The use of hand gestures or mudras is a common practice in yoga. Mudras are ancient teachings from both – Hindu and Buddhist traditions. They are sometimes called “seals” since you are actively joining two parts of the hand. This is thought to create pathways for energy to flow. Mudras are thought to allow your body to guide and direct that energy flow .
When I first started to add mudras to my yoga and meditation practice, I didn’t really feel anything, but because I had experienced other magical mysteries of yoga, I was willing to keep trying and find out what happens.
I started with the Jnana (Knowledge) Mudra. To practice you touch your index finger and the thumb while keeping your palms open and the rest of your fingers straight. If you are seated you can rest your hands on your thighs or in your lap. Do this with each hand. Over time I found this habit comforting and it was helping me focus inwards and mentally prepare for meditation or for a deeper yoga practice. whitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhite
Then I also tried the Dhyani ( Meditation) Mudra. This mudra helped me feel more centered and peaceful. To practice, begin seated and put your right hand in your lap with your palm facing up. Place your left hand on top of your right (so, the left hand lies in the right hand) and bring your thumbs to touch above your palms. This is a classical meditation pose and with the help of this mudra emptiness is brought to mind.
The Prithivi (Earth) Mudra is taught to strengthen and restore your body. Good to practice if you need a pick me up or to feel more connected to the Earth energy. To practice you press together the tips of the ring finger and thumb. Do this with each hand. This mudra can help you feel more connected and centered.
A beautiful expression of love and purity is the Lotus Mudra. The Lotus flower reminds me to be open, blossoming and full of possibilities. To practice bring your thumbs, pinkies, and the bases of your palms pressed together as you separate the centers of your palms and fan out the rest of your finger revealing your lotus flower.
The most common of the mudras is the Atmanjali (Namaste) Mudra. Most yoga classes end with this mudra to honor and appreciate each student. To practice this mudra you bring your palms to touch, fingers upward and the hands in front of the heart with the thumbs touching the heart area. It represents honor, gratitude and the acknowledgement of the divinity in ourselves and others. It is often done while saying: “Namaste!” which translates to: “The Spirit in me salutes the Spirit in you.”