This week marks the release of Read more →
Greetings friends and fellow Yogis!
Today we are going to take a look at 3 Yoga Hand Mudras; Anjali, Dhyana and Gyan Mudras. Chances are that if you haven’t practiced one of these hand positions or gestures during class, you have probably seen them all somewhere before. Mudra, in Sanskrit, translates to “seal” and the term is used to describe the different hand and finger positions practiced during yoga and meditation. The reason behind and the intention for using the Mudras are to stimulate a specific type of energy flow or intention within your body and life.
The Anjali mudra (AHN-jah-lee), is practiced by bringing the palms together in front of the heart and is likely to be the most familiar of the mudras that we will look at today. This gesture may also be practiced when saying Namaste and during certain asanas, such as in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) or in Vrksasana (Tree Pose) with the hands together above the head. The word Anjali means, “offering” and is often used to offer a greeting or farewell to someone. The use of both hands engages and symbolizes the connection between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Bringing the hands together represents the union of our yoga practice and the hands at the heart suggests an offering and opening of our awareness, and the centering of our energy. May also be referred to as hands at “heart center” or sometimes as “Prayer Pose”.
The Dhyana Mudra (DEE-ahn-ah), also known as the “gesture of meditation”, is practiced by resting your hands in your lap, both palms facing upward with the right hand laying on top of your left hand creating a little bowl. This is symbolizes how method, as represented by the masculine energy carried through the right hand, is supported by wisdom, the feminine energy of the left hand. Dhyana mudra may be practiced by only resting one hand in the lap and additionally, with some variations the tips of the thumbs touch. This mudra aids concentration, which is why it is often used during meditation as it provides mental relief and stops the mind from wandering. This gesture represents the balance of thought and tranquility as it also comes in handy during pranayama or while in seated resting postures, like Vajrasana (Firm Pose) or Sukhasana (Easy Pose). This gesture may be familiar as it is one commonly used in depictions of Buddha.
The Gyan (GHE-ahn) Mudra is the seal of knowledge. Practiced by gently pressing together the tips of the thumb and forefinger, letting the other fingers, rest straight and relaxed. There are many variations of the Gyan Mudra that help to guide the flow and direction of energy. These include the points of connectivity between the thumb and forefinger, the direction that the palms face and the direction that the other fingers are pointing (up, down, towards or away from the body). In Sanskrit, the word Gyan means wisdom, and practicing the mudra can be extremely calming, allowing for openness and ease in meditation. The Gyan mudra also awakens the endocrine system and also grounds the body by stimulating the Root Chakra. This mudra in its many variations are commonly practiced in the Kundalini Style of yoga, especially during chanting and meditation.
We hope that you have enjoyed these Yoga Hand Mudras, Have a Namaste!
Ashley Freeman is a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance. Certified in Raja Yoga, her experience includes private in-home lessons, workplace wellness programs, and group instruction teaching various class formats and yoga styles. Find her on Google+