Did you know that mudras can help you heal various diseases and ailments? If you are new to Yoga, then you will be surprised to know about the hidden healing powers of yoga mudras. Take a look and start a new journey towards healing this international yoga day.
What Is A Mudra?
Mudra is a Sanskrit word that means “seal” or “gesture.”In Yoga, mudras are ritualistic and symbolic gestures that are widely practiced in Hinduism and Buddhism. These can usually be performed with our fingers and hands along with movements in shoulders, elbows, wrists, and even the entire body.
Generally practiced during Yoga, these mudras help you to manage the flow of energy in your mind and body. According to yogic beliefs, when practiced properly and regularly, it can stimulate specific parts of the brain. Yoga mudras have certain healing powers and there are different mudras for different ailments and needs. These are performed with meditation and breathing exercises to boost the flow of life force or prana within your body.
Practicing mudras can make us feel happier and healthier as it can regulate our spiritual, emotional, and physical energy. These can strengthen the connection between the mind and the body, alleviate aches and pains, stimulate endorphins, enhance mood and improve vitality.
The Healing Power Of Yoga Mudras
“Mudras are hand gestures or simple formations of the fingers and hands which stimulate a specific energy pathway that can unlock higher levels of awareness and bring about healing when held with a focus for extended periods of time,” explains healer and yoga teacher Sonali Bansal.
According to Yoga, each finger in our hand represents one of the five elements of nature:
- Our thumb represents fire.
- Our index finger represents air.
- Our middle finger represents space.
- Our ring finger represents earth.
- Our little finger represents water.
“Each finger represents an element of nature and when that is brought into contact with the thumb, it brings about balance in that element and helps cure the disease caused by the imbalance,” adds Sonali.
When we touch the different fingers in certain gestures, it activates the 5 natural elements which affect Prana within us. Julie Bernier, Ayurvedic practitioner, and Yoga therapist explains “Mudras integrate the annamaya kosha (physical body) with the manomaya kosha (mental body) and the pranamaya kosha (pranic body). This is why we can feel their effects, as they develop our mental awareness of the flow of prana throughout the physical body.”
Related: Yoga Poses To Release Emotional Pain
6 Common Healing Yoga Mudras
Yoga mudras can significantly help us to create balance among the different elements within us. Here are 5 helpful yoga mudras that can help you heal certain ailments and live a healthier life:
1. Gyana Mudra
This is one of the most common mudras in yoga that can help you to relieve stress. To perform this, simply join the tips of your index finger and your thumb together while keeping the rest of the fingers stretched yet relaxed. When you want to receive blessings from the universe, keep your palms facing upwards. However, when you want to feel grounded, rest your palms on your leg.
Gyana Mudra represents the coming together of air and fire and symbolizes the unification of Brahma (universal) and self-consciousness.
Although you can practice this mudar anytime while practicing yoga or meditation, it is best to perform this hand mudra at Brahma Muhurta, before sunrise. You can start by practicing for 5 minutes daily and gradually increase it to 3 sessions of 15 minutes every day.
Practicing Gyan mudra can help you to reduce the impact of mental disorders like stress, anxiety, and depression, release anger, reduce headache and insomnia. Moreover, it also helps to improve memory and concentration. This mudra has been practiced for centuries for spiritual progress, inner peace, and tranquility.
Kaisa Kapanen, entrepreneur and Yin Yoga teacher, writes “This is perhaps the most used mudra in yoga and is also known as the chin mudra. The Gyana mudra increases concentration, creativity, and is a gesture of knowledge.”
2. Prana Mudra
Prana Mudra represents the spirit of life and energizes the dormant energy within us. To perform this, join the tips of your ring finger and little finger with the tip of your thumb while keeping the other finger stretched. This is one of the most beneficial yoga mudras that should be practiced along with padmasana. You can practice this particular mudra at any time of the day.
You can start by practicing Prana Mudra for 5 minutes daily and gradually increase it to 3 sessions of 15 minutes every day. You can also choose to do it for 45 minutes at a stretch.
Prana mudra can help you overcome exhaustion, fatigue, tiredness, and nervousness. So it can be especially helpful when you feel drained or feel that you have no energy to carry out a task. This mudra boosts your energy levels by regulating energies in your aura. It is also helpful for activating your vital energy or Qi. Moreover, it is also beneficial for people suffering from eye problems.
Practicing Prana Mudra regularly can improve your eyesight, augment your body’s resistance towards various diseases, reduce hunger pangs, improve sleep and decrease vitamin deficiencies. It also improves your immune system by stimulating your body.
3. Shunya Mudra
This is the hand mudra of emptiness and can be performed for healing ear ailments. To do this, simply bend your middle finger and place it on the base of your thumb. Now press the first phalanx bone of your middle finger with the tip of your thumb. Keep the other fingers straight and relaxed. You can start by practicing Shunya Mudra for 5 minutes daily. Eventually, you can increase it to 3 sessions of 15 minutes every day. You can also do it for 45 minutes at a stretch as well.
