A Basic Guide to Hand Mudras
Our hands play an important role in everything we do. But did you know that beneath their surface lies a control board for your entire body?
Those familiar with reflexology know that by stimulating certain pressure points in your hands and feet, it is possible to revitalize and balance energy in different parts of your body; including your organs and glands.
For instance, pressing a specific part of your thumb can relieve a headache. Massaging areas of your pinky finger can relax your neck and shoulders.
Hand mudras work in a very similar fashion. The word “mudra” translates to seal or gesture. A hand mudra is both a symbolic and therapeutic gesture mainly performed with the fingers. By positioning our fingers in various postures, we can influence how energy is channeled inside of us.
Think of it as opening an electrical circuit inside your body. Touching two fingers together can direct the flow of internal energy to where it's needed and create healthy benefits and a mind/body balance.
Mudras have been used for thousands of years to prevent illnesses and also as a way to communicate with our internal organs and our mind. Many cultures believe that these simple hand postures are more powerful than yogic poses or other spiritual practices.
How to Perform a Hand Mudra
The most ideal time to practice hand mudras is when you have time to concentrate and feel the effect; like during meditation, yoga practice, or deep breathing (pranayama) exercises.
But they are easy to do anywhere you wish: at work, in the car, or at home on the couch.
Different mudras work the energy in different regions of your body. Some mudras are best for calming your mind, while others are believed to help ease aches and pains.
Try using both hands for maximum benefits, and holding the poses for at least a few minutes.
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This mudra is known as the “seal of knowledge”. It is one of the most commonly used and highly recognized mudras.
When the first finger and thumb connect at the tips it is thought to encourage wisdom. Circulation in the brain is also increased which helps boost concentration and inspire creativity.
This mudra is known as the “seal of patience”. This mudra is associated with Saturn and related to discipline.
By bringing the middle finger and thumb together at the tips, you will experience patience, determination, and courage.
This mudra is known as the “seal of the sun”. This mudra relates to the fire element in the body. It is therefore believed to build heat, burn fat, and reduce cholesterol.
Note that the tips of the fingers do not touch. Here, the ring finger folds down and is held gently in place by the thumb. Practicing this mudra will eliminate fatigue and bring you vitality.
This mudra is known as the “seal of mental clarity”. The little finger represents Mercury and also communication.
When the little finger and thumb join at the tips it is thought to help stimulate your psychic abilities and also promote clear communication with others.
This mudra is known as the “energy mudra”. This mudra helps stimulate energy in the liver.
By bringing the tips of your ring and middle finger together with the tip of your thumb, the energy created is believed to help purify the body of toxins and eliminate urinary problems. It is a gesture of new beginnings.
The word “prana” means life force or life energy. This powerful mudra helps optimize the flow of that life force throughout your body, and promote overall good vitality and health. This mudra of "life" is also believed to boost the immune system and to be especially beneficial for your eyes and vision.
A mudra of contemplation. The two hands are placed in the lap, right over left with palms up and thumb tips touching. This mudra is best used in quiet meditation for an incredibly calming state of mind. It is a gesture of perfect balance of thought and total relaxation.
Here's a Few More to Try
These are only a few of the many different mudras. Sometimes they are even referred to as yoga for your hands. There is a popular theory which relates our five fingers to the five elements of our body: earth, fire, water, air and ether.
The idea is that all of our diseases are due to an imbalance of any of these five elements within us. Our fingers are believed to hold the characteristics of these elements, and can therefore influence them through various poses.
The next time you are good and relaxed, try closing your eyes and practicing a few of these hand postures. See for yourself if you can feel the subtle change in energy throughout your body. In fact, try this: the next time someone really makes you angry, instead of blowing up at them try pressing your palms and fingers together in a prayer position. The result might surprise you.