Hand mudras are symbolic gestures or energy symbols formed with hands and fingers that are performed as a traditional practice, especially in Hinduism and Buddhism. It is practiced in the aspect of achieving a state of physical and mental well-being and establishing a mind body connection, by stimulating and balancing the energy flow in our body.
In yoga, it is commonly used as a practice in conjunction with breathing exercises, meditation practices and in sitting positions like Sukhasana, Padmasana and Vajrasana.
The Concept Behind the Healing Power of Mudras
Almost all cultures (especially Greek, Egyptian, Babylonian, Japanese, Tibetan and Indian) believe in the concept that all matter in our Universe and Nature, including our physical bodies, is comprised of a balanced composition of five elements, namely Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Aether (Akash, Space ). The five elements in our body are represented by our five fingers.
The fingers representing five elements are
Thumb – Fire
Index finger – Air
Middle finger – Ether
Ring finger – Earth
Pinky finger – Water
Practice of hand Mudras using these figers regulates and balances the five elements of our body.
Mudras were used by the Rishis for rituals, relaxation and deep meditation. Below are some of the main mudras which are practiced for better health, peace and happiness.
1. Anjali Mudra
How to form: Hands are held together in prayer fashion directly over the heart/chest to form Anjali mudra.
Anjali mudra is used as a salutation or greeting.
2. Pushan Mudra
How to form: Right hand: Thumb, index finger, and middle finger touch at tips. Ring finger and pinky fingers are fully extended to form Pushan mudra.
Left hand: Thumb, middle finger, and ring finger touch at tips. Index and pinky fingers are fully extended.
3 Apana Mudra
How to form: Tips of thumb, middle and ring finger are joined. Pinky and index fingers are extended.
The Apana mudra has a grounding force to help you connect with the earth’s energies whenever you are feeling off balance or flighty.
4. Hakini Mudra
How to form: Hands and fingers are open and spread apart. Join hands together at the thumbs and fingertips.
The Hakini mudra helps thinking and concentration. Powers the brain.
5. Mantangi Mudra
How to form: Fold both hands together with fingers inter-twined. Extend both middle fingers outward and point them toward the skies.
The Mantangi mudra creates an atmosphere of calmness and serenity. Tames conflicts. This hand gesture resembles the trunk of an elephant.
6. Akash Mudra
How to form: Thumb and middle finger are joined. Index, ring, and pinky fingers are extended.
The Akash Mudra helps to “center” your energies. It nourishes any part of your body that is lacking.
7. Vajra Mudra
How to form: Right-handed fist surrounds left index finger. Remaining fingers of left hand also form a fist below the right hand.
The Vajra mudra transforms ignorance into wisdom. Symbolizes the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and metal.
8. Gyan Mudra
How to form: Thumb and index fingers touch at tips. Middle, ring, and pinky fingers are relaxed, curved slightly.
The Gyan mudra represents the starting place or home. It takes you back to your roots, or a simpler time. Clears the mental facilties.
9. Ushus Mudra
How to form: Females: Interlaced fingers with palms facing upwards. Encircle right thumb between left thumb and index fingers.
Males: Interlaced fingers with palms facing upwards. Right thumb rests on top of left thumb with gentle pressure.
The Ushas mudra gesture helps to spark creativity and enliven sexuality. Good catalyst for new projects.
10. Garuda Mudra
How to form: Place right palm over the top of left hand, spreading fingers apart and crossing thumbs.
The Garuda mudra is used to heighten intuition and enable communication with the spirit world.
11. Vitarka Mudra
How to form: Thumbs and index fingers of both hands join at tips forming circles. Left hand sits upon lap palm facing upwards. Right hand is held at shoulder height with palm facing downwards.
The Vitarka mudra, a symbol of wisdom, is a variation of the Dharmachakra mudra.
12. Prana Mudra
How to form: Thumb, ring, and pinky are touching. Index and middle finger are extended.
The Prana mudra can be used whenever you feel drained or need an extra boost of energy. Good to use in the morning to awaken and fully embrace the new day.
13. Buddha Mudra
How to form: Both palms open. Rest one hand inside the other hand’s open palm. Thumb tips are touching (traditionally, right hand rests on left for men, left on right for women).
The Buddha symbolizes being humble and learning to be grateful. Palms are open to receive gifts.
14. Shunya Mudra
How to form: Lower the middle finger and place finger pad on the fleshy mound area of your thumb, cover it with your thumb. Index, ring and pinky fingers are extended.
The Shunya mudra assists listening and speech. Primarily a remedy for ear afflictions
15. Kubera Mudra:
How to form: Tips of thumb, index, and middle fingers are joined. Ring finger and pinky are folded into the palm.
Kubera mudra is used for creating Health and attaining focus on your goals.
