20 Common Yoga Mudras Explained
20 Common Yoga Mudras Explained

Although mudras are frequently incorporated into yoga classes, most people remain unaware of the real power they possess. These symbolic gestures are often practiced with the fingers or hands to intensify one’s journey within.

The word ‘mudra’ actually means ‘seal’ or ‘gesture’ in Sanskrit. This meaning makes sense as we often use these gestures during breathwork and meditation to guide the flow of energy within the body. The purpose of manipulating this energy flow varies from healing different parts of the body to calming the mind. Different parts of the hands and fingers are connected with specific areas in the body and brain. Therefore, by placing our hands in these intentional mudras, we’re stimulating our body and mind in complex ways.

Read on to discover the healing powers of some common mudras and learn how to practice them yourself!

Anjali Mudra

Anjali Mudra
Anjali Mudra

What It Means:

Although this commonly-practiced mudra is often associated with the greeting ‘Namaste,’ it holds many physical and spiritual implications. It unites the body as a whole by connecting the right and left hemispheres of the brain, bringing peace and clarity of mind. It also represents an offering of love, respect, honor, and gratitude towards yourself and others.

Try It:

  • Bring both palms together in front of the heart with fingers pointing up.
  • Press the hands together evenly.
  • Maintain a small opening between the palms by rooting the knuckles together.

Gyan Mudra

Chin Mudra
What It Means:

If you need a boost to your concentration, knowledge, or creativity, the Gyan mudra is a wonderful gesture for stoking our intellect. When expressed during meditation, it brings yogis a deep sense of calmness and openness.

Try It:

  • Lightly join the thumb and index fingers.
  • Without any tremendous effort, keep the middle, ring and pinky fingers straight and connected.
  • Turn the palms to face up and place the back of the hands on either your knees or lap.

Abhaya Mudra

Abhaya Mudra
Abhaya Mudra

What It Means:

This display of fearlessness brings a strong sense of safety and security while evoking divine protection. The Abhaya Mudra is noted as the first gesture displayed by Buddha upon reaching enlightenment. It also depicts the hands clear of weapons, illustrating peace and friendship.

Try It:

  • Raise your right hand up to shoulder height with a bent arm.
  • Turn your palm to face out with fingers together and pointing up.

Dhyana Mudra

Dhyani Mudra
Dhyani Mudra

What It Means:

This mudra brings soothing energy that’s great for meditation, contemplation, and reflection. The right hand represents our awareness, while the left hand symbolizes the illusion of being.

Try It:

  • Place both hands in your lap with palms facing up.
  • Make sure the left hand is on the bottom.
  • Join the tips of the thumbs and create a bowl shape.

Varun Mudra

Varun Mudra
Varun Mudra

What It Means:

This Mudra hydrates the skin and helps to improve its softness by increasing the water element in our body. It’s also known to bring mental clarity and promote fluidity and openness in our communication skills.

Try It:

  • Gently touch the tip of the thumb with the pinky finger.
  • Let the remaining three fingers rest straight, but not rigid.

Garuda Mudra

Garuda Mudra
Garuda Mudra

What It Means:

Named after the same eagle that inspired Garudasana (or eagle pose), the Garuda Mudra can help practitioners foster discipline and concentration amidst the chaos.

Try It:

  • Adjust your hands so that both palms openly face up.
  • Place your right hand over your left, clasping the thumbs.

Surya Mudra

Surya Mudra
Surya Mudra

What It Means:

This mudra represents vitality, balance, and well-being, and it’s intended to aid in bringing positive changes. It also improves metabolism, immunity, and digestion by increasing the fire element in the body.

Try It:

  • Unite the tip of the ring finger and the base of the thumb.
  • Your thumb should be touching the knuckle of the ring finger.
  • Straighten your other three fingers without stressing the hand.

Yoni Mudra

Yoni Mudra
Yoni Mudra

What It Means:

The Yoni Mudra helps in alleviating stress, strengthening the nervous system, and quieting the mind. Practicing this mudra allows practitioners to escape distraction and turn their attention inward.

Try It:

  • Place palms together with the fingers and thumbs straight.
  • Direct the thumbs towards the sky.
  • Turn the pinky, ring and middle fingers inwards so the back of the fingers touch.

Abhaya Hridaya Mudra

Abhaya Hridaya Mudra
Abhaya Hridaya Mudra. Credits ninavukasyoga.com

What It Means:

Use this mudra to connect to your heart’s truth and find the courage to follow your heart’s deepest desires. This mudra dispells fear, hate, and anger and guides the practitioner towards love and compassion.

Try It:

  • Bring your palms together at heart center.
  • Cross your right wrist over your left wrist with the palms facing away from each other.
  • Bring the backs of your hands together.
  • Wrap your right index finger around the left index finger.
  • Wrap your right middle finger over your left.
  • Wrap your right pinky finger over your left.

