Mud = to delight, Dra = to flow
The Sanskrit word mudra means gesture or attitude. Attitude is something which reflects mind in body, and body in mind.
The palm and fingers are covered with a large number of reflex points that are connected to a specific part of our brain. According to traditional teaching, each of the fingers has a direct connection to one of the five great elements. The thumb relates to fire, the index finger to air, the middle finger is associated with space, the ring finger with the earth and the little finger with water. The palm of the hand relates to the mind. A certain position of the fingers – the mudra regulates the flow of prana in the body. Its task is to close and protect the flow of energy pathways of all five elements and other impulses into our brain. By balancing this energy flow, the treatment of various physical and mental problems can be significantly accelerated and simplified.
Each mudra has a different effect on the body, mind and prana. To keep your body and mind healthy, include mudras as a daily practice.
The mudra may be a whole body position or a simple finger position.
Mudras for well-being:
It is the first hand gesture of the 24 joint-hand mudras (samyukta hasta mudra). Join palms together in front of the chest with the fingers collected and facing upward. Increase the pressure with each finger and thumb. Raising arms above the head in anjali mudra, we express the highest respect for the deities and the universe. Holding the gesture in front of the face, we honor elders, and in front of the chest to show general respect. It is also used to the practice of sacrifice, to teachers, and gurus. At the end of the yoga class we make the deepest bow with this gesture to represent our gratitude, universal connection, and equality.
Anjali mudra helps focus attention, calm, and connect to the central channel.
Chin mudra is a gesture that grants consciousness. The thumb represents universal consciousness and the index finger individual consciousness. Their joining together expresses the union, which means yoga. Join the tips of index fingers with the thumbs, forming a circle. The remaining fingers are relaxed. Hands are placed on the knees with palms facing upward. You open yourself to receive inspiration and energy.
Jnana mudra is the hand mudra expressing the knowledge. It is performed in the same way as chin mudra but the only difference is the palms face downward. In this position you become more grounded.
As the index finger touches the thumb, a circuit is created allowing the energy to travel back to the body and up to the brain. Chin and Jnana mudras are the most commonly used mudras in yoga class. These two mudras give us concentration and control. By touching the thumb and index finger, we become more stabilized and stop shaking during balance asana practices.
Middle and ring fingers touch the tips of the thumbs, the index fingers touch the inside root of the thumbs. The little fingers are straight. Hands rest on the knees with the palms facing upward. This mudra is connected to the heart and improves its vitality. It helps to release repressed emotions.
This “letting go” mudra helps us release any feelings of stress and negativity within us, and get rid of anything our body no longer needs. It is one of the most powerful mudras for awakening energy.
The index fingers touch vertically each other pointing upward, thumbs are crossed and placed in the hollow of other thumb. The rest of the fingers are clasped on the back of hands. This gesture we can use in sitting, kneeling or standing position. I like using it, when practiced virabhadrasana I. or III. Holding this mudra, we concentrate on our exhalation to remove our negative energy. It shouldn’t be held too long, therefore, once negative energy flew away, the positive energy could gradually start going out of the body too. Kshepana mudra promotes detoxification, it stimulates elimination through the large intestine, skin (perspiration) and lungs (exhalation). It also encourages the release of tension in our body and mind.
Place the palms of the hands together with the fingers clasped. Keeping one thumb straight up, surround it with the tips of the thumb and index finger of the other hand. Rest your hands on your lap and hold for 15 minutes at least daily. The Linga mudra decreases the ability not to be affected by colds, coughs, and chest infections. It also helps release phlegm and boost the immune system.