Hand gestures or mudras have been used by yogis and spiritual leaders of the East for thousands of years.
These are positions of the hands that are believed to have an influence on a person's consciousness and impact the physical, emotional, and spiritual flow of energy. This is why they're widely used in meditation even today.
They're "tools to help us reach a higher level of conscious awareness and better understand ourselves," according to The Healers Journal.
More than 100 mudras exist, and every single one serves a special purpose. Many of us have been regularly placing our hands in mudra positions without even realizing it.
Since different areas of the hands are connected to parts of the body and brain, when we perform certain gestures, we're stimulating the corresponding parts of the brain and creating a "specific energy circuit in the body" that will help us achieve a certain state of mind.
The elements in your hands
On top of all that, each of our fingers represent one of the five elements of the universe, and mudras are a way to regulate and balance these elements within our bodies.
The thumb represents fire as well as universal consciousness while the Index finger represents air and individual consciousness. Mudras for the water elements require the pinky, and earth is represented by the ring finger.
Finally, ether or aakash, which unifies all the elements together is represented by the middle finger.
Let's discover the 8 of the most common mudras and how you can use them:
1. Gyan Mudra
The mudra of knowledge, also known as the chin mudra, is the most recognizable and used gesture in yoga.
The meeting of the tips of the thumb and index finger while the other three fingers are stretched out symbolizes the unity of fire and air as well as the individual and universal consciousness.
Gyan mudra is believed to improve concentration, bring peace and increase creativity. It'll also stimulate the pituitary and endocrine glands, prevent insomnia, and boost your mood.
To open yourself up to receiving knowledge, raise your palm to face upwards. If you're in need of calm, let your hand rest on your leg while maintaining the mudra.
2. Varuna Mudra
Varuna mudra, which is achieved by bringing the tips of your little finger and thumb together, is great for balancing the fluids in your body.
When the water element in your body is in check, you'll notice improvement in your emotions as well as appearance.
Health-wise, Varuna mudra can help with hormone-related conditions, relieve constipation and cramps, regulate menstrual cycles, and heal skin problems.
Try doing the gesture a few times a day for at least 15 minutes.
3. Prithvi Mudra
Placing the tip of your ring finger to the thumb will result in the prithvi mudra, which increases the earth element while decreasing the fire element within the body.
Try this gesture if you're looking to increase spiritual and physical strength, endurance, gain weight, and improve the health of your bones, skin, hair, nails, and internal organs.
Regularly practicing Prithvi mudra a couple of minutes every day will bring great results.
4. Vayu Mudra
Wrap your thumb over your index finger while the rest of the fingers remain straight and you have Vayu mudra, which deals with air imbalance in the body.
In addition to reducing indecisiveness and anxiety, this gesture is especially helpful in providing relief from painful conditions that affect the joints, including arthritis, gout and rheumatism.
It also helps strengthen the immune system to protect your body from illnesses that affect the chest, like the common cold and the flu. Some even believe it is beneficial to those suffering from Parkinson's disease by alleviating some of the debilitating symptoms.
The gesture can also help reduce gas-related issues in the body, like bloating.
5. Dhyana Mudra
Although it is often used by Hindu yogis, Dhyana mudra is also common in Buddhism. If you carefully look at a Buddha statue, chances are his hands are performing Dhyana mudra.
If staying cool, calm, and collected seems like an impossible task, give this hand position a try.
All you have to do is overlap your left hand with your right, then place them on your lap to calm your nerves and reduce everyday stress. The gesture also improves the ability to concentrate.
6. Prana Mudra
The Prana or life mudra is made by touching the tip of your thumb, pinky and ring finger while the remaining two fingers remain straight.
If you're feeling in need of an energy boost, this is the gesture for you. It will also enhance the immune system, reduce hunger, and help with eye and sleep problems.
7. Surya Mudra
Place your ring finger at the root of your thumb, then wrap the thumb around it to achieve the Surya mudra.
This gesture does wonders for restoring overall balance, increasing body heat, improving digestion, and speeding up the metabolism. You can also enjoy reduced stress, fatigues, and cholesterol levels thanks to Surya mudra.
Those who suffer from diabetes and liver problems will also benefit from this mudra. Experts recommend that this mudra also be performed during the colder months.
8. Hridaya Mudra
Place your index finer at the root of your thumb, then bring the tips of your ring and middle finger to your thumb and press them together. Finally, extend the pinky to perfect your Hridaya mudra.
Also known as the heart mudra, Hridaya mudra is important for people with both emotional and physical heart problems.
If you're going through relationship issues or a period of conflict, this gesture will help put your heart to ease by releasing pent-up emotions.
Practicing this mudra will also allow your heart to heal and open up to be loved again.
Do you or anyone you know practice mudras? Let us know!