Are you suffering from feelings of anxiety, stress, or paranoia? Do you feel like no matter how much you accomplish, you can never keep up with your life? Mudras are powerful tools to assist meditation and introspection, and they can be used to help control our mind — our thoughts, feelings, and desires. In this article, we will discuss some essential mudras that will balance your body and mind and relieve your anxiety and stress.
What are Mudras?
Mudras are hand gestures that activate a certain element or energy in the body. The five fingers represent the five elements. The energy activation point lies on the fingertips. When the fingertips are connected, the subtle energy in your body gets activated. The thumb represents the fire element. This element represents agni within the body, and it serves to activate all the other elements.
The index finger represents air, middle finger ether, ring finger earth and the little finger represents the water element.
When different hand formations, or mudras, are formed, the combination of subtle elements has a powerful effect on the mind and body.
How Can Mudras Heal?
There is a spiritual force that mediates our mind-body connection. Ayurveda says that when the elements in our body are balanced, our bodies and minds are healthy. Whenever imbalance arises, we can attain balance by activating specific elements using various mudras. Acupuncture is another method that involves activating specific points in the body and improving the flow of energy. Mudras act in a similar way. The tips of our fingers act like electrical potential points, and when the mudras are formed, they create an electrical circuit that circulates energy throughout the body. As this energy circulates, we feel a healing effect. The most astonishing fact is that our brain uses about 60% of its surface area to process the movements and sensations of the hands.
RECOMMENDED: For a complete guide to the many mudras and their benefits, check out Healing Mudras: Yoga of the Hands by Yogi Nataraj.
#1: Jnana Mudra
The Jnana mudra activates the air element within the body. Touch the tips of the thumb and the index finger together, and gradually adjust until you can feel your pulse in your fingertips. Be aware of the outflow and inflow of energy going from and to the heart. Practice this mudra for about 15-20 minutes.
When Should I Perform the Jnana Mudra?
The Jnana mudra is useful for:
- Improving concentration
- Meditation practices
- Calming the mind
- Treating depression and lack of enthusiasm
- Finding clarity in your thoughts
- Overcoming addiction
- Treating insomnia
- Enhancing the endocrine system
- Strengthening the muscular system
Remember that it is very important to feel your pulse while performing this mudra. The Jnana mudra can be used in all sitting meditative poses, or even while practicing walking meditation. Other names for the Jnana mudra include Abhay Jnana mudra, Vayu Vardhak mudra, Purna Jnana mudra, Dhyan mudra.
The next mudra we will cover is the Akasha Mudra.
#2: Akasha Mudra
Gently touch the tips of the thumbs and the middle finger. Gradually adjust until you can feel your pulse in your fingertips. Keep your other three fingers as straight as possible. Practice this mudra for about 15-20 minutes.
When Should I Perform the Akasha Mudra?
The Akasha mudra is useful for the following:
- Treating migraines and headaches
- Improving hearing
- Attaining mental clarity
- Alleviating tooth aches and pains
Remember that it is very important to feel your pulse while performing this mudra. This mudra balances the element known as ether or space (akasha) within the body. This is the element that carries sound and is connected to our abilities to think, hear, and speak. As with the Jnana mudra, we can become more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and desires with this mudra. Because the Akasha Mudra balances the space within the body, it also enhances the flow of prana, or life air, and consequently the flow of blood and the functioning of the heart are improved as well.
The next mudra we will cover is the Prana Mudra.
#3: The Prana Mudra
Touch the tips of the little finger and the ring finger to the thumb. Adjust the pressure at the tips until you can feel your pulse the fingers. Once you feel your pulse, the apana vayu and your root chakra are activated. Practice this mudra for 15- 20 minutes.
When Should I Perform the Prana Mudra?
The Prana mudra is useful for the following:
- Relieving fatigue
- Overcoming weakness and lethargy
- Improving endurance and stamina
- Improving immunity
- Alleviating mental stress, anger, and irritability
- Balancing the thyroid
- Reducing inflammation
- Treating ulcers
- Treating arthritis
Remember that it is very important to feel your pulse while performing this mudra. The Prana Mudra activates the various energy centers in the body. It acts like a dynamo and can dramatically increase your life energy and overall sense of vitality.
According to astrology, the ring finger represents the Sun. The sun is responsible for giving heat and light. The smaller finger stands for Mercury, which is responsible for the water element in the body. When earth, water and fire come together they generate a powerful flow of energy. This mudra effectively increases energy by enhancing the blood circulation in the body. It strengthens the muscles and increases vision as well.
The next mudra we will cover is known as the Samana Mudra:
#4: The Samana Mudra
Touch the tips of all the fingers as shown, and carefully press the tips until you can feel the pulse of some of the fingers. Keep your fingers pointing upwards. Meditate on the gentle flame gently burning upwards in the belly as you practice this mudra. Practice the Samana Mudra for 10-15 minutes.
When Should I Perform the Samana Mudra?
The Samana mudra is useful for the following:
- Improving digestion
- Relieving anxiety
- Alleviating depression
- Increasing mental fortitude
Remember that it is very important to feel your pulse while performing this mudra. The Samana Mudra improves digestion and pacifies the mind, thus relieving anxiety, depression, and other mental ailments. This powerful mudra balances all the elements within the body.
The next mudra we will cover is the Uttara-bodhi Mudra:
#5: The Uttarabodhi Mudra
This mudra is similar to yoni mudra. First make both hands into fists and bring them together, with your thumbs facing away from your chest. Next straighten the index fingers until they both touch, and extend the thumbs. This is the yoni mudra. Now, as the last step, turn your hands upwards, pointing your index fingers upwards and thumbs towards you, as shown below. Hold this mudra for 15-20 minutes.
When Should I Perform the Uttara-bodhi Mudra?
The Uttara-bodhi mudra is useful for the following:
- Improving sleep
- Stimulating the pineal gland
- Reducing anxiety
Remember that it is very important to feel your pulse while performing this mudra. The Uttara-bodhi was one of the buddha mudras taught by Lord Buddha to enable us to focus on the higher self, freeing ourselves from anxiety.
The last mudra we will cover is the Lotus Mudra:
#6: The Lotus Mudra
Hold both hands close to your chest /heart. Open up the fingers like a blooming flower connecting the base of the palms as shown. Breathe slowly and relax. This mudra indicates opening of the heart. Hold this mudra for 15-20 minutes.
When Should I Perform the Lotus Mudra?
The Uttara-bodhi mudra is useful for the following:
- Opening the heart
- Calming and pacifying the mind
- Strengthening the Prana or life force within the body
- Balancing and processing powerful emotions
Remember that it is very important to feel your pulse while performing this mudra.
Suggested Mudra Sequence
You can perform each of these mudras one by one in a sequence, or you can do them separately. Be sure to give each of each mudras at least 10 minutes of your time. You can also play some music like that of flute or some natural healing sounds to help attain a calm, meditative state.