Mudras are pure magic. A mudra is a hand position that balances energy in the body and mind. Mudras were created by ancient yogis to calm the mind, restore physical health, and optimize energy. I’ve been practicing and studying mudras for years and they have become an integrated part of my daily life. The power we hold in our own hands to balance our lives blows me away!
Each part of our hand corresponds with a particular area of our brain and body. Mudras stimulate our glands, nerves, and organs. By using specific hand positions on a consistent basis, we can communicate very clearly with our body and mind. One of my yoga teachers Gurmukh says, “the hands become a keyboard for input to our mind/body computer.” Imagine, your hands have the ability to recalibrate what is happening inside your mind and body, amazing right?
Our hands are a map of our entire consciousness. As babies we use our hands to explore the world and that stays with us into adulthood. Think for a minute about everything you have done with your hands even in just the last few hours. We use our hands to communicate, feed ourselves, touch each other, wipe tears from our face, heal pain, hold our loved ones, feel the trunk of a tree. There are more than 2,500 nerve receptors per square centimeter in each one of our hands. By practicing these simple mudras we can stimulate holistic healing in our bodies.
There are hundreds of mudras and I have practiced many of them at different times in my life. Today I am going to share four that are a great introduction to this practice and are some of the most widely taught mudras in Kundalini yoga. Below you will find an image of each mudra and its corresponding information.
Gyan Mudra (Seal of Knowledge)
One of the most popular mudras in the world.
Enhances intuitive wisdom, increases memory, eases anxiety, depression, and sadness, stimulates the root chakra,
Gently touch the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb with the other three fingers stretched out.
Endocrine and pituitary glands as well as the nervous system.
When To Use
To calm your mind and body, to inspire creativity, boost concentration, and to expand consciousness.
Shuni Mudra (Seal of Patience)
Shuni is sanskrit for Saturn which is in Vedic astrology is the planet of discipline.
Improves commitment, focus, patience, and understanding. This mudra helps one carry out their life’s responsibilities.
Gently touch the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your thumb with the other three fingers stretched out.
Courage and responsibility
When To Use
When you need stability and strength, if you need assistance turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts, and for support following through with tasks.
Surya or Ravi Mudra (Seal of Life)
Excellent mudra for overall health and wellness.
Revitalizes energy, strengthens the body, promotes vitality.
Gently touch the tip of your ring finger to the tip of your thumb with the other three fingers stretched out.
Nervous system, increases the element of fire in the body which improves digestion.
Energy, health, and sexuality
When To Use
When you need an energy/metabolism boost, if you’re looking for support during a life change or transition, to strengthen your intuition.
Buddhi Mudra (Seal of Mental Clarity)
Buddhi translates as “higher mind” or “intellect”.
Promotes clear communication, intuition, and psychic development. It can also help relieve muscular pain.
Gently touch the tip of your little finger to the tip of your thumb with the other three fingers stretched out.
Balances water element in the body
When To Use
For support with communication, making sense of intuitive messages, and for greater access to your inner knowledge.
To begin your practice pick the mudra that resonates with you the most. Practice it for 40 days and then move on to the next one. If after 40 days you feel like there is more to explore keep going for 90 days. There is really no right or wrong way to do this. I encourage you to jump in and see where the practice takes you!
Yoga texts suggest practicing one mudra at a time for 45 minutes for the greatest benefits, all at once or in 3 segments of 15 minutes. I suggest starting with 7-10 minutes and working your way up. Sure 45 minutes is great if you can do it, but it is more important to be realistic about your current lifestyle and how much time you have to devote to this practice.
If you already have a meditation practice going you can easily add one of these mudras to it. There are many different ways to use them. For each of the mudras keep your arms straight and let your hands rest on your knees. To connect with more universal energy keep your palms facing the sky. If you feel like you need more grounding, turn your palms towards your knees. Experiment turning your palms in different directions and notice if it feels like a different energy. Practice these mudras sitting in your favorite meditation posture on the floor or sit in a chair if that is more comfortable.
Each mudra should be practiced with a slow and steady breath. Take long inhales and exhales through the nose. Once you find your rhythm with your breath bring your attention to the point where your fingers touch in the mudra. Allow your awareness to rest on that point and breathe for the length of time that you are working with.
Alternatively, you can focus your attention on your third eye or brow point (this is typically how it is often practiced in Kundalini yoga). If you are new to this practice setting a timer can be helpful, that way you can focus on the meditation and not worry about the time. With consistent practice your body will learn the timing of your meditation and you will naturally know when to stop.
The beauty of these mudras is that you can use them at any time. I often encourage students to practice them outside of more formal meditation too. Feel free to practice it lying down, standing up, on a hike in nature. Bringing these mudras into your life doesn’t need to be complicated or hard. Just start sprinkling them into your everyday and allow yourself to be open to receiving the messages they share with you!
Do you have a mudra practice? If not are are you inspired to begin one? I’d love to hear how you are or plan to make these incredible mudras part of your life!
Lots of love and happy mudra making ;)
// Photos by Sera Lindsey