By Sejal Shah | Updated: July 30, 2020
Relief from anxiety is right at your fingertips. Learn these five easy Yoga Mudras and begin to cope with stress and panic attacks naturally.
What is Mudra?
The word Mudra in Sanskrit means “gesture”, “mark”, or “seal”. A hasta mudra is a gesture or a hand position meant to channel and direct energy in the body by encouraging the free flow of energy. Mudras have been used for thousands of years to help ease the mind and body, providing relief from a number of different conditions including dealing with common anxiety issues.
The practitioner of uses their body in many ways, but ultimately with the intention of drawing the self inward. Mudras are powerful tools for accomplishing this. There are more than 100 known mudras that have been developed over the centuries. Each type is thought to have a specific effect on the body and mind by clearing energy centers and energy channels. Here are five commonly used mudras that have been advocated for centuries for relieving stress, anxiety, and depression.
How to practice Mudra
If you have been experiencing anxiety and stress, regular practice of these easy hand gestures can help you. Take a comfortable seat, and practice any of these mudras with slow and gentle breaths for 5-15 minutes. Since hasta mudras work to change the energy in the body and spirit, it’s best if you incorporate conscious breathing into your practice. Breathe full and free on the inhale, and exhale the breath out completely. Find a rhythm with the breath. Try to make the inhale and exhale the same length--inhale for a count of 4, and exhale for a count of 4.
Touch the tips of the index finger and thumb and keep the other 3 fingers (index, ring, and pinky finger) stretched, relaxed and joined.
Also known as the chin mudra, this is probably the most familiar mudra in mainstream society. Meditators are often seen pairing this mudra with their practice.
The Gyan mudra increases your mental alertness. It also prevents drowsiness. This mudra connects us to our higher Self, helps lift dull energy out of the body, creates a more receptive state, calms the mind, and brightens the overall mood. It is often used in meditation, pranayama, and asana.
2. Kalesvara Mudra
Touch tips of middle fingers to each other. Touch the first two joints of the index fingers, and touch your thumbs. Bend the remaining fingers inward. Point your thumbs toward your chest and spread your elbows to the outside. Observe your breath and lengthen the pause after inhaling and after exhaling.
The Sanskrit word Kala means time, and Esvar means God or higher power. This mudra is dedicated to the God of time.
This mudra will bring down feelings of nervousness and calms down the agitated mind.
3. Uttarabodhi Mudra
Hold the hands in front of the solar plexus. Interlock the fingers. Index fingers and thumbs of both hands should be joined together. While the index fingers point to the ceiling, point the thumbs to the floor.
Practicing Uttarabodhi mudra is a great way to calm an agitated mind or soothe the nerves before starting any seemingly overwhelming task.
Also known as the mudra for enlightenment, it is believed that Uttarabodhi mudra is great for improving self-confidence and realizing the inner Self. It removes fear and teaches one to not worry about anything and keep faith in a higher power.
Uttarabodhi mudra is also said to help problem-solving and decision-making, as well as improve focus and concentration.
4. Apan Vayu Mudra
The tip of the index finger should be pressed lightly against the root of the thumb and second and the third finger should touch the inner tip of the thumb.
Apan vayu mudra, also known as Mritsanjeevani mudra, is a very powerful mudra. In ancient India, it was believed to save lives in the case of heart attacks.
This mudra decreases the vata element within the body, so very useful for people who have anxiety due to imbalance. It reduces anxiety and regulates your hormones, so it is ideal for hyperactive and impulsive people.
5. Agni Shakti Mudra
Touch fingers of both hands to the palms, and join both tips of the thumbs together.
Next time you feel anxious and find yourself losing control, instead of biting your nails and panicking, try these simple hand gestures and find peace and serenity within yourself.
I would also recommend you to join this FREE with a live instructor to experience some breathing exercises and meditation to manage your mind and anxiety.
Keep in mind that while hasta mudras can offer great healing, no mudra is a substitute for medication or medical attention. Mudras are best used in a holistic practice of wellness that includes the advice of your doctor.
Sejal Shah, E-RYT 500 Sri Sri Yoga Teacher, YACEP, C-IAYT, Meditation Teacher, Happiness expert, NYU Post Graduate Medical School approved Yoga-CME retreat facilitator, Mind-Body Wellness Writer, Homeopath. She can be followed on , , and .