Padma Mudra

Padma Mudra
Padma Mudra

What It Means:

The Lotus Mudra clears the heart chakra and represents sincere purity. The lotus flower floats above muddy waters, symbolic of fear, attachment, and desire – And the flower itself perseveres against all the odds while maintaining its delicate beauty.

Try It:

  • Bring your palms softly together in front of the heart center.
  • Slowly unwind your hands like a blossoming lotus flower.
  • Keep the base of the hands, pinky fingers, and thumbs together.
  • Release the index, middle, and ring fingers to kindly open.

Prithvi Mudra

Prithvi Mudra
Prithvi Mudra

What It Means:

Also known as the Mudra of the Earth, Prithvi Mudra represents stability and sturdiness. It’s often used to promote healing and balance within the body and is known to improve overall strength.

Try It:

  • Join the tips of the thumbs and ring fingers.
  • Straighten the other three fingers on both hands, keeping them slightly apart and relaxed.
  • Let the hands rest on the knees.

Prana Mudra

Prana Mudra
Prana Mudra

What It Means:

Prana is the vital life force that exists in all living things – Therefore, the Prana Mudra stimulates dormant energy in the body and encourages it to flow freely. This movement brings energy and vitality to practitioners while connecting them to the surrounding prana.

Try It:

  • Bring your ring and pinky fingers to the tip of your thumb.
  • Straighten the other two fingers.

Apana Mudra

Apana Mudra
Apana Mudra

What It Means:

Ignite your natural elimination and detoxification processes with the Apana Mudra. Use this mudra first thing in the morning to cleanse the body and gather more energy and confidence.

Try It:

  • Take the tips of the middle and ring fingers of both hands to the tip of the thumb on the same hand.
  • Elongate the index fingers and pinky fingers.
  • If seated, place hands in your lap or on your knees.

Kali Mudra

Kali Mudra
Kali Mudra

What It Means:

Kali is the goddess of destruction, transformation, and death – So it only fits that this mudra evokes her power to transform darkness into lightness. Use this mudra to embrace your own strength and power and release tension and negativity.

Try It:

  • Interlace your middle, ring and pinky fingers.
  • Press the index fingers together and point them towards the sky.
  • Cross your left thumb over your right thumb.

Buddhi Mudra

Buddhi Mudra
Buddhi Mudra

What It Means:

Enhance your mental clarity, intuition, and communication using the Buddhi Mudra. This mudra is particularly useful when trying to understand messages from our subconscious such as those from dreams or meditation.

Try It:

  • Bring together your thumb and pinky fingers.
  • Hold the other three fingers straight.

Shuni Mudra

Shuni Mudra
Shuni Mudra

What It Means:

Shuni Mudra is used for enhancing our sensory sharpness and intuitive powers while cleansing our body of toxic thoughts and emotions. It symbolizes perseverance and discipline and produces a sense of security.

Try It:

  • Bring the tip of the middle finger to the tip of the thumb.
  • Keep the other three fingers straight and comfortable.

Ganesha Mudra

Ganesha Mudra
Ganesha Mudra

What It Means:

Ganesha is the remover of obstacles, and this mudra helps practitioners relieve themselves of difficulties by regaining positivity during tough times.

Try It:

  • Set your left hand in front of your chest with your palm facing outward and thumb pointing down.
  • Place your right hand in front of your left with your palm facing towards you.
  • Interlace your fingers together and hold them in a claw-like manner.

Vayu Mudra

Vayu Mudra
Vayu Mudra

What It Means:

The Vayu Mudra is excellent for managing air-related imbalances in the body such as bloating, joint pain, and flatulence. It’s also useful for relieving restlessness and anxiety as it brings the air element back to its balanced flow.

Try It:

  • Connect the thumb on each hand to the knuckle of the index finger on the same side.
  • Press the fingers together without straining the joints.

Dharmachakra Mudra

Dharmachakra Mudra
Dharmachakra Mudra

What It Means:

This mudra may sound familiar – That’s because it combines two words you’ve likely heard before, dharma and chakra. Dharmachakra translates as the ‘wheel of dharma’ and represents a continuous flow of energy. Making this gesture is said to focus the mind and encourage a positive outlook.

Try It:

  • Turn your left hand toward your chest with the fingers spread wide.
  • On your right hand, join the thumb and index fingers together.
  • Bring the joined thumb and index fingers of the right hand to touch the tip of the ring finger on the left hand.

Linga Mudra

Linga Mudra
Linga Mudra

What It Means:

The Linga Mudra is essential for anyone who needs to fire up their passion for life. This mudra has been credited with helping practitioners lose weight by increasing both body heat and energy levels.

Try It:

  • Interlace your fingers.
  • Wrap one thumb around the other thumb.
  • Extend the inside thumb straight up.

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