Mudra is a Sanskrit word which means ‘to lock’ or ‘to seal’. The word ‘mudra’ signifies hand gestures, or even symbols. Mudras are an integral part of a yoga practice in that they enable you to control the flow of prana, or the life force, thereby making you more energetic and full of vitality. In addition to this mudras help you lock energy inside your body so that you can utilize it, rather than letting it dissipate.
The fingers of the hands represent the different elements of the earth. Taken together these 5 elements are called the panch tattvas. These are:
Thumb – Agni (Fire)
Index Finger – Vayu (Air)
Middle Finger – Akash (Space)
Ring Finger – Prithvi (Earth)
Little Finger – Jal (Water)
It is believed that by bringing together the fingers of the hand you call upon the energy of the elements that those fingers represent, and these energies can heal your body, mind and soul.
Always make sure that you don’t apply too much pressure and always keep your hands relaxed when practicing the mudras.
Mudras can be done while you’re seated, standing or even lying down. Your body and mind should feel relaxed and centred.
There is no specific time to practice mudras. Whatever time you choose, you need to be able to relax and withdraw into yourself. This can be before or after eating, as soon as you wake up, or right before you go to sleep.
Always plan your mudras depending on what you need. Practice one or two mudras consistently for a few weeks. Monitor the effects of these mudras on your body. You will see that as things change in your body, you will see a corresponding change in your life as well.
A Few Mudras
Use this mudra during your mediation practice. This mudra helps in relaxing the body and focusing the mind to meditate. It also works to release stress. Do this mudra if you suffer from insomnia, depression and even high blood pressure.
Bring your thumb, middle finger and ring finger together. Extend the remaining two fingers out. This mudra has a direct effect on the gall bladder and liver, and so helps in removing toxins and waste from your body and mind. Also, patience, confidence, balance and harmony increases through the use of this mudra. It’s also great to increase your digestive fire. It has also shown positive results in treating diabetes.
Because the middle finger represents the sky or space, this mudra helps with imbalance in terms of space in the body. An imbalance creates problems in the joints, in the heart and also in the ears. This mudra also strengthens the bones and helps with issues like vertigo and balance. It will also help with issues related to blood pressure.
This mudra is used in the anulom-vilom pranayam (alternate nostril pranayam). It is important to fold in the index and middle fingers because this stimulates specific nadis in your system, and this adds value to your pranayam practice.
This mudra helps in balancing and healing the sense organs. It also stabilizes and calms down the nervous system. The oxygen flow to the lungs, throat and head area increases with the use of this mudra.
The yogic variation of the modern peace/victory sign. This mudra helps in increasing the prana in your body. Increased prana means increased vitality and energy and therefore this helps with all types of diseases. This also increases immunity and the power of eyes. And refreshes your entire system.
Regular practice of mudras will make you feel relaxed, refreshed, rejuvenated and flexible. You will also start to feel younger.