What is Yoga Mudra?

Yoga Mudra

Yoga mudra is the symbolic hand, body, and eye gesture based on the principle of Ayurveda to cure and redirect energy in different organs of the body. The Sanskrit term mudra is interpreted as a gesture or attitude. Mudras can be described as psychic, psychological, devotional, and aesthetic gestures. Mudras are a mixture of subtle body movements that change mood, elevation, perception, and deepen awareness and concentration. A mudra may involve the entire body in a mix of asana, pranayama, bandha, and visualization methods, or it might be a straightforward hand position. It's regarded as a 'Yoga anga'- a different branch of yoga, requiring an extremely subtle awareness and introduced following some proficiency was achieved in asana, pranayama, and bandha, and gross blockages are removed. Mudras are higher practices that lead to the awakening of the pranas, chakras, and kundalini. They exude major siddhis and psychic abilities on advanced training. Before trying the practice of mudra, practical education from a professional is always thought of as a requisite. 

The most popular yoga mudras include hands only, also referred to as hand mudras. Each hand mudra represents a closed circuit of energy patterns in the body. Mudras practiced in combination with pranayama and meditation helps to redirect the flow of life-force (Prana).

Yoga mudra is similar to yoga poses or Asanas except that most of the mudras include only the hand poses. 

Asana -- The physical pose

Mudra -- The finger or hand pose

 Mudra translates to a symbol, seal, or mark'. The 'gesture' of hand, face, finger, or other body organs that represent some particular energy lies inside the body.

 

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How do Yoga Mudras work?

How can Yoga Mudra work?

The functioning of Yoga Mudra closely linked to the five components lie inside our bodies.

 Five Elements of the world: Three attributes in the world unite to develop five elements: Fire, Air, Ether, Earth & Water. Our physical body has the qualities of the same five elements represented by five palms.

 - Thumb - Fire or Common consciousness

- Index finger - Air or Individual consciousness

- Middle finger - Ether or Link

- Ring finger - Earth or Physical sense

- Small finger - Water or Flowdity

A balanced condition of these five components reveals the effective working of mind & body. So, when there's an imbalance in those five elements, it may lead to a disruption in your mind and body to experience the ill effects of ailments. When the thumb (fire element) purchased in contact with any of the four fingers, it means these four components have come in a balanced condition.

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Yoga mudra types

Kinds of Yoga Mudras

There are hundreds of mudras estimated among different cultures, and religions. Mudras may involve Yoga Asana, Pranayama, visualization methods, body locks, or just hand. While in specific mudras, stimulating of Prana redirects subtle energy to seven vital chakras, or occasionally it calms down to focus in a hierarchical position. All of the yoga mudras can be classified into the following five types.

Hast (Hand) Mudra: These are the most popular mudras performed using the different placement of thumb, fingers & hand. It functions on the features of 5 elements. (Gyan Mudra, Prana Mudra, Surya Mudra)

Bandha (Lock) Mudra: Bandhas with mudras use the involvement of polyunsaturated muscles (benign, respiratory & pelvis) to maintain the prana. This Prana holding awakens the kundalini energy within the body. (Jalandhara Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha, Mula Bandha, Maha Mudra)

Kaya (postural) Mudra: Kaya mudras are very similar to asana practice when done together with simple mudras. It requires intense concentration to maintain the body in a specific asana (or pranayama) & mudra. (Manduki Mudra, Pashinee Mudra)

Mana (Head) Mudra: Head mudras include the practice to concentrate the mind in meditation (mainly in kundalini yoga). These mudras require the participation of sense organs (eyes, nose, tongue, lips & lips ). Head mudras are so strong it can snap us out from instinctive habits even in short intervals. (Khechari Mudra, Kaki Mudra, Bhoochari Mudra, Shambhavi Mudra)

Adhara (Perineal) mudra: Adhara or Perineal mudra comprises the participation of the pelvic floor space to stimulate the sacral chakra, which consequently harnesses sexual energy within the body. Practicing Adhara Mudra helps power to redirects to the solar station (Pingala Nadi) of the body. (Vajroli Mudra, Ashwini Mudra, Maha Bheda Mudra)

See: Yoga for heart disease prevention

Top hand yoga mudras

Mudras are hand gestures during meditation, which station your body's energy flow. Try these ten commonly used mudras to enhance your health and energy levels. Listed below are commonly used mudras which were championed for centuries because of their efficacy in providing health and empowerment. You may use these mudras during meditation & Pranayama clinic to focus the mind.  

