Mudras, as many of us know, are certain symbolic or ritual hand gestures used in classical dances and so on. In Sanskrit the term mudra means gesture, mark or closure. These hand gestures or mudras are thought to either communicate certain emotions or meanings, or thought to produce specific emotions or positive impacts on the body. Some yoga mudras are practiced by all of us as we perform our yogasans; did you know what these hand gestures indicate or how they benefit the body?
What are yoga mudras?
As a yoga student you probably know the importance of proper positioning of the limbs and proper posture of the body for deriving optimal benefits of yoga. Perhaps you pay a lot of attention to the way you hold your spine, the angle of the arms and legs and so on. The mudras are important too; since they create and complete the flow of certain energies in the body.
It is thought that each of the fingers represent the five elements: fire, air, sky, earth and water and are indicative of proper balance in the body. Since different parts of our hands correspond to specific parts of the brain, the connection between the fingers and palms can produce specific energy circuits in the body. Yoga mudras may help to elevate the mood and also help to alleviate physical ailments.
How yoga mudras can have a positive impact
As a yoga student, you may be performing some common mudras and may not even be aware of the benefits you may be imbibing. Some mudras and their benefits are:
- Probably the most commonly practiced mudra is Gyana Mudra, which requires one to create a circle with the thumb and index finger, while keeping the remaining fingers aligned and stretched out together. The mudra symbolizes unity and is thought to enhance creativity and concentration while reducing stress.
- Buddhi mudra is the touching of the thumb to the little finger to bring together fire and water. This mudra is thought to improve communication and enhance intuition.
- Vayu mudra or air/ wind mudra needs one to fold down the index finger, pressing it down with the thumb while the other fingers are extended outward. It is thought that this balances the air element in the body; helping relieve gas, chest pain and rheumatic ailments.
- Agni mudra or fire mudra needs one to fold down the ring finger and to press it down with the help of the thumb. This could enhance the digestive process, lower cholesterol, boost metabolism and reduce stress.
- Dhyana mudra requires one to cup one hand below the other with the thumb tips touching. It can help with the practice of mediation and helps a person achieve deep reflection and contemplation.
- Prana mudra or the mudra of life is performed by touching the tips of the ring finger and the little finger to the thumb with the index and middle fingers extended outward. It is thought that this mudra, performed with padmasan could help enhance immunity, reduce tiredness and ease eye problems.
If you are a sincere and keen yogi, the right mudras could help take your yoga practice to the next level.