Are you suffering from chronic pain? Or recovering from a major illness? Do you find yourself frequently fighting off colds, coughs, and viruses? 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 boost your immunity and will help your body heal.
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 Surya Mudra.
#2: Surya Mudra
First Fold the ring finger and cover it with the thumb. Make sure that the tip of the ring finger touches the fleshy part of the base of the thumb. This mudra activates the fire element. As we practice this mudra, we must meditate on the Manipura chakra, or the navel chakra. Concentration brings about activation. Practice this mudra for about 15-20 minutes.
When Should I Perform the Surya Mudra?
The Surya mudra is useful for the following:
- Stimulating digestion
- Calming stomach upset
- Preventing diabetes
- Maintaining body temperature
- Improving vision
- Gaining energy
- Energizing the mind and reducing depression / lethargy
- Stimulating the thyroid gland
Remember that it is very important to feel your pulse while performing this mudra. The Surya mudra increases the fire element and decreases the earth element in the body. The fire element is related to vision, improving fire in the body, and addressing visual problems. Since Agni is the main component of Pitta dosha, this mudra improves pitta, enhancing digestion, and reducing fat in the body, which in turn helps regulate your body weight. For all constipation-related issues, Surya mudra is very effective.
The next mudra we will cover is the Sankha Mudra.
#3: The Sankha Mudra
First open up the left hand and clasp the left hand’s thumb with the first four fingers of the right hand. Then gently touch the thumb of the right hand with the forefinger and the middle finger of the left hand. Practice this mudra for 15- 20 minutes.
When Should I Perform the Sankha Mudra?
The Sankha mudra is useful for the following:
- Overall detox
- Driving away fear
- Increasing self-confidence
- Purifying the energetic body
- Soothing the voice
- Reducing stammering
- Improving diseases of the stomach and intestines
- Healing the kidneys
- Relieving allergies
- Healing the tonsils
- Curing mouth ulcers
Remember that it is very important to feel your pulse while performing this mudra. Sankha or conch has much to do with sound and purification. In Vedic tradition, the conch is considered pure, and the sound emanating from the conch is significantly purifying. Similarly, this mudrā purifies all the 72,000 nadis (subtle nerves) and enhances the flow of thought and memory retention. This, in turn, leads to better memory and soothing of the mind. Before mantra practice, the Sankha mudra is recommended.
The next mudra we will cover is known as the Apana Vayu Mudra:
#4: The Apana Vayu Mudra
Connect the tip of the thumb to the tips of the middle and ring finger as shown below. Fold the index finger so its tip touches the base of the thumb. Then extend your pinky finger out straight. Adjust the pressure at the tips of your fingers until you can feel your pulse. 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 Apana Vayu Mudra?
The Apana Vayu mudra is useful for the following:
- Improving circulation
- Reducing cholesterol
- Improving digestion
- Regulating urination
- Regulating evacuation
- Relieving gas and bloating
- Eliminating toxins in the body
- Reducing flatulation
- Alleviating constipation
- Pregnant mothers can use this mudra to help induce labor after the 37th week of pregnancy
Remember that it is very important to feel your pulse while performing this mudra. The Samana Mudra his very helpful for any ailments of the heart, including high blood pressure and even heart attacks. It can also relieve tension in the body and dissipate feelings of tiredness.
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.