Gyan/Chin Mudra (Knowledge): Gyan Mudra is a potent mudra practiced by yogis for thousands of years that bring calmness together with spiritual development. It's by far the most frequent and highly practiced mudra, which enhances the degree of air within the body. Called the "mudra of knowledge," it implies the most accessible version of the self. Thus, you can control your life lessons through simplicity and calm.  This is most likely the most recognizable mudra. This Gyan mudra intends to enhance your concentration and enhance your memory. This is an excellent mudra to use when trying to obtain knowledge.    This mudra is done by touching your index fingertip into the tip of your thumb while holding your other three fingers straight.  

Buddhi Mudra: This mudra is used for mental clarity. You perform this gesture if you need to understand intuitive messages from your subconscious (i.e., dreams or meditations that mystery you). Among the most compelling advantages of this mudra is seen at the improvement of communication, like improving internal and external dialogue.   This mudra is done by touching your thumb to your pinky finger while holding your other three fingers straight. 

Shuni (or Shoonya) Mudra: This gesture is used to increase instinct, alertness, and sensory abilities. Additionally, it calms your emotions and ideas.   This mudra is done by touching the tip of the middle finger to the thumb tip while retaining the other three fingers relaxed and straight. 

- Prana Mudra: The Prana mudra is reported to be among the most critical mudras because of its capability to activate dormant energy in your body. Prana is the key life force in all living things. This mudra can help awaken your private prana and put you more in tune with the prana around you. Pe this mudra by touching your ring and pinky fingers to your thumb, while holding the other fingers straight.   

Dhyana Mudra: The Dhyana mudra is common to several eastern meditation areas. The Buddha is often seen in this gesture. The importance of the mudra is to bring you into deeper, deeper concentration. This gesture may also help bring you tranquility and inner peace.   To perform the Dhyana mudra, simply sit with your palms facing upwards, right hand resting on top of your left palm. The ideal hand, representing enlightenment and higher spiritual faculties, rests across the left hand, representing the world of Maya, or illusion. 

Surya Mudra: The Surya mudra is meant to boost the solar/fire element from the body and enhance metabolism and digestion. Additionally, it is helpful in reducing heaviness in the body and also to help ward off colds, because it raises core body temperature.   Perform this mudra by bringing your ring finger into the bottom of your thumb so that your thumb touches the ring finger's knuckle. Stretch your other three fingers right without stressing the hand.

 - Apana Mudra: The Apana mudra is excellent for physical or mental digestion and for removing waste substances from the body. This gesture may also be a kind of assisting in psychological and emotional digestion when applied to "bad" outside of the body.  To perform this position, bring your second and third fingers to your thumb. How you place your fingers may differ based on the discipline you're learning from. This mudra is done by bringing the ring and middle finger to the tip of the thumb. 

- Agni or Surya Mudra (Heat): The mudra gestures help discharge energy locked inside the body and regulate its reflexes and circulation to the brain. Surya Mudra connects with solar energy within the body.  

- Chinmaya Mudra (Awareness):

Chinmaya Mudra is among the powerful mudras to treat physical and psychological wellbeing.  Using the yoga mudra is supposed to draw awareness of the body that assists in keeping the body and mind healthy. Through this mudra, the prana energy and also the realization of the breath flow smoothly into the body, consequently, treating the physical body to keep in balance. 

- Apana Vayu Mudra (Purification): Apana is among 5 Prana Vayus of the body that flows in the downward direction. This mudra is practiced to balance the ratio of Apana Vayu from the body. This mudra is also referred to as the purification mudra. Apana Vayu Mudra is meant to improve the role of Apana Vayu and its associated organs of elimination. It benefits in raising the equilibrium of the ether component and ground element in the body.   

- Linga Mudra (Shiva): The shape made in this mudra looks like the phallus shape, so it's named Linga (Sanskrit term for phallus) mudra. This mudra symbolizes the fire element which presents from the thumb. It generates heat within the body and can lead to perspiration even during winter if done for a protracted period.  

- Shunya Mudra (Void): This mudra is a comfy yoga posture intended to decrease the akasha -- distance element in the body. Shunya mudra is also known as paradise mudra, and regular practice of it can help enjoy a degree of peace.   The mudra is helpful to people who have a dominant Vata, the governing energy regarding the waste elimination and nervous system.   

- Adi Mudra (Primal): Another meaning of the mudra is 'energy seal' since energy generated from this mudra can be used for future activities. This mudra is used to calm and quiet the mind. In physical terms, Adi Mudra assists in balancing and healing the sense organs.   

- Rudra Mudra: The title Rudra associated with Lord Shiva as it's internal transformative capacities. This hand gesture affects your private energy center or the solar plexus (Manipura Chakra). It's supposed to boost concentration and clarity of thought. This mudra is a powerful method to reduce excessive pain and strain.   

