Yoga Tattva Mudra Vigyan – Healing with Hand Mudras
Yoga is often perceived as a physical practice of postures that helps an individual’s flexibility, balance, and strength. It is also often seen as a form of exercise that includes breathing techniques that helps facilitate calmness, peace of mind, and relaxation within an individual. A daily yoga asana practice helps a practitioner reach their utmost inner potential with these yoga practices and techniques. But, we often overlook the psycho-spiritual and psycho-physiological subtleties that shows how yoga is an internal practice that goes beyond the superficial.
As we continue to practice yoga asanas, pranayama, concentration, and meditation, we begin to feel the subtle affects within our bodies, minds, and internal consciousnesses. And what helps with this deeper understanding and cultivation of internal energy are mudras or postures of the hands.
This holistic system that involves healing postures of the hands is referred to Yoga Tattva Mudra Vigyan or Yoga Mudras. The sanskrit word, Mudra is translated as a gesture or position. These hand postures lock and guide internal energy flow to the brain. With these subtle hand gestures we can communicate to the body and mind holistically as each area of the hand connects to a certain part of the superficial body and psyche.
When mudras are practiced with pranayama or breathing exercises, they help rejuvenate energetic prana flow within the superficial body through stimulation of certain areas of the body that are involved with breathing. In addition, the mudras help create a subtle connection within the instinctual areas of the brain that influences the unconscious autonomic nervous system of the superficial body. Because of this holistic rejuvenation and subtle connection within the body, energetic prana flow becomes balanced and redirected. Such subtleties affect the minute and infinitesimal areas of the superficial body like tendons, ligaments, veins, arterioles, bronchi within the lungs, glands, and sensory organs.
This holistic science of hand postures can also help heal bodily ailments and balance the five elements which are also known as the Panch-tattvas by enlivening them to their utmost potential. The physical body is mainly made up of these five elements: Air, Water, Fire, Earth, and Aakash (Ether). When these elements become imbalanced, they disrupt the internal workings of the immune system and allow disease and other ailments to occur. Any imbalances and deficiencies to these elements can be rejuvenated and restored back to their optimal levels by connecting one part of the body to another.
Each finger represents an element:
- Thumb – Fire
- Index (Pointer finger) – Air
- Middle – Aakash (Ether)
- Ring (Earth)
- Little (Water)
With this in mind, when a finger connects with the thumb, that finger becomes charged with the fire element. Thus, the element then becomes balanced and purified. When this happens, the disease which caused the element to become imbalanced is cured. To balance integrative elements within the body and restore health, the mudras establish electromagnetic currents in order to enliven energetic flows of prana. When practicing each mudra for rejuvenation and healing, make sure to exert enough pressure between the thumb and finger in order to feel the flow of energy through the nadis or psychic energetic channels up the arms.
Here are some basic hand mudras for healing and energy rejuvenation:
This mudra is a representation of knowledge and wisdom. And it is also a symbolization of the planet Jupiter.
Involves connecting the thumb and index finger together (Connecting Fire and Air), while keeping the remaining three fingers stretched out straight and joined.
- Balances out the Pituitary and Endocrine glands
- Increases memory and sharpens brain function
- Enhances concentration
- Imparts happiness, receptivity, and calm
- Helps with sleeplessness, insomnia, and laziness.
- Helps cure psychological disorders like hysteria, anger, depression
Shuni Mudra (The Seal of Patience)
This mudra is a representation of patience and commitment. It is also a symbolization of Saturn.
Involves connecting the thumb and middle finger together (Connecting Fire and Aakash or Ether). Keep the remaining three fingers stretched out straight.
- Promotes patience and discernment
- Promotes courage to fulfill one’s responsibilities
- Helps relieve pains and diseases relating to the air such as impaired hearing and earaches
- Helps relieve nausea and vomiting
Helps relieve problems with vertigo
This mudra represents life, rejuvenation, and health. It is also a symbolization of the Sun.
Involves bending the ring finger with the thumb (Fire and Earth) onto the palm of the hand.
- Helps with reducing weight off the body
- Helps the digestive organs and relieves indigestion
- Holistically boosts metabolism
- Gives revitalized energy and strength to the nervous system
- Sharpens the center within the thyroid gland
- Relieves anxiety
This mudra is a representation of communication. It is also a symbolization of Mercury.
Involves connecting the little finger with the thumb (Connecting Fire and Water)
- Stimulates psychic development
- Creates capacity to clearly and intuitively communicate
- Helps create a sense of mental clarity within the mind
- Helps improve awareness through feeling and intuition
- Helps relieve muscular pain
The tips of the middle and ring finger (Aakash or Ether and Earth) touches the tip of the thumb. The forefinger and little finger are stretched out and straight.
- Helps move prana energy to the periphery of the body
- Regulates the excretory system and helps maintain internal chemical homeostasis
- Aids in waste elimination from the mouth, eyes, ears, nose, throat, etc.
- Regulates diabetes
- Helps with constipation
- Helps with urine obstruction
Involves touching the tips of the ring and little finger (Earth and Water) with the thumb. The index and middle finger are stretched out and straight.
- Helps the individual feel energized when fatigued and/or depressed
- Strengthen the immune system
- Increase prana shakti or life force energy within the body
- Increase the body’s vitality when deprived of sustenance
- Improve weak eyesight and quiescence (motionlessness) of the eyes
- Helps raise confidence within an individual
Involves bending the index finger with your thumb (Air and fire) onto the palm of your hand.
- Helps balance the elements of air and wind within the body
- Helps with flatulence and joint pain that are related to rheumatism, sciatica, arthritis, or gout.
- Helps ease uncontrollable tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease
- Helps manage pain caused by Polio
This mudra is also known as the “Prayer Mudra”.
Bring both hands together by pressing the palms together firmly and evenly with the fingers and the thumb pointing upwards.
- Balances both the left and right hemispheres of the brain
- Helps rejuvenate the Vagus nerve (One of the nerves within the nervous system that goes to the pineal gland in front of the body)
- Helps balances out the pineal gland and pituitary gland
- A holistic remedy for stress, depression, and anxiety
- Can be used to stimulate the Anahata (Heart) Chakra and the Ajna (Third Eye) Chakra
- Helps connect the individual with their inner divine self, with spirituality/divinity, and with other beings
- Helps the individual enter into a deeper meditative state
This mudra is commonly used in seated meditations such as Zazen (A form of meditation practiced by Zen Buddhists). I practice this mudra during my seated meditations as well.
Involves placing the right hand over the left with the thumbs slightly touching, creating a nice oval.
- Helps the mind bring attention inwards
- Helps increase self-awareness
- Promotes the flow of consciousness, mindfulness, insight, and intuition within
- Helps silence the mind of flowing thoughts
- Helps develop deep inner concentration and focus
- Alleviates apathy, hallucination, bad dreams, loss of memory, forgetfulness, irritability, and exasperation
- Helps normalize low and high blood pressures