5 Powerful Yoga Hand Mudras and How to Use Them

Mudras are hand gestures that are used in yoga to increase personal power and health. Previously, we learned the four basic mudras and how they work. These mudras are created by joining the thumb to each of the four fingers.

Today, we’ll learn 5 powerful mudras that involve multiple finger connections and how to use them to increase our personal powers.

Mudra Basics

Look at your hand. You have five digits, and there are five elements. Each digit correlates to an element.

  • Thumb = Space
  • Pointer finger = Air
  • Middle finger = Fire
  • Ring finger = Water
  • Little finger = Earth

By joining your thumbs and fingers, yogis believe that you are joining those corresponding elements. When those elements unite, you are able to unleash certain powers within yourself.

1. Dhyana Mudra

Practice dhyana mudra to be reflective like Buddha.If this looks familiar, it’s because this is a common hand placement in statues of Buddha. As you can imagine, it’s often used to channel deep thoughts and enlightenment.

How to do it:  Place your hands in your lap with your palms up. Put your right hand on top of your left, and gently join your thumbs.

Why you do it:  As all elements unite, use this mudra to help encourage deeper thoughts, mental clarity, and profound concentration. According to the Chopra Center, this mudra can also bring tranquility and inner peace.

2. Anjali Mudra

Practice anjali mudra to show gratitude.To me, this looks like prayer hands. Globally, this mudra is a sign of love, gratitude, and respect.

How to do it:  Lightly join your finger pads of your right hand to your left. Keep a little bit of space between your palms and feel your body naturally heat that space. Let your thumbs gently touch your sternum (breastbone).

Why you do it:  As your palms join, feel all the elements unite. Use this mudra whenever you want to show respect or honor to someone or something.

3. Prana Mudra

Use prana mudra to help energize.Prana is the life force within each living thing. Some say that this mudra is one of the most important because of its ability to activate dormant energy within the body. That’s how this mudra received its name.

How to do it:  Connect the tip of your thumb to the tips of your ring finger and little finger.

Why you do it:  When space, water, and earth join; you can stir energy within you. Practice this mudra to activate dormant energy within the body. By doing this, you will feel more energized and stronger. It will also help you be more attuned to the energy around you.

4. Ganesha Mudra

Use ganesha mudra to remove obstacles from your life.Named after the Hindu god, Ganesh, this mudra is also believed to remove obstacles from your life.

How to do it:  Bring your left hand in front of your chest, and turn it so that the palm faces away from you and the thumb is pointing down. Place your right hand in front of your left so that the palms are facing each other. Lock your fingers.

Take a deep inhale. Then, as you exhale, gently pull your hands in opposite directions. When you inhale, release the pull and return to a relaxed state. Complete several repetitions with your hands this way. Then, switch your hands and complete the same number of repetitions the other way.

Why you do it:  When your hands lock, feel all the elements unite. According to the Chopra Center, “By performing this mudra, you bring your attention and energy into the heart center, opening up your lungs and heart to the subject of your meditation.”

5. Apana Mudra

To increase mental and physical digestion, use apana mudra.Although it may look like you’re flashing some devil horns, by practicing this mudra you can increase digestion and ward off evil.

How to do it:  Bring your middle and ring fingers either just below or to the tip of your thumb. Where you place your fingers depends on the discipline you practice. If you’re just learning of this mudra here, try out both positions and use the one that seems to work best for you.

Why you do it:  As space, water, and fire unite; your body will increase in mental and physical digestion. This mudra can also be helpful in eliminating waste from your body.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.