Abhaya Mudra: Abhaya mudra is a version of Gyan mudra. It develops the quality of fearlessness in someone. This mudra can be understood in several Buddhist rituals. Buddha himself is revealing many times using this particular hand gesture in defense.  

Gyan-Vairyga Mudra: Vairagya means detachment in the mundane world. This mudra appears like the Gyan mudra, but it is a version of Gyan mudra once we put hands over the center of the thigh, instead of kneecaps. This mudra is used before meditation to draw the mind inwards. You may find out Gyan vairagya mudra measures, perfect time & benefits.  

Shakti Mudra: Shakti represents female energy present in the base of the spine, also called Kundalini shakti. This mudra provides our body power (shakti) to overcome the physical & mental illness. It attracts a state of stability in 5 elements within our finger.   

Purna Gyan Mudra: Purana means full. Purna Gyan mudra symbolizes the gesture of complete yogic understanding. Acquiring this mudra is beneficial in gaining absolute yogic wisdom & mainly utilized in the Buddhist tradition.     

Varun Mudra (Water): Water has a vital role in the wellbeing and health of the human body. Varun Mudra is also referred to as water mudra, so this mudra is beneficial in the event the water component in the body imbalanced.   Balancing the water percent in the body can heal the problems related to indigestion like acid & gas. 

 - Back Mudra: This hand mudra assists in strengthening the energies within the body. It's the finger movement that aims at eliminating the pain. Back mudra comprises the healing properties. It functions effectively for somebody using a weak back or because of prolonged activities like cleaning and sitting for long.   

- Akash Mudra: Akash means sky or space. Space is considered the most dominant element in our body that makes one broad-minded. It's essential to keep its optimal amount in the human body & therefore, Akash mudra is the best exercise. This mudra is also referred to as Shuni mudra, which called due to its quality to generate patience.   

- Vayu Mudra: Vayu indicates the air around us within our bodies. Air is an element within the body assists in relieving different kinds of pain such as rheumatic arthritis, sciatica, etc., and various mental disorders. With the support of Vayu mudra, 49 types of Vayu within our body are able to bring down in equilibrium & thus it cures state of the surplus of gas, bloating,  flatulence, or other associated gastric issues.   

Anjali Mudra: Namaste is the most practiced hand gesture in yoga. Traditionally, it's known as the Anjali mudra. This mudra is an emblem of showing respectfulness to other people. This symbolism also fulfills the definition of this yoga of joining the individual soul with the divine one.     


See: Yoga For Digestion & Gut Health

Yoga mudras health benefits

Benefits of Yoga Mudras

Mudras are the most comfortable practice in yoga to approach a healthy & connective body-mind system. Practicing a mudra does not need many attempts like an Asana or Pranayama. Mudra stimulates the digestion flame that further increases the appetite & enhances the digestion system Mudras are beneficial in religious awakening. It channelizes kundalini energy to higher chakras Surya and Linga mudra. Practicing several mudras such as Prana, Vyan regularly can enhance the eyesight (Chin). Some yoga mudra (Varun) can reduce the dehydration from the body by merely pressing palms Mudras (Surya, Prana) can take care of the common cold by controlling the flow of solar power over lunar energy The custom of mudra (Varun, Apana) betters the skin wellness & brings glow in the face. 

How can Yoga Mudras work? Mudras work on the principle of five components where our physical body consists of.    

How long do you need to do Mudras to be effective? If you're going through some physical ailments & perform Mudras in this condition will not require mudra over 30 to 45 minutes to demonstrate a fast effect. To eliminate chronic illness, do Mudras with breath counts (or pranayama) for 3 to 4 weeks.  

Can mudras heal health conditions? The Mudras mechanism of recovery can be understood from the fact that acupressure points are found on hands. When we join fingers from another arrangement in a mudra, acupressure points of the various parts get aroused. This manner, mudras open the congestion in the specific nerves of the body by stimulating acupressure points. Hence mudras possess the healing effect.   

Can mudras be done during menstrual periods? There's absolutely no harm in practicing yoga mudras throughout periods. A few mudras (Apana mudra) help to regularize the menstrual cycle. Per the yogic literature, there are two motions of energy within our body, upward movement is referred to as Prana energy & downward is Apana energy. Practicing mudras through the menstrual cycle is due to the downward flow of energy (Apana motion ). By practicing mudra, periods of pain can be eased by regularizing the Apana movement.  


