Yoga Definitions: Mudra

anjali mudraMudra are symbolic gestures that we make with the hands and fingers also known as a ‘seal’ or ‘mark’. Traditionally they were used to facilitate the flow of energy round the body but I use them to engage different muscles in the hands, arms and upper body and to bring a little variety to the practice.

Below you will see a simplified nervous map of the body. There are nerves that run from the spine and body down the arms into the fingers. If reflexology is your bag then stimulating these nerves brings about stimulation in other parts of the body.

In any case setting an intention and repeating it to yourself while you carry out a defined hand movement creates a pathway through the nervous system and into the brain reinforcing the desired behaviour. This is great for brain health for all but can be especially beneficial for those wishing to prevent or reduce the decline in cognitive function due to aging (lavretsky, UCLA).

Here are a few to get you started:

Chin Mudra
  • chin mudraBring thumb and index finger together
  • slightly stretch the remaining three fingers
  • symbolizes the unity of universal and individual consciousness
  • practice for concentration, creativity and as a gesture of knowledge
  • palms face up when you feel receptive of face them down to feel more grounded.
Shuni Mudra
credit: omsica/mind valley
credit: omsica/mind valley
  • Bring middle finger and thumb together
  • slightly stretch the other three fingers
  • practice for patience, discipline and a feeling of stability
Anjali Mudra
  • anjali mudra2Bring palms together in front of the chest
  • fingers to the sky
  • symbolizes honour to yourself and all else
  • express of love and gratitude. Namaste