Since I am very passionate about how I can increase and maintain my health, I came along, many years ago, a self-healing method called the Mudras. Simply said, mudras are yoga done with your hands.
This is a very simple technique and everyone can do it. I even would call it a perfect method a whole family can do together and will see the benefit of doing so in due time.
What is Mudra?
The term mudra has many meanings. We can use it as a specific gesture of the hand that can mean something in the form of a mystic position, a seal, or a symbol. There are also eyes and body positions, even breathing techniques, which are also being called mudras.
However, in this article, we solely stick to the hand positions and how easily they can be applied. Through these hand positions, we can easily engage our whole body, as well our mind, by crossing, bending and touching other fingers of each hand. This alone is so amazing.
In the Ayurvedic Hindu healing tradition, each finger of our hands belongs to an element.
- Thumb to Fire
- Index finger to Air
- Middle finger to Heaven/Ether
- Ring finger to Earth
- Baby finger to Water
The thumb, symbolically, stands for the divine consciousness where the index finger symbolizes human consciousness.
With this gesture (see picture below) we will express our desire to become “ONE” with the divine our creator.
The History of Mudras
The interesting fact of history is that mudras are being known not just in Asia but throughout the world. However, where and when it has started remains a mystery to this day.
In Christianity, the raising of arms toward the heaven calling upon the divine like for protection, or for the help of any kind, is still being used today.
When we observe our Western culture, we can find lots of hand gestures we might use more subconsciously but will use them always to make a point.
We cross our fingers to wish someone good luck or, “flip the middle finger” to show someone how low we think of them, or keep our thumb up to signify what we just saw, heard, or seen as good. The opposite would show the thumb facing down.
A method the emperors of Rome liked to use when they decided who of the gladiators is the winner and which one needs to die.
Then, there is the good old handshake, not just to greet one another, but also to seal a deal. We applause by clapping our hands, after seeing a good performance, or we enjoy holding hands and show our affection or support to another person. This too can be a mudra.
However, in India, mudras and hastas (arm poses) are strong components of religious activities and many of these mudras and hastas are significant depictions of the Hindu gods.
A person being in prayer, using a certain mudra position, also believes in the special power and strength, represented by these mystical hand positions.
One of the most known mudras of the major gods like Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer, can be seen in the pictures below.
Mudras are also very important in an Indian dance performance by using the different hand, eyes and body movements, expressing the content of the story done so by the dancer.
Mudras furthermore play a role in Tantric rituals and in Buddhism. In Hatha yoga, through the different hand and body positions, it can express the different states of the mind like joy and serenity, but also anger and grief and can reverse it by positively influencing the psyche.
How to use Mudras
Using mudras isn’t that difficult, therefore, I recommend that you get a good book on mudra poses either from your local bookstore, online or through your local library.
Just try it out for two weeks or even a whole month, practicing daily for at least 5-10 minutes.
To give you a head start I have chosen a few mudras, which I believe are good to start with and are being easy to do.
For each of the mudras, I will provide some information about what are they, how to use them for and what are their benefits.
You can use mudras by sitting on a chair, lying on the bed or floor, standing upright, or when walking.
NOTE: However, when you are practicing mudras always be mindful when doing so. That’s all.
- Apan Mudra “The Energy Mudra”
Use of position: use each hand by placing the thumb, the middle finger, and the ring finger together, extending the other fingers
Time of usage: hold this mudra with both hands for at least 5-45 minutes. You further can use it 3x per day for 15 minutes each, be creative and make it fit into your daily schedule.
The benefit of this Mudra: it supports the removal of waste and toxins from the body and even might to help eliminate urinary problems.
This mudra will stimulate the wood element who is in connection with the liver and gallbladder and holds the power and pleasure of springtime, new adventures and a new vision for the future.
The Apan Mudra has also a wonderful stabilizing effect on the mind, will give us more patience, inner balance, more harmony, confidence, and serenity.
Affirmation for the Apan Mudra: “I plant my seeds with the highest care and in return will receive a plentiful harvest which I accept with love and gratitude”
- LINGA Mudra “Upright Mudra”
Use of Position: Put your hands together and claps your fingers where one thumb will remain upright, encircle this thumb with the thumb and index finger of your other hand.
Time of Usage: If possible, use this mudra for 15 minutes 3x a day, or whenever needed.
The benefit of this Mudra: This mudra position can help to increase the resistance against the common cold, cough, and chest infections. It might help to loosen up mucus and can further help people who like to suffer from (sudden) weather changes.
CAUTION: When this mudra is in use for too long the person might start to feel lethargic even sluggish. If these signs occur the best way to handle is by shortening the exercise of this mudra.
Affirmation of the Linga Mudra: “The power of resistance against everything which is not for my Highest Good, will develop from moment to moment”
- Pran-Mudra “Life Mudra”
Use of Position: Place the fingertips of the ring finger and the little finger together with the tip of the thumb, the middle finger and the index finger will remain extended. Use this mudra position with both of your hands.
Time of Usage: use this position for 5-30 minutes or, 15 minutes 3x per day.
The Benefit of this Mudra: This mudra stimulates and nourishes the energy of the pelvic floor. It is in a deep connection with the Root Chakra. The Pran-Mudra can increase vitality by reducing fatigue and nervousness, it also can strengthen and improve eyesight. Mentally, it can improve our assertiveness, keep a healthy self-confidence, and can give us the needed courage to start anew, getting a fresh start.
Affirmation of the Pran Mudra: “My appetite for any life adventures is always a healthy one and I can easily digest the challenges life is giving me.”