16. Uttarabodhi Mudra
How to form: Index fingers touch one another and are extended, pointing toward the skies. Remaining fingers are crossed and folded down. Thumbs are cross or held next to each other. Clasped hands are held over the head.
Uttarabodhi mudra is a gesture that identifies with a supreme power. Symbolizes perfection.
17. Dharmachakra Mudra
How to form: Thumbs and index fingers are joined. Middle, ring, and pinky fingers are extended in a relaxed fashion. With left palm facing the body and right palm faced outward join thumbs and index fingers of both hands.
Dharmachakra Mudra symbolizes the role of a teacher.
18. Bhutadamar Mudra
How to form: Palms are facing outwards away from the body. Wrists are crossed. Ring fingers are placed down toward the palms.
19. Ahamkara Mudra
How to form: Index finger is bent slightly. Place thumb on the middle of bent index finger. Middle, ring and pink fingers are extended.
Ahamkara mudra can be used when you are feeling “less-than” or fearful.
20. Dhyana Mudra
How to form: Hands form a cup or bowl. Thumbs touch at the tips or comfortably overlapped.
Dhyana mudra is universally used during meditation and relaxed states.
21. Yoni Mudra
How to form: Hands form an almond shape with joined thumbs extended upwards. Fingers are joined at tips extended downwards.
Yoni Mudra is considered as the feminine Adi Shakti Primal Power Mudra.
22. Prithivi Mudra
How to form: Tips of thumb and ring finger are joined. Remaining fingers are extended.
Prithivi Mudra recharges the root chakra and aligning it with earth energies.
23. Kapitthaka Mudra
How to form: Index and middle fingers are held beside each other while extended. Ring and pinky fingers are tucked inside the palm. Thumbs rest on tucked fingers.
Kapitthaka Mudra is said to open the flow of energy to the heart, release emotional toxicity, and promote emotional well-being.
24 . Shankh Mudra
How to form: The left thumb is placed on the center of the right palm. The right hand forms a firm grip around the left thumb. The left hand rests against the right fist. Right thumb touching the left index finger.
Shankh Mudra is commonly used during worship or prayer.
25. Kalesvara Mudra
How to form: Place both palms together pairing thumbs and all fingers at tips. Fold index, ring, and pinky fingers downward. Middle fingers are extended outward. Point thumbs toward your body.
26. Linga Mudra
How to form: Interlace fingers of both hands, extending one thumb upwards, encircle extended thumb with the index finger and thumb of your other hand.
Linga Mudra strengthens the immune system and guardis against colds and cold weather.
27. Mukula Mudra
How to form: All fingers and thumb are joined together, pointed upwards.
28. Surabhi Mudra
How to form: Fingers and thumbs are joined at tips. Thumbs touching each other. Left index finger joins right middle finger. Right index finger joins left middle finger. Left ring finger joins right pinky finger. Right ring finger joins left pinky finger.
Surabhi Mudra Balances the five elements; Air Fire Water Earth and Metal in the body.
29. The Mida-No Jouin Mudra
How to form: Middle, ring, and pinky fingers create a flat or slightly curved bed resting upon the lap. Two circles are formed with index fingers held together while extended upwards meeting the tips of both thumbs
In the Mida-No-Jouin Mudra, the left hand mirrors the right hand representing two worlds: Enlightment and Illusion.
30. Suchi Mudra
How to form: Form a fist, extend index finger pointing up and out away from the body, preferrably arms are extended over the head.
Suchi Mudra tames uncontrolled behaviors such as impatience, temper tantrums, clinging to others, etc.
31. Abhayaprada Mudra
How to form: Hand is held upward with palm facing away from your body.
Abhayaprada Mudra is a protective hand gesture symbolizes strength or being fearless.
32. Varada Mudra
How to form: Fingers and thumb are downwards. Flattened palm facing outwards away from the body
Varada Mudra pose is customarily used whenever a blessing is being offered.
33. Ganesha Mudra
How to form: Palm of your right hands facing your chest. Left hand grasps the right hand forming a locking grasp, tugging firmly.
Ganesha Mudra Symbolizes strength when facing troubles. Eases tension and can be employed whenever you are struggling.
34. Mahasirs Mudra
How to form: Thumb, index and middle fingers are joined at tips. Ring finger is folded into the palm and tucked into the fleshy part of the thumb. Pinky is extended.
Mahasirs Mudra is used to help give relief for head-related afflictions. Headaches, stress, tension, etc.
35. Mushti Mudra
How to form: Hold hand in a fist with thumb placed over the ring finger.
Mushti Mudra is used as an outlet for “letting go” or releasing pent up emotions or energies.
36. Bhudy Mudra
How to form: Pinky and thumb tips are touching. Index, middle, and ring fingers are extended.
Bhudy mudra helps you get in touch with your innermost feelings.
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