Therefore the goddess sleeping at the entrance of Brahma’s door should be constantly aroused with all effort, by performing mudra thoroughly.
– author unknown.
The word Mudra roughly translates to “gesture” or “seal”. Some mudras are performed by the entire body although in the West we more often only recognise those performed by the hands and fingers. Mudra redirects prana that would be usually lost back into the body.
Mudras fall into five categories :
- Hasta Mudra – hand gestures
- Mana Mudra – head gestures
- Kaya Mudra – posture gestures
- Bandha Mudra – lock gestures
- Andhara Mudra – perineal gestures
Mudras work directly on the currents of prana flowing through the body. With the correct use of mudras it is said that kundalini can be awakened and that the yogi can develop psychic powers.
Much like reflexology, each of the sections of the hand has a symbolic meaning.
- Thumb – universal consciousness
- Index finger – individual consciousness
- Middle finger – Sattwa
- Ring finger – Rajas
- Little finger – Tamas
Chin (or Janna) Mudra
We find this classic mudra by pressing the thumb and forefinger together and leaving the other fingers extended and slightly apart and relaxed.
Jnana mudra (palms down) is the gesture of intuitive knowledge and is often used during pranayama. Chin mudra (palms up) is the gesture of consciousness and is used more during meditation and asana practice.
In touching those fingers together, the individual consciousness bows to the universal consciousness as the find unity.
Hridaya Mudra is similar to Chin mudra but it connects the thumb to the middle finger which redirects the prana towards the heart. This is beneficial for releasing emotions and any heart based meditation.
This mudra is common across many cultures and is recognised as the “prayer”. Anjali mudra is performed by pressing the palms of the hands together. The fingers are together with fingertips pointing up. The hands are pressed together firmly and evenly.
The mudra has the same symbolic meaning as the word Namaste – the connection with the Divine in everything.