & Pranayama practice to concentrate the mind.
1. Prana Mudra – Gesture of Energy
Prana symbolizes the vital life force which is responsible for maintaining a natural balance in the body. This mudra works to energize this vital life force. It relates to the heart and soul of the person. Click here for Prana Mudra steps (how to do in the right way ), time duration and Prana Mudra benefits.
2. Agni/Surya Mudra – Gesture of Heat
gesture of this mudra assists in discharging of energy locked within the body and regulating its reflexes and flow to the brain. As the name suggests, Surya Mudra is associated with solar energy in the body. Click here for Agni/Surya Mudra steps (how to do in the right way ), time duration and Surya Mudra benefits.
3. Apana Mudra – Gesture of Life Force
We all know that toxins are quite dangerous to the body. When we consume food, some portion of it remains unprocessed and this results in toxins formation. So, the Apna Mudra helps in detoxifying the body. Click here for Apana Mudra steps (how to do in the right way ), time duration and Apana Mudra benefits.
4. Chinmaya Mudra – Gesture of Awareness
Chinmaya Mudra is one of the powerful mudras to cure physical and mental well-being. The Chinmaya Mudra is also known as the Gesture of Awareness.
The use of this yoga mudra is supposed to draw awareness to the body which aids in keeping the mind and body healthy. Through this mudra, the prana energy and the awareness of the breath flow smoothly into the body thus, treating the physical body to stay in balance. Click here for Chinmaya Mudra steps (how to do in the right way), time duration and Chinmaya Mudra benefits.
5. Gyan/Chin Mudra – Gesture of Knowledge
Gyan Mudra is a powerful mudra practiced by yogis for thousands of years that bring calmness along with spiritual development. It is the most common and highly practiced mudra which enhances the level of air in the body.
Known as the “mudra of knowledge,” it implies the most accessible version of the self. So, you can control your life lessons by ease and calm. The other names of Gyan mudra are Chin (consciousness) mudra & Vayu-vardhak (air element booster) mudra. It associates with the planet Jupiter. Click here for Gyan/Chin Mudra steps (how to do in the right way), time duration and Gyan Mudra benefits.
6. Apana Vayu Mudra – Gesture of Purification
Apana is one of 5 Prana Vayus of the body which flows in the downward direction. This mudra is practiced to balance the proportion of Apana Vayu in the body.
This mudra is also called the purification mudra. Apana Vayu Mudra is intended to enhance the function of Apana Vayu and its related organs of elimination. It benefits in increasing the balance of the ether element and earth element within the body. Click here for Apana Vayu Mudra steps (how to do in the right way), time duration and Apana Vayu Mudra benefits.
7. Linga Mudra – Gesture of Shiva
The shape made in this mudra resembles the phallus shape so it is called Linga (Sanskrit term for phallus) mudra.Linga mudra symbolizes the fire element which presents in the thumb. It generates heat in the body and can result in sweating even during winter times if done for an extended period. Click here for Linga Mudra steps (how to do in the right way), time duration and Linga Mudra benefits.
8. Shunya Mudra – Gesture of Void
This mudra is a comfortable yoga posture meant to reduce the akasha – space element in the body. Shunya mudra is also recognized as heaven mudra, and routine practice of it can help to enjoy a level of peace.
The mudra is useful to those with a dominant Vata, which is the governing energy related to the waste removal and nervous system. Click here for Shunya Mudra steps (how to do in the right way), time duration and Shunya Mudra benefits.
9. Adi Mudra – Gesture of Primal
Another meaning of this mudra is ‘energy seal’ because the energy generated through this mudra can be utilized for future activities. This yoga mudra is used to quiet and calm the mind. In physical terms, Adi Mudra helps in healing and balancing the sense organs. Click here for Adi Mudra steps (how to do in the right way), time duration and Adi Mudra benefits.
10. Rudra Mudra
The name Rudra associated with Lord Shiva as it has internal transformative capacities. This hand gesture influences your personal energy core i.e. the solar plexus (Manipura Chakra). It’s supposed to enhance concentration and clarity of thought. This mudra is a powerful means to reduce excessive tension and pain. Click here for Rudra Mudra steps (how to do in the right way), time duration and Rudra Mudra benefits.
11. Varun Mudra – Gesture of Water
Water has a crucial role in the wellness and health of the human body. Varun Mudra is also known as water mudra, so this mudra is helpful in case the water element in the body imbalanced.
Balancing the water percentage in the body can heal the problems associated with indigestion like gas & acidity. Click here for Varun Mudra steps (how to do in the right way), time duration and Varun Mudra benefits.
12. Back Mudra
This hand mudra acts in a manner that assists in stabilizing the energies in the body. It is the finger movement that aims at getting rid of the pain. Back mudra contains the healing properties. It works effectively for someone having a weak back or due to prolonged activities like sitting and cleaning for long. Click here for Back Mudra steps (how to do in the right way), time duration and Back Mudra benefits.
13. Akash Mudra
Akash means space. Space is the most dominant element in our body which makes one broad-minded. It’s important to maintain its optimum amount in the body & for that, Akash mudra is the perfect exercise. This mudra is also known as Shuni mudra, which named because of its quality to make patience. Click here for Akash mudra steps (how to do in the right way) & benefits of Akash mudra.
14. Vayu Mudra
Vayu shows the air around us & within our body. Air element in the body helps in relieving different types of pain like rheumatic arthritis, sciatica, etc and various psychological disorders. With the help of Vayu mudra, 49 types of Vayu present in our body can bring down in balance & thus it cures condition of the excess of gas, bloating, flatulence or other related gastric problems. Click here for Vayu mudra steps, other details & Vayu mudra benefits.