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Scientific studies in Yoga mudras for health benefits

 Study 1: Researchers investigated the role of practicing mudra in its efficacy in enhancing chronic health conditions such as heart attack, blood pressure, diabetes, and many others. In the 2017 study, male and female subjects (n=41)(normal 27 and heart patients 14) aged between 30-65 years were included. In all areas, yoga hand mudra was attempted according to the study protocol, and both neurological and circulatory parameters were recorded before and after performing mudra. In heart patient issues, there was a significant decrease in systolic, diastolic blood pressure, pulse, and blood viscosity. Moreover, an increase in cerebral blood perfusion quantity, coronary perfusion pressure, brain tissue circulation, and memory indicator was observed. Researchers suggest this yoga mudra creates its impact through the nerve endings in palms. The interplay of palms sensitizes nerves in the palm and wrist area, which subsequently produces a systemic effect on the cardiovascular system and enhances it. This yoga mudra is a crisis tool for primary supportive medical care immediately for a heart attack until hospitalization. This mudra is termed as V mudra or a possible victory over death.[1]

Study 2: Research on Yoga Mudras to detect changes in the energy patterns of the body after practicing the yoga mudra had conducted a study.   This study was based on the EPI technique (Electrophotonic imaging). Researchers could measure the coronal discharge (electron shooting ) around a particular surface of the body through this technique.   Researchers separated 61 subjects into two groups, namely a 'control' & 'mudra' group. In the Mudra Group, participants practiced Prana Mudra for 5 minutes. The control group to anticipate that they don't practice Prana Mudra and sit quietly for 5 minutes.   Result of Research The outcomes of the research were listed in relation to EPI parameters such as Normalized area, Typical intensity & entropy by placing fingers on the glass surface of EPI equipment.   It had been seen at the result 'mudra' group has an increased effect size for the three parameters when compared with the control group. This increase in effect size demonstrated yoga mudra could excite & redirects energy patterns of the body.[2]

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Summary

Yoga mudra is a subtle but critical part of yoga. In hatha yoga, mudras are practiced only after the proficiency in Asana, Pranayama & bandha. Mudra related to the changing mental and spiritual characteristics of a person. This shift through mudra lets channelize the inner energy by affecting the body's sensory veins, glands, and organs.

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References

1. Tripathi D., Kalantri Y., Kumar H., Chitnis V., Chitnis S., Kalantri R.C., Bhatt J.K., Effect of yoga hand mudra on cardiac and neurological parameters in preventing a heart attack, Res. J. Recent Sci., Volume 6, Issue (2), Pages 16-20, February,2 (2017)

2. Classification of Electrophotonic Pictures of Yogic, Practice of Mudra through Neural Networks https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5934951/

 3. Kumar, Parveen. (2017). Analysis of the Performance of MUDRA, Lall, Dr. Anugrah Rohini. "A STUDY ON CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF MUDRA YOJANA IN UTTARAKHAND." Int. j. of Social Science and Economic Research, vol. 3, no. 7, July 2018, pp. 2863-2877, ijsser.org/more2018.php?id=196. Accessed 2018.

Mudras ritual context  https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Mudra

4. Nohria A., Lewis E. and Stevenson L.W. (2002)., Medical management of advanced heart failure., J Am Med Assoc., 287(5), 628-40.

5. WHO (2016)., The Impact of Chronic Disease in India., http://www.who.int/chp/chronic_disease_report/media/india.pdf.

6. Dorairaj P. and Salim Y. (2010)., Cardiovascular disease in India: Lessons learned & challenges ahead., Indian J Med Res., 132(5), 529-530.

7. Huffman M.D. and Prabhakaran D. (2010)., Heart failure: epidemiology and prevention in India., Natl Med J India., 23(5), 283-288.

8. Paula Pullen R., Sameer Nagamia H., Puja Mehta K., Walter Thompson R., Dan Benardot, Ramadan Hammoud, Janice Parrott M., Srikanth Sola, Bobby Khan V. (2008)., Effects of yoga on inflammation and exercise capacity in patients with chronic heart failure, J Card Fail., 14(5), 407-13.

9. Yogendra J., Yogendra H.J., Ambardekar S., Lele R.D., Dave M., Naaznin Husein and Shetty S. (2004)., Beneficial effects of yoga lifestyle on the reversibility of ischaemic heart disease: Caring heart project of the international board of yoga., J Assoc Physicians India., 52, 283-289.

10. Bharshankar J.R., Bharshankar R.N., Deshpande V.N., Kaore S.B. and Gosavi G.B. (2003)., Effect of yoga on the cardiovascular system in subjects above 40 years., Indian J Physiol Pharmacol., 47(2), 202-206.

8. Damodaran A., Malathi A., Patil N., Shah N. and Marathe S. (2002)., Therapeutic potential of yoga practices in modifying cardiovascular risk profile in middle-aged men and women., J Assoc Physicians Indi., 50(5), 633-640.

See: Yoga, meditation, and imagery: clinical applications.

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