As mamas, we are all looking for ways to improve our health and wellbeing because we know that what’s good for mama, is good for baby. So if you’re not already including Mudras in your yoga practice this post will give you the run down on what they are, what to use them for and how to practice.
I am a big fan of mudras and over the past few years have been using them more and more. And like most things, the more you practice the more impact you’ll experience.
The 5 Elements
Put simply, Mudra in Sanskrit means ‘seal’ or ‘closure’. A hand gesture use to direct the flow of energy within the body, used most commonly during meditation and breath practices. In Ayurveda, we talk about the universe being made up of five elements. Each finger is thus represents one of each.
Thumb = Fire
Index = Air
Middle = Aakash/Space
Ring = Earth
Little = Water
What do we use Mudras for?
- Correct an imbalance in one of the five elements
- Emotional healing (like the BONUS guided meditation below)
- Improve posture
- Facilitate breathing
- Cognitive reframing
- Improve overall health + wellbeing
How do they work?
There is quiet a science behind mudras. By holding our hands in a certain way, messages are sent to our brain and the body then responds in a certain way. Things such as changing the way we breath, improving our posture and positive affect to our nervous system.
3 Common Mudras + there Benefits
(1) Gyan Mudra
Known as the gesture for knowledge this is one of the most common mudras you’ll find in a yoga class. There are two ways of performing this mudras, with the palms facing down or up.
Thumb and index finger to touch. Other three fingers lightly stretched. Palms face up or down on the knees.
+ When the palms face down the breath is drawn into the deepest part of the lungs calming your nervous system.
+ When the palms face up the heart is open and it is easier to move into a meditative state
(2) Dhyana mudra
Dhyana meaning meditation in sanskrit, this is a great mudra to use during meditation. It also links directly to our sacral chakra.
Place the hands on top of one another, palms facing up (right on top) and rest them at the naval. Bring your thumbs to touch to form a triangle.
+ Improves concentration
+ Balances left + right side of the brain
+ Calms the nervous system
(3) Anjali Mudra
We often start and finish with our hands in this position as we say Namaste. It is used during our physical yoga practices with many benefits.
Palms to touch at the heart space.
+ Connects right + left side of the brain
+ Connects you with your highest self
+ Promotes gratitude and honouring of one’s self and others