Have you ever been to a yoga class and had your instructor invite you to touch your thumb to your pointer finger? Do you know what this is or why it is done during yoga and meditation? This action is called a mudra, Sanskrit for “mark” or “seal,” which is a symbolic, ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism.
I have become so accustomed to performing this gesture, I will sometimes do it on my own during meditation or while stretching my arm out for dancer pose, even though I know little about the origin or meaning of mudras. This inspired me to dig deeper and learn more about mudras, and let me tell you, there is SO much to learn. Over the next 5 weeks on the blog, I am looking forward to sharing a little bit from what I have learned in my research on mudras, how they can help you in everyday life, and I will teach you 6 different mudras for your daily practice.
What are mudras?
Mudras are hand gestures performed to invoke a specific flow of energy. Each area on the hand corresponds with different parts of the body. Think of mudras as yoga for your hands.
Where do mudras come from?
Mudras are rooted in Ayurvedic traditions but can also be found in Buddhism, yoga, and even martial arts. I’ll be focusing on mudras from an Ayurvedic perspective. If you want to find more about Ayurveda, please click here.
Mudras stem from the Ayurvedic belief that our bodies are made of 5 elements; earth, air, water, fire, and ether or space. Each finger represents one of these elements, and by touching the fingers together in certain ways, you will help activate and balance these elements.
I chose the Gyan mudra to start this series because it is the most common and easily recognizable mudra, and I really wanted to know what it meant! The Gyan mudra is the knowledge and wisdom mudra and is accomplished by touching the tip of the pointer finger to the tip of the thumb like this.
Practicing the Gyan mudra is great for helping with mental fog, stress relief, and memory. It is a great mudra for meditation because of its ability to calm the body and focus the mind.
I hope I’ve helped to demystify mudras for you! If you try out the Gyan mudra in your next meditation or walk let me know what you think about it. Be sure to check back next week for more information about the mudras.
If you’ve been following me for a while you know that I love meditating with the lunar phases. If you’re looking for a guided meditation to practice the Gyan mudra, I suggest downloading my free waning moon meditation here.
Cassie Uhl is a published author, artist, intuitive, and founder of Zenned Out. She created Zenned Out in 2012 with the mission to build a brand that normalizes spirituality. In 2018 she self-published her popular and interactive Goddess Discovery Book series. In 2020 her writing and art became more mainstream with Understanding Auras, Understanding Crystals, and Understanding Chakras, published by The Quarto Group. Her writing style and art combine to help marry accessibility with deep spiritual topics. It is her goal to help others understand and live spiritual practices that can change the world. Inspired by her open-minded grandmother, Cassie has been meditating and working with her energy since her teenage years. She received her 200hr YTT in 2012 with a focus on breathwork. Now, her work focuses on energy work, journeying, mediumship, death midwifery, and healing through traditional Celtic shamanic practices.