15. Anjali Mudra
Namaste in yoga is the most practiced hand gesture. Traditionally, it’s called the Anjali mudra. This mudra is symbol of showing respectfulness to others. This symbolism also fulfills the definition of the yoga of uniting the individual soul with the divine one. Click here for Anjali mudra steps, different aspects & spiritual benefits of doing Namaste.
16. Abhaya Mudra
Abhaya mudra is a variation of Gyan mudra. It develops the quality of fearlessness in a person. This mudra can be seen in many Buddhist rituals. Buddha himself is showing many times using this hand gesture in protection. Click here for Abhaya mudra steps, importance & benefits.
17. Gyan-Vairyga Mudra
Vairagya means detachment from the mundane world. This mudra looks very similar to the Gyan mudra but it’s a variation of Gyan mudra when we place hands over the middle of the thigh, rather than kneecaps. Gyan vairagya mudra is used before meditation to draw mind inwards & focus mind more easily. You can learn Gyan vairagya mudra steps, ideal time & benefits here.
18. Dhyana Mudra
Dhayana mudra is an ideal form of gesture used during meditation practice. This mudra is helpful in creating a mode of silence in the mind which a prerequisite for successful meditation. Also, in this mudra, all fingers connect altogether thus it unites all the elements of the body. Click here to learn how to Dhyana mudra in the right way, ideal time & benefits of doing dhyana mudra.
19. Shakti Mudra
Shakti is the representation of feminine energy present at the base of our spine, also known as Kundalini shakti. This mudra gives our body strength (shakti) to overcome the physical & mental illness. It brings a state of harmony in 5 elements present in our finger. Click here for Shakti mudra steps, precautions & shakti mudra benefits.
20. Purna Gyan Mudra
Purana means full. Purna Gyan mudra symbolizes the gesture of full yogic knowledge. In this mudra, hands or finger placement are very similar to Gyan mudra, hence it’s called a variation of Gyan mudra. Acquiring this mudra is helpful in gaining full yogic wisdom & mainly used in the Buddhist tradition. Learn how to do correctly Purana Gyan mudra, its benefits here.
Yoga Mudras Practicing Guide
Every single yoga mudra comprises some specific instruction to practice it but some common things we should take care of while or before practicing any yoga mudra.
- Before practicing any yoga mudra (especially hand mudras), completely wash your hands with sanitizer and dry hands-off.
- Most of the mudra practiced while sitting comfortably in Sukhasana, Padmasana, Vajrasana or even you can sit on the chair if not comfortable with Asanas
- Now make the bowl shape with your hands & place them near the navel for a while. It’ll energize hands from energy of Manipura chakra).
- Press fingertips with enough pressure to feel energy flow effectively in yoga mudra but not enough to whiten fingertips
- While you practicing any specific mudra, hold the mudra position for at least 12 breath counts & bring complete focus on breathing.
- Mudra’s working efficiency increases with ‘time to hold’ it. Practice a mudra for a couple of minutes initially and later on expand time up to 15-20 minutes.
Benefits of Yoga Mudras
Mudras are the most simple practice in yoga to approach a healthy & connective body-mind system. Practicing a mudra doesn’t require many efforts like an Asana or Pranayama rather it brings stability in the body-mind system by connecting 2 energy points of the body.
- Practicing several mudras (Prana, Vyana) on a regular basis can improve the vision
- Mudras (Chin) while practicing meditation help you to go deeper in the practice & increases the staying power to remain in it
- Some yoga mudra (Varun) can even reduce the dehydration in the body just by pressing fingertips
- Mudras (Surya, Prana) can treat the common cold by dominating the flow of solar energy over lunar energy
- The practice of mudra (Varun, Apana) betters the skin health & brings glow at the face.
- Mudra stimulates the digestion fire which further increases the appetite & improves the digestion system
- Mudras are beneficial in spiritual awakening. It channelizes kundalini energy to higher chakras
- Surya and Linga mudra work like a magic pill in weight loss.
Yoga Mudras FAQs
- How do Yoga Mudras work?
Mudras work on the principle of five elements by which our physical body is made up of. When in a hand mudra, finger representing a specific element (energy) comes in contact with the thumb, it balances the specific element of that finger by establishing electromagnetic currents within the body. Thus, mudra cures ailment happens by deficiency of a particular element.
- How long does it take for Mudras to work?
If you are really going through some physical ailments & perform Mudras in this condition, it won't take Mudra more than 30 to 45 minutes to show a quick effect. To get rid of chronic disease, do Mudras with breath counts (or pranayama) for 3 to 4 weeks.
- Can we do mudras during periods?
There is no harm in practicing yoga mudras during periods. In fact, some mudra (Apana mudra) helps to regularize the menstrual cycle.
As per the yogic literature, there are two movements of energy within our body, upward movement is refereed as Prana energy & downward is Apana energy. The very simple logic behind practicing mudras during the menstrual cycle is that it's downward flow of energy (Apana movement). By the practice of mudra, periods pain can be eased by regularizing Apana movement.
- Do mudras heal?
Yes, mudras mechanism of healing can be understood by the fact that acupressure points are present on hands. When we join fingers in the different arrangement in a mudra, acupressure points of the respective parts gets stimulated. In this way, mudras open the blockage in the particular nerves of the body by stimulating acupressure points. Hence mudras have the healing effect.
Yoga mudra is a subtle but a vital part of yoga. In hatha yoga, mudras are practiced only after the proficiency in Asana, Pranayama & bandha. Mudra associated with the changing mental and spiritual features of an individual. This change through mudra lets channelize the internal energy by affecting sensory glands, veins & organs of the body.
- Mudras ritual context https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Mudra
- Classification of Electrophotonic Images of Yogic Practice of Mudra through Neural Networks [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5934951/