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What Is a Mudra? 7 Common Yoga Mudras for Your Practice

If you’ve been to a class at Prana Yoga & Wellness, you’ve probably already heard our teachers instruct one of the many hand mudras during your practice. 

You bring your fingers into the position instructed and perhaps even feel an instant energy change in your body, but what do these little hand gestures mean, and why are they so powerful?

With over 399 mudras, knowing every yoga mudra is a life-long mission. Lucky for you, we’ve broken down 7 of the most common mudras for you to use in your practice. 

Ready to discover the true magic of our favourite hand mudras? Follow along to take your meditation, yoga, and daily practice to the next level with these simple gestures.

What Is a Mudra?

Mudra in Sanskrit translates roughly to ‘seal’ or ‘closure’. These seals are symbolic hand gestures that create an energetic flow between our pranic force and universal cosmic energy. 

By using our hands and fingers to form different shapes and unite energetic fields, we can experience amazing health and wellness benefits. In fact, the mudras can even be used daily as a preventative practice.

Each hand position influences our physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies. These gestures are used extensively in yoga and meditation but actually originate from ancient Hindu and Buddhist rituals.

Gyan Mudra

Gyan Mudra, also commonly called Chin Mudra is the gesture of knowledge and wisdom. This mudra is formed by joining the tip of the thumb and the tip of the index finger together. The remaining 3 fingers on each hand remain straightened but relaxed. 

This yoga mudra stimulates the root chakra and can be done with the palms facing up or down, depending on the needs of the yogi. To root yourself to the earth and experience an added feeling of grounding, place the palms facing downwards on the thigh or knee. 

Flip your palms to the sky to connect with celestial knowledge and experience detachment from the affairs of your everyday life. 

Benefits of this hand mudra include increased concentration, better memory, reduced stress, and easier management of depression. 

Shuni Mudra

The Shuni Mudra sees the middle finger and thumb joining together, uniting elements of fire and connection. This mudra is often used to increase feelings of patience and is fantastic to turn to when you need a little extra support. 

Bring focus and discipline to your daily routine by practising this hand mudra during your morning meditation or recover from a busy day with a little boost of loving support.

Surya Ravi Mudra

Also known as Prithvi Mudra, the Surya Ravi Mudra is a gesture of the earth. By joining the tip of the thumb and ring finger together, the elements of fire and earth come together to boost vitality and balance. 

Practising this mudra can help to reduce stress, improve blood circulation, boost your self-esteem and confidence, and even increase your determination. This mudra becomes incredibly powerful when we use it to turn towards spirituality. 

As the yoga mudra for energy and health, forming the Surya Ravi Mudra is excellent for body functions including stimulating the nervous system and improving digestion. 

Buddhi Mudra

Moving down the line with our fingers, the Buddhi Mudra is formed by joining the little finger and thumb. The little finger represents water, and joining it with fire (thumb) makes for an amazing intuitive experience. 

This mudra can help to expand and enhance your intuitive communication and strengthen the intuitive knowledge you already have within you. By honing this intuition, you’ll experience an openness that can be both incredibly calming and invigorating at the same time. 

Prana Mudra

The Prana Mudra is the gesture of life. For this mudra, connect the end of your thumb to both your ring and little finger. This symbolizes the vital energy of Prana and can supercharge the body, mind, and soul. 

Use Prana Mudra to cleanse the aura and turn to it any time you need a little extra energy boost. Great for times of physical, mental, or emotional fatigue. It is also thought that this mudra has a special power for the eyes.

‘Turn on’ any stagnant or inactive energy in the body and revitalize with this simple yet beautiful hand gesture. 

Dhyana Mudra

This mudra is also known as the ‘Yoga Mudra’ and is a gesture of meditation and turning inwards. 

For calming energy and deep contemplation and reflection, place your hands in your lap with the left palm under the right. Face the palms upwards and connect the tips of the thumbs in the centre. The palms and thumbs will then form a triangle. 

This triangle symbolizes the coming together of Buddha (The Enlightened One), Dharma (Good Law), and Sangha (Community). We place the right hand over the left to reflect knowledge and awareness being held above the illusions created by the outward world. 

Anjali Mudra

Anjali Mudra translates to salutation seal and is the prayer shape you’ve come to know and associate with our class ending bow, ‘Namaste’. 

For Anjali Mudra, we join the hands together in from of the heart space. This gesture is performed to honour yourself and others with universal love and gratitude. 

We commonly see this mudra being used to open and/or close a practice. At these times the mudra is used to ground, create, and seal in the deep and personal intention of your individual practice.

Beyond these times, the mudra actually shows up in several poses throughout your yoga flow. When you bring the hands to Anjali Mudra during postures like mountain pose, before sun salutations, or in balances such as tree pose, this gesture is a reminder for inner peace. 

The union of the hands represents the union of both sides of the brain or both sides of the body. Joining the hands over the heart chakra brings balance to the two sides in the centre. This mudra is powerful for mental and emotional centring as well as any preparation for meditation or contemplation.  

Using Your Mudras

Now that you understand the power and beautiful energy in each of these mudras, you’ll be equipped to choose the best mudra for your needs. Feel free to switch up your mudras in class, or even take these powerful gestures into your meditation practice. 

Ready to explore the power of the mudra? Book your class today and experience this beautiful energetic flow under the guidance of our beautiful teachers. 

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