A mudra is a symbolic gesture performed by the hands, often practiced in Hinduism and Buddhism. This spiritual gesture acts as an “energetic seal of authenticity”. Most of the mudras are performed using hands and fingers often in different combinations. These involve movements of the wrists, elbows, and shoulders and have meaning in many forms of Indian dances and yoga.
The sources for the mudras in yoga are the Hatha yoga Pradipika and the Gheranda Samhita. The former states the importance of mudras in yoga practice. The list of mudras is given below. In yoga, mudrās are used in co-occurrence with pranayama, while seated in poses like Padmasana, Vajrasana, or Sukhasana. It is used to stimulate different parts of the mind and body, and to affect the flow of prana in the body. Hasta mudras may be favorable for meditation.
Mudras you can do while meditating:
Varada Mudra – This mudra means granting of wishes. We can create this mudra by resting our left hand on our left knee, the palm is facing up and the fingers are extended.
Samadhi mudra – is for the complete state of concentration. Rest both your hands on lap with your palms facing up. Your right hand should be on top of your left hand. Then lightly touch the tips of your thumbs.
Karana mudra – It is for warding off evil. Touch your middle and ring fingers of the right hand with your thumb. Extend your index finger and little finger. Now bring your hand upright in front of the heart and your palm facing out. Meanwhile, you can leave your left hand hanging out on your lap facing up.
Shunya mudra – is the gesture of void. The middle finger is bent with the thumb over it and the other three fingers are extended.
Jnana mudra – is about knowledge. Curl your index fingers towards the base of your thumbs in a way to create a circle. The rest of your fingers should remain straight out. Then rest your palm is facing up or down on the knees.
Varuna mudra – is the gesture of rain. The little finger is bent with the thumb over it and three fingers are extended.
Gyan Mudra – Enhances consciousness. Simply touch the tip of the index finger with the tip of the thumb, while keeping your other three fingers straight out.
Prana mudra – is the gesture of active life. The tip of the little finger and ring fingers touch the thumb and the other two fingers are extended.
Apana mudra – Touch the tip of the thumb to the tips of the middle and ring finger. Leave your other two fingers extended. And rest your hands facing up on your knees.
Power of doing mudras
Mudras stimulate different parts of our body, involved with breathing, and used to affect the flow of energy in our body and also one’s mood. These specific hand gestures are like locks to guide energy flows and reflexes to our brain. By different poses of fingers and hands, we manipulate the mind-body connection. Each area of the hand is in correspondence with a certain part of the mind or body.
If seen from a spiritual level, practicing these mudras is like an outward representation of our inner intentions. There are many different mudras and it is believed that meditating on any one of the specific mudras will help manifest certain energies, hopes, or devotions into your life.
Mudras are a way to specifically see ‘what we want to be, and what we need the most’. When our hands come into a mudra, it allows us to have a physical connection with an impalpable wish.