This mudra can help to heal ear pain and aches and reduce hearing problems. It also helps to cure numbness, improve mental health, reduce watering of eyes, strengthens bones, decrease the risk of heart diseases, thyroid diseases, and throat problems. It also strengthens the gums and opens your heart chakra.
By reducing the space element in our bodies, Shunya Mudra can help our body heal in various ways. However, you must stop practicing this mudra once your ailments have been treated.
4. Surya Mudra
The Mudra of the Sun is one of the most common yoga mudras that can help you manage weight and obesity. To practice this, touch the base of your thumb with the tip of your ring finger. Now press the second phalanx bone of your ring finger with the tip of your thumb. Make sure to keep the rest of your fingers stretched and relaxed. You can practice this mudra for around 20 to 30 minutes during sunrise for the best results.
Surya Mudra is excellent for reducing bad cholesterol and is highly beneficial for weight loss. Moreover, it also reduces anxiety, improves digestion, boosts metabolism, dissolves excess fat, improves the immune system, controls the thyroid gland, and regulates low BP. Surya Mudra enhances the fire element in our body and helps to improve vision, maintain temperature, improve appetite, and reduces cold and shivering of limbs, etc.
5. Vayu Mudra
This mudra represents the air element. This is one of the most beneficial yoga mudras that has several healing properties. To do this, bend your index finger and bring it together with your thumb. Now press the second phalanx bone of your index finger with your thumb. Make sure the tip of your index finger touches the base of your thumb. Keep the other fingers stretched and relaxed.
You can start practicing Vayu Mudra for 5 minutes daily and gradually reach 3 sessions of 15 minutes every day. You can also do it for 45 minutes at a time as well. You can perform this at any time you find convenient. Once you are healed, it is best to stop practicing this mudra as it may result in imbalance in the body.
This mudra helps to reduce constrictions in your body and helps to release excess air trapped within. By practicing regularly, you can use this mudra to get rid of issues related to excess gas like constipation, bloated stomach, flatulence, and gout. Vayu Mudra can also help with Parkinson’s disease, cervical spondylitis, arthritis, paralysis, and neck pain.
It also helps to reduce nervousness and restlessness and helps to calm your mind. Practicing it regularly can also help to relax muscles, soothe strained throats, relax overactive endocrine glands and reduce chest and rheumatic pain.
6. Varun Mudra
This is the Mudra of Water and helps to heal ailments related to dryness or lack of water.
To perform this hand mudra, sit in a relaxed posture and lightly touch the tip of your thumb with the tip of your little finger. Keep the rest of your fingers relaxed yet straight without applying stress. You can also choose to lie down while doing this mudra. Moreover, you can practice this whenever you find it convenient as there is no specific time.
There are several healing benefits of doing Varun Mudra. It helps to balance water content in the body, increase blood flow, activate fluid circulation, regulate elements associated with the tongue like taste, treats skin diseases, decrease muscle aches, eliminates skin infections and dryness. Doing this mudra regularly can enhance your physical beauty by making your skin glow.
Do Mudras Really Work?
It can be really easy to misunderstand the essence of yoga mudras and how they can enhance your health and happiness. These are a subtle science which may take some more time to be understood properly. Although it might not be possible to measure how different mudras affect our energy with our current technology, the functions of our systems can significantly be altered by simple hand gestures.
Mudras are an integral part of Yoga and can be considered as an isometric connection that distributes energy to different parts of our body. Indian yogi and author Sadhguru explain that mudras are “a whole science by itself which essentially involves the geometry and circuitry of the body. By holding a certain mudra, the energies tend to move in a particular way.”
One 2018 study analyzed the coronal discharge around each fingertip through electro photonic imaging (EPI) captures to understand the effect of the Yogic practice of mudras on EPI parameters. The study found that practicing yoga mudras over a longer duration of time can bring statistically observable changes in the EPI parameter. The study conducted by the International Journal of Yoga stated that “Adopting a mudra and sitting quietly with eyes closed for 5 min did not have a big difference in the EPI parameters. However, mudra practiced for a long time showed a significant change in the mean value of the EPI parameter average intensity.”
The research paper added “Mudra must be practiced for more than 20 min in one sitting for observing a detectable change in the EPI parameters.”
Read also: The Science behind Yoga and Stress
Practice Yoga Mudras Regularly
“When reflex points of the fingertip are pressed, these healing substances are released and one can rebalance any diseased area of the body.” Deborah Nasca, The Healing Art of Mudras
Now that you have learned about some of the most beneficial yoga mudras that can help you heal mentally, physically and spiritually, it’s time for you to start practicing these mudras. Make sure to do these every single day and use some deep breathing exercises along with them. To experience the healing effects of these mudras, practice for 20 to 30 minutes each day. You can also break your practice into 3 sessions of 10-15 minutes every day.
So go ahead with YOGA DAY 2023 and give it a shot to experience the benefits of yoga mudras to live a better life. Happy international yoga day!!!
Here is an interesting video that you may find helpful: