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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The Mudras

Gyan Mudra

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.

Shuni Mudra

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.

Surya Mudra

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.

Buddhi Mudra

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.

Apan Mudra

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.

Prana Mudra

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.

Dhyana Mudra

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

Parting Thoughts

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.

More by this Author


Lee Tea profile image

Lee Tea 2 years ago from Erie, PA

I'm in love with this article! So simple, I'll be using these throughout my day from now on...especially in times when I need these particular inspirations (like patience, for example). I knew very little about Mudras before reading this and am excited to have a new tool to try out and to use to help me through my day. I'm actually finding it difficult to do some of these...I look forward to practicing. Thanks for taking the time - write on!

Lee @ Lee's Teas

LupitaRonquillo profile image

LupitaRonquillo 2 years ago from Colorado

Very interesting, yoga for hands!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Great information, Brian, stuff I did not know but found fascinating. Thank you for the education.

Brian Prickril profile image

Brian Prickril 2 years ago from Savannah, GA Author

Lee Tea, I love your energy! Personally, the effect is very subtle. But I definitely sense it during meditation when I am very, very still. Have fun experimenting.

Brian Prickril profile image

Brian Prickril 2 years ago from Savannah, GA Author

LupitaRonquillo, I like that too--yoga for the hands. It's all about stirring up that life force inside of us. I think it's cool that these mudras can help do that discreetly throughout the day.

Brian Prickril profile image

Brian Prickril 2 years ago from Savannah, GA Author

Bill, I was thinking that almost everyone has seen these from time to time. They've probably even joked around and done one or two of them without any idea as to what the gesture actually means. I'm glad you got a little something out of this. Thanks.

mylindaelliott profile image

mylindaelliott 2 years ago from Louisiana

I love this and I could do it anywhere.

Brian Prickril profile image

Brian Prickril 2 years ago from Savannah, GA Author

Yes, my friend, that's the best part. I seem to feel the energy most when I am still and relaxed. Thanks.

moonfairy profile image

moonfairy 2 years ago

love the way you explain all this....I've heard of reflexology but had no idea about the hands. I'm going to use what I've learned here, so thank you!!!

Brian Prickril profile image

Brian Prickril 2 years ago from Savannah, GA Author

Thanks, moonfairy. I learned quite a bit myself while doing the research for this hub. I have had fun experimenting with the different hand gestures during meditation. It's very slight, but I seem to feel the energy shift inside of me from mudra to mudra.

moonfairy profile image

moonfairy 2 years ago

Brian, that's so cool...anxious to see for myself =)

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Very interesting! I used to use hand-based pressure to control headaches. The last image is beautiful. Babies probably know something we don't.

Brian Prickril profile image

Brian Prickril 2 years ago from Savannah, GA Author

Moonfairy, Give them a try to I think you'll see there's something to them. In my experience the energy is there, it's just very subtle.

Brian Prickril profile image

Brian Prickril 2 years ago from Savannah, GA Author

FlourishAnyway, thanks so much for stopping by. I learned some different pressure points while researching this, and the headache point is one I made sure to remember. I found that last image my accident. It just fit so well!

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 2 years ago from the Ether

I'm going to have to bookmark this. This is awesome. Trying these out for sure. :)

justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 2 years ago from Texas

Very interesting information. I am fluent in American Sign Language; although, I have not been around deaf people for a very long time. I remember thinking completely differently and feeling more in touch with my thoughts when I used ASL as my primary language at home. I think the use of the hands for communication and guiding energy and thoughts is very effective. Voted up, useful and interesting! :)

Brian Prickril profile image

Brian Prickril 2 years ago from Savannah, GA Author

kittythedreamer, you seem to be someone who is tuned-in to the subtle energies of the world and could probably enjoy some of these.

Brian Prickril profile image

Brian Prickril 2 years ago from Savannah, GA Author

justmesuzanne, that's a cool story, thanks. I like that idea of feeling more in touch with your thoughts through ASL. Thanks for stopping by.

Aleksandar 2 years ago

Beaddoodler profile image

Beaddoodler 2 years ago from Lubbock TX

How enlightening. I'm a reflexologist, but not too familiar with Yoga. This is very informative and interesting

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