Yoga is not only an exercise but a form of spiritual practice which enhances your mind, body and soul. It is not only about moving, twisting and holding your body postures to obtain a fit body but a lot more than that. It also involves some of the simplest body or body part poses which one can perform while doing meditation, which directs the flow of positive energy into your body.
Mudra means “seal” or “closure” in Sanskrit. These are simple easy to perform hand gestures which are done during meditation or pranayama and stimulates mind body action by drawing energy within the body. Different regions of the hands are connected with regions in the body and the brain. These can also be used for healing certain ailments plus as a preventive measure also. A regular practise of mudras will contribute to your overall well being by creating minute changes in your body using pulse centres on parts of your hands, which trigger certain healing processes within the corresponding body part.
Hasta Mudra (Hand Mudra)
You must know that your health is in your hands! Your hands are blessed with virtues of wellness. The physical body is made up of five elements that are Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Sky. The four fingers and the thumb represent these five major building blocks. By pressing together, curling, touching or pointing different fingers or parts of the hands in different ways, you can stimulate reflexes from the hand to the brain. According to natural sciences, disease is nothing but a limitation that emerges in the continuity and balance of these five elements.
• Thumb – the fire (Agni)
• Index finger – the air (Vayu)
• Middle finger – the ether (Aakasha)
• Ring finger -the earth (Prithvi)
• Little finger- the water ( Jal)
The 11 important Hand Mudras are explained below:
1. Gyan Mudra or the Mudra of Knowledge
Touch the tip of the thumb and the tip of the index finger together and keep the other 3 fingers straight. It’s perfect when you do it early in the mornings with a fresh mind.
• It aids meditation and concentration and reduces the negative energies of the mind.
• It improves memory with regular practice and is very good for students.
• It reduces anxiety, stress, anger and even depression.
• It also cures insomnia.
2. Vayu Mudra or Mudra of Air
In this Mudra, the tip of the index or 1st finger is touched to the base of the thumb and the thumb comes over the finger with a slight pressure of the thumb being exerted. Rest of the fingers remain straight.
• It cures all vayu or air related affections, like Arthritis, Gout, Sciatica, Knee pain, and Gas is relieved.
• It is very beneficial in neck pain and spinal pain.
There is also no compulsion of doing this at an empty stomach. You may also practice this mudra with a full stomach.
3. Shoonya Mudra or the Mudra of Emptiness
The tip of the middle finger is put at the base of the thumb and the thumb comes over the finger with slight pressure of the thumb being exerted on the finger. The other 3 fingers are kept straight.
• It helps in reducing ear pain with regular practice.
• If this Mudra is done for 1 hour daily it can benefit in hardness of hearing.
• It is also very helpful if someone is deaf or mentally challenged. But those who are handicapped inborn won’t benefit from this mudra.
• It strengthens bones, gums.
• It is helpful in throat problems, thyroid disease and heart problems.
After you are cured of these diseases, stop practicing this mudra.
4. Prithvi Mudra or the Mudra of Earth
Touch the tips of the thumb and the ring finger while keeping the other fingers straight.
• It is very helpful in body weakness, thinness and also obesity.
• It improves the functioning of the digestive system and reduces the deficiency of vitamins.
5. Prana Mudra or the Mudra of Life
Touch the tips of the thumb, ring finger and the little finger together while keeping the other 2 fingers straight.
• It awakens the dormant power of prana, gives energy, health. During fasting it reduces hunger pangs and thirst.
• It builds up strong immune system.
• It enhances your eye power and cures any sort of eye diseases.
• It reduces fatigue and tiredness.
There is no specific time to perform this asana. Any time of the day will be suitable.
6. Apan Mudra or the Mudra of Digestion
To perform this join the tips of the thumb, the middle finger and the ring finger keeping the other fingers straight.
• This mudra is greatly beneficial in removing all the toxins from the body and hence purifying the blood.
• It also relieves constipation, piles, diseases caused by vayu or air, is helpful in diabetes, stoppage of urine, kidney defects and dental problems.
• It is beneficial in stomach and heart diseases and brings out perspiration
7. Apan Vayu Mudra or the Mudra of Heart.
It is a combination of Vayu Mudra and Apan Mudra. The tips of the thumbs, the middle finger and the ring finger touch each other while the index finger touches the base of the thumb with a slight pressure. The little finger remains straight.
• It gives the benefit of Apan Mudra and Vayu Mudra.
• It is helpful in Heart and Vayu diseases. It is advised to do on daily basis for people who have a weak heart. It is immensely beneficial for people who have suffered a heart attack in the recent past.
• It removes gas from the stomach, aids in asthma, headache and high blood pressure.
• If it is performed 5 to 7 minutes before climbing stairs, it aids in easy climbing
8. Surya Mudra or Mudra of the Sun
This Mudra is performed by touching the tip o f the ring finger to the base of the thumb and exerting pressure on the finger with the thumb.
• It maintains body balances, reduces body weight and obesity.
• It increases body heat and helps in digestion.
• It reduces hypertension and bad cholesterol and builds strength.
• It is beneficial in diabetes and liver defects.
Weak persons should not perform this hand posture and DO NOT do this hand posture for a long time in hot weather.
9. Varun Mudra or Mudra of Water
This Mudra is made by touching the tips of the thumb and the little finger. It’s a very effective yoga asana for your overall health. There is no specific time to perform this mudra.
While doing it make sure you do not press the tip of the little finger near the nail as it will cause dehydration instead of balancing the water level in yo ur body.
• It is best yogic mudra for your outer beauty. It beautifies your skin by removing all problems.
• It balances the water content in your body. It activates fluid circulation within the body keeping it moisturized always.
• It cures all skin issues like dryness, skin diseases and skin infections. Also prevents the appearance of pimples for a longer time.
• It adds a natural glow that everyone wants.
Persons suffering from Asthma and respiratory problems should do this Mudra for a short duration only.
10. Ling Mudra or the Mudra of Heat
For this mudra clasp all fingers of both hands together keeping your right thumb erect. Put a little pressure and sit relaxed. Practice it for 20-30 minutes every day.
• This mudra increases heat in the body and can cause sweating even in winter if done for a long time.
• It helps in cold, coryza, asthma, cough, sinus problems and low blood pressure.
11. Agni mudra
For this take the second plalanx of your ring finger and press it to the base of your thumb. Keep the rest of the fingers straight.This mudra should be practiced only in sitting position early in the morning with an empty stomach.
But if you are suffering from acidity or indigestion, avoid this mudra.
• It helps to dissolve the extra fat boosting metabolism and controls obesity.
• Quickens digestion.
• Improves body strength.
• Reduces stress and tension.