Hindu mudras and yoga have been popular in the East for more than 4000 years. But they are still relatively unknown. In this guide, I will fully reveal everything there is to know about the movements of the hands and the spiritual body position of this mudra.
The purpose of the article with this guide is to present the main guide and list of mudras of hand (hasta mudras), including Hindu mudras, yoga mudras, and Buddhist mudras.
What is mudra?
Yoga mudras done by hand (cubits) are mostly used in Hatha Yoga. Mudras are symbolic movements that involve various parts of the body. For example, there are mudras that involve the eyes, body, respiratory organs and of course, there are mudras that use the hands and fingers.
Different mudras symbolize different states of mind. For example, the Abhaya mudra, which we will see later, symbolizes courage. Gyan Mudra, meanwhile, brings peace and calm. For all mental conditions, there is an appropriate mudra.
Some mudras, like meditation mudras, symbolize the state of mind. But not only do meditation mudras symbolize the state of mind, but they also help access these states of mind.
How Does the Hand of Yoga Work?
Mudras are a way to use body position and most hand positions for healing. Mudra yoga activates certain parts of the brain and body in a manner similar to reflexology. We can learn a lot about the use of yoga mudras by considering hand reflexology charts.
When we use the hand mudra. or “Hasta”, we activate the hands and fingers affecting the correlated parts of the body, as shown in the chart above.
However, some yoga mudras use not only the hands but also other parts of the body. Maha-mudras, for example, is the whole body mudras done by stretching the spine and grabbing hold of one leg. Mudra in yoga that uses the body utilizes the psychology of nonverbal communication (body language).
Thanks to science we know that the way we hold the body has a direct effect on the state of our mind. For example, when we try to look within ourselves to enter intuition, we will naturally move our eyes closer, become semi-crossed and lookup between our eyebrows. We will do this naturally and unconsciously. But this exact position, with eyes slightly crossed and looking up between the eyebrows, happens to be the exact same position used in the Shambhavi mudra, “Eyebrow Removal Gesture” which, not by accident, is used for insight and intuition.
If we are sensitive in doing one of the hand mudras (there are 60 mudra lists below) for a few minutes, we will feel the difference in mental state.
This tells us that mudras are natural body language movements. Therefore, when we practice the yoga mudra or the meditation mudra, we deliberately place our bodies in movements that we have unconsciously made throughout our lives.
Usually, our mental state changes the way we hold the body. If we are kind and generous, we will stretch our hands up as if offering something. This is body language that we do unconsciously when we feel good and generous.
What if we consciously raise our hands with our palms up? Then we will produce a mental state of kindness and generosity.
The mind creates mudras. Mudras affect the mind.
Many cultures believe that the universe consists of different elements, for example, sharing the same universal elements, earth, air, fire, and water and that some cultures, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, also recognize space (ether).
The better we regulate the basic elements in the body, the healthier we will be.
- Earth: Earth, or Bhumi, refers to solid things, which include your own body.
- Air: Air is called Pavan in Sanskrit and is related to breathe.
- Fire: Fire (Agni) provides warmth and can refer to body heat and warmth provided by breath.
- Water: (Jala) is one of the most important elements for health, well-being, and survival. All fluids in the body are under this element.
- Space: (Ether / Aakasha) is an element that unites the others.
When these elements are balanced and harmonious in the body, we will be healthy. And when these elements are out of balance we may suffer from illness, both mental and physical.
The hand mudra relates to these elements in a certain way
- Mudras related to the Earth element will cover the ring finger
- Mudras related to water will cover the index finger
- Mudras related to Fire will include the thumb
- Water-related mudras will include the little finger
- The Mudra for Ether will use the middle finger.