- Ganesha Mudra “The Elefant, the deity who overcomes all obstacles“
Use of Position: Take your left hand in front of your chest facing the palm outward. Bent your fingers and grasp the left hand with your right hand, the back of the right hand is also facing outward.
When exhaling pull the hands apart without letting go of them. The muscles in your upper arms and chest area will tense up.
Time of Usage: Repeat this position 6x then let the hands rest in this position, in front of the sternum. Observe your feelings in this area, then change the hand position where the palm of the right hand and the back of the left hand is facing outward and repeat the exercise once again 6 x. Do this exercise just once a day.
The Benefit of this Mudra: This mudra shows the most beneficial outcome by strengthening the heart muscle, stimulating the overall heart activity, may open the bronchial tubes and most of all will release any tension in the chest area.
It is likewise beneficial to the fourth chakra by enabling courage, confidence and an openness to our personal environment.
Affirmation of the Ganesha Mudra: ” I meet every person in my life with openness, confidence, and courage.”
Using Mudras with other Tools
Using mudra positions with other tools like music, colors, or meditation is also possible and not uncommon.
Holding one of the above-described mudra positions during a meditation session will not only strengthen the outcome but will enhance the awareness of your body as well the part of it you might have with some difficulties. Whatever might come out of it, embrace it.
Using colors might be as well a wonderful experience when being used with mudras. To do so, you can use fine silk of cloth, or if possible using a fine silk glove, cotton is okay too, just make sure you will use a natural product.
Every color has its own significant frequency and sometimes we have a lack of a certain color/frequency, or we even might have too much of it. However, even though you might not 100% familiar with how much, or how little you carry one of the color frequencies within your whole body system, you still can use the colors. Over time, you will develop a sense of which color is more, or less needed.
Here are the most used colors in a person’s life and for what they stand.
BROWN: is the strongest color, connected with the earth promoting strong stability, too much of it can lead to stagnation
RED: is stimulating, will enhance circulation, gives us warmth, can send an alert, even trigger aggressiveness
ORANGE: can improve our mood, stimulates creativity, activates sexuality, but also can trigger superficiality
YELLOW: regulates digestion, alerts our mind and being more mindful of our decisions, but it also can make us abuse our personal power toward others as well toward ourselves
GREEN: is a calming color on all levels, it is a color of healing and will give us the ability to look out for new things and to explore them
BLUE: is likewise a very calming color, especially when we need to concentrate on an important project, it can give us a sense of security and protection, and peace of mind
VIOLET: is the color of spirituality and transformation, a higher level of healing and connectedness with our higher self/soul
WHITE: entails all the other colors of the rainbow spectrum and beyond, symbolizing birth and rebirth
BLACK: is a color who either is fear of symbolizing only death and despair, or being worshiped like in a New Moon, or Full Moon celebration of different spiritual groups. In reality though, the color Black carries, like the color white, all the colors of the spectrum only on the lower frequency level as its counterpart White.
The color Black already carries an abundance within itself, the emptiness of all there is. It is a color of regaining strength, of retreat and most of all protection.
It is not uncommon for teenagers to wear lots of black for a while and they do it in a more subconscious way to protect themselves, because being very vulnerable, they find themselves at a new gateway, entering a new stage of their lives.
However, using black for way too long can put ourselves not only into depression, or into a sad mood, it so will weaken our body system.
Using music, and by that I mean the relaxing kind of music, is likewise a very good and deepening tool to heal and gain awareness. When you like to meditate with music you using two tools, at the same time, which is totally fine.
We all have different tastes in music, but we also can agree that music, which has a calming and relaxing effect, is the best way to go. Music therapy, being used in certain clinics and rehab centers, isn’t all that new and there are lots of research already done where the results are promising and prove the positive effect on the healing process of a person.
However, music being used on a healthy person who is experiencing any kind of stress, or tension, which can lead, if unaddressed, to an acute, or chronic inflammation and exhaustion can have a positive influence.
The following recommendation can help you get the most out of it by using music with the mudras.
- Determine your personal taste in music (instrumental no vocals)
- Determine the playtime of the music (between 15 minutes to one hour and everything in between)
- Try to listen to the same piece of music for at least 3 days in a row, giving some time for your body system to absorb the frequency of the music
- Try to listen consciously and let any thoughts, which will arise, go by
Again, try it out for a considerable time and see what will happen.
My personal Experience
In the mid-90s I discovered the use of mudras by following a documentary about them on the TV. The person talking about them in an interview was a man by the name Kim da Silva.
I became intrigued and bought one of his books to learn more about it and to try it out by myself. I kept going at least for a month or two to see if I can recognize any differences in certain areas of my body or conditions I was experiencing. It surprised me that, i.e. my blood pressure became more normalized again, and constant muscle tension got reduced to almost nil.
Using the mudras became a lifestyle for me, at least until some other life changes put it on the back burner and yes; it then got forgotten for quite some time.
By writing this article I started to re-read the book again and practices the mudras, on a more regular schedule, once again.
I know it can and will help me improve my overall health by bringing more mental clarity, emotional balance, and some calmness into my life to master daily life challenges more easily.
To work with the mudras is a safe and non-invasive method and can be a positive experience for the whole family.
However, even though there are a variety of well-written books available where someone can learn how to use the mudra positions the right way; if there is an opportunity to attend a course, in person or online, I recommend it to do so.
I hope you have found this article about mudras intriguing and if you have more questions or like to share your own experience in using mudras, do so by leaving a comment in the box below.
The information being shared in this article is for the reader to try them out by using their own discretion. The information which is being shared in this article is for educational purposes only and is not to treat any existing illness or condition.
If unsure or in doubt always contact your medical practitioner.