What are mudras?

Many of our students in our yoga teacher trainings across Canada, from Vancouver,  to Hamilton, to Victoria seem unaware of what mudras are and their power to enhance ones own awareness.

Mudras are defined as a “seal” or “closure” in Sanskrit.  They are gestures performed by the hands and are often used in meditation and yogic breathing (pranayama practice) to direct the flow of energy within the body.  

Mudras stimulate different areas of the brain to create a unique energy circuit in the body.  Consequently, specific states of mind are generated.  

Each of the five fingers represent different elements.  The thumb represents fire.  The first finger represents air.  The third finger represents connection.  The ring finger represents earth.  The baby finger represents water.  

Seven Common Mudras

  1. Gyana Mudra:  Here the hands are face up, with thumb and index finger touching.   This is the most used mudra in yoga.  Also known as the chin mudra, this mudra symbolizes the unity of air and fire, and the unity of universal and individual consciousness. Outcomes include increased concentration and creativity.
  2. Shuni Mudra:  Here the hands are face up, with the thumb touching the tip of middle finger. This mudra helps us feel stable and symbolizes discipline and patience. Outcomes include strength and resilience.
  3. Surya Ravi Mudra: Here the hands are face up, with the thumb and ring finger touching.  This mudra brings together the elements of fire and earth, representing energy and health.  Outcomes include balance and positive change.  
  4. Buddhi Mudra:  Here the hands are face up, with the thumb and pinky finger touching.  Outcomes include intuitive communication.  
  5. Prana Mudra: Here the hands are face up, with the thumb, ring, and pinky fingers touching.  Outcomes include activating the energy in the body. Symbolizing the vital energy of prana, this mudra brings energy and strength.  
  6. Dhyana Mudra: Here the palms are face up, with hand over hand (left palm under) and thumb tips touching.  Outcomes include calmness for meditation.  
  7. Anjali Mudra: Here the palms are together at heart center.  This is the second most common mundra, often used in sun salutations.  This mudra symbolizes respect and honor to yourself and the universe, through the expression of love and gratitude.
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