If you are still new to the world of yoga, you have probably wondered if there is purpose to touching your thumb and forefinger while sitting in a lotus position.The answer is yes. It is more than just a hand gesture and there is more to it than meets the eye.
This gesture is one of many that are called Yoga Mudras. They are intentional and are used to facilitate the energy flow throughout the body.
It is an old science that aims to redirect energy, balance it and intensify the beneficial impact of yoga. But how do these hand gestures work and when should we use them?
How do Yoga Mudras work?
Think of your body as an electrical circuit where energy flows through wires – the nerves. This circuit begins and ends in the extremities: the hands and feet. When you press your fingers together in a meaningful way, you are activating the body’s power supply, your brain, which then regulates the flow of energy throughout your body. This adjustment and regulation of energy can intensify your practice and calm your mind.
How to perform Yoga Mudra?
There are many Yoga Mudra variations that can be used during your yoga flow or during meditation. Here are three you could start with:
Also known as the mudra of knowledge and wisdom, this yoga mudra is one of the most commonly used for a reason: it helps you seal energy into your body and connects you with the universe.
How to: Join the tip of your index with the tip of your thumb and let your other three fingers extend away. If you are seated in a lotus position, rest the back of your hands on your thighs with your palms facing the ceiling.
The mudra of consciousness is mostly used during meditation but can be used during yoga practice as well. It has a grounding effect and is very similar to the Gyana Mudra, but the only difference is the direction of your palms.
How to: Touch your index and thumb lightly together but face your palms downwards.
The mudra of salutation is often used with the word ‘Namaste’ at the end of the practice, which translates as ‘The light in me bows to the light in you’.
How to: Bring your palms together while placing your thumbs gently on your sternum with your fingers pointing upwards. Join your palms together, noticing whether the pressure is more intense in the dominant hand. Bend your chin towards your thumbs whilst bringing the back of your head slightly back.
What are the benefits of Yoga Mudra?
It is amazing how simple hand gestures can tremendously help the mind and the body.
Each Yoga Mudra, if practised with intention and meaning, has many benefits:
- Activates the flow of energy in the body;
- Links the mind and the body;
- Makes you feel stronger and energised;
- Calms your mind and focuses your thoughts;
- Gives you a stronger sense of balance;
- Stimulates your endorphins which boost your mood.