Yoga Mudras for Beginners: 5 Hand Gestures with Steps and Benefits

Learn why and how to use Chin, Anjali, Prana, Apana, and Anjali Mudra in yoga.


By VINEET KAUL | Published on June 29, 2021

 
  • Mudras are simple but powerful ways to deepen your practice.

  • Here we discuss five energizing yoga mudras for beginners.

  • Use these hand gestures for pranayama and meditation.

  • Also, read our comprehensive beginner's guide to yoga mudras.

 
Yoga beginners practicing mudra hand gestures

Yoga mudras refer to the symbolic hand gestures formed using the hands and fingers. The technique is derived from a yogic (and Ayurvedic) understanding of the five elements and how they are represented in our hands and fingers.


A mudra, at heart, is a seal that has a distinct corresponding effect on our body if held for 10 minutes or longer. These hand gestures are a supplementary practice in pranayama, yoga, and meditation. The benefits of yoga mudras, in general, can be summarized as:

  • Yoga mudras strengthen the mind-body connection.

  • They elevate inner-awareness and consciousness.

  • They improve the flow of energy through different parts of the body.

There are dozens of hand gestures you can use in yoga practices. Each mudra has its own purpose and benefits. In this post, we have listed five simple but powerful yoga mudras for beginners. Use them to heighten your awareness and enhance your breath regulation.


Here are five yoga mudras beginner's can use to amplify energy-flow and concentration.


1. Chin Mudra For Focus and Reception

Chin Mudra Yoga Illustration by Prana-Sutra.com

Chin Mudra is the most iconic and recognizable of all hand gestures. It is widely used in meditation by Tibetans, Taoists, Hindus, and Buddhists. You have probably seen it in the paintings, statues, or photographs of yogis.


The index finger represents the individual self and consciousness. The thumb represents the Universal self or consciousness. Bringing the two together is symbolic of dissolving the individual consciousness into the universal consciousness.


How to do Chin Mudra?


Sit in any meditative posture with your hands on your knees or thighs. With the palms facing upward, touch the tip of the index finger to the tip of the thumb. Don't apply too much pressure. Touch the tips gently. This hand configuration is the yogic hand gesture called Chin Mudra.


In Chin mudra, the palms face upwards towards the sky. The same hand gesture becomes Jnana or Gyan Mudra when the palms face downward. New practitioners should use the Jnana mudra. Experienced practitioners should use Chin mudra to deepen their practice.


Benefits of Chin Mudra:


This hand gesture is one of the most commonly used mudras for beginners. It helps you attune to a spiritually receptive state. It eradicates dullness and hones intuition and insight. It is the best yoga mudra to enter deeper states of calm and relaxation.

  • It increases connection to the inner and outer worlds

  • It reduces feelings of mental instability such as stress and anxiety

  • It induces a deeper knowledge of the realities of the universe



Related: Chin Mudra Benefits in Yoga and Pranayama


2. Anjali Mudra For Equilibrium and Gratitude

Anjali Mudra Illustration by Megha Patel
Anjali Mudra

Anjali mudra is another name for the customary Indian greeting called “Namaste”. Anjali, which translates to “an offering”, is a salutation commonly used to greet people. This yoga mudra is also used at the start of a spiritual practice. It promotes a feeling of appreciation and gratitude.


It is used in various base poses and variations of yoga asana like Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and Vrksasana (Tree Pose). All pranayama practitioners should begin their practice with this coupling of hands. It is the perfect yoga mudra to show gratitude.


How to do Anjali Mudra?


To form this yoga mudra, place your hands in front of your heart. Bring your palms together and press them lightly against each other. The fingers should be pointing to the sky. If you are in a meditative asana, you may feel your spine extend upwards as you hold his yoga mudra.


Benefits of Anjali Mudra


This is the perfect yoga mudra for beginners because it's a well known gesture of gratitude and humility. It increase composure when the hands are located at the heart chakra. The mudra also connects the left and right brain hemispheres to invoke a feeling of unification and veneration.


Here is a quick summary of the benefits.

  1. Anjali Mudra invigorates the heart chakra.

  2. It promotes focus, spiritual clarity, and wisdom

  3. The hand gesture invokes feelings of gratitude, love, and kindness.

  4. It improves the connection between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

3. Prana Mudra For Balanced Energy-flow

Prana Mudra illustration by Megha Patel
Prana Mudra

Prana Mudra is also known as the Life-Energy Gesture. Prana is the vital breath or the life energy that enters the body and stays within us as long as we live. It's the foundation of pranayama and a critical aspect of yoga.


Prana Mudra is a yogic gesture to promote the flow of prana (energy) throughout the body. It kindles the earth, water, and fire elements, which are known to play a vital role in physical, mental, and spiritual processes.


How to do Prana Mudra?


To form Prana Mudra, curl your ring finger and little/pinky finger and bring them forward. Let their tips lightly touch the tip of your thumb. Maintain this gentle connection without too much pressure. Keep the other two fingers (index and middle finger) outstretched as much as you can without causing any strain in the hand.

If you are familiar with Ayurveda, please note that Prana Mudra reduces pitta but is contraindicated in Kapha dosha. People with Kapha dosha should avoid this mudra.

Benefits of Prana Mudra:


Prana mudra is a simple but powerful yoga mudra for beginners. Regular practice of this hand gesture creates inner stability and boosts immunity. Prana mudra also improves metabolism, blood circulation, and self-confidence. It reduces fatigue and stimulates the 7 Chakras.


Other benefits of Prana Mudra include:

  1. Improves circulation and eyesight

  2. Positively influences the mind

  3. Relieves fatigue, anxiety, and improves your self-image

  4. Improves focus, self-confidence, and emotional stability

  5. Reduces symptoms of vitamin deficiencies

4. Apana Mudra to Enhance Downward Flowing Energy

Apana Mudra Illustration by Megha Patel
Apana Mudra

In Ayurveda, Apana is a sub-type of vata (air) situated in the lower half of the body. The Apana mudra, called the Purification Mudra, is used to improve Apana flow in the body, which is responsible for the elimination of waste.


It is often called the ‘digestion mudra’ or ‘purification mudra’. Like all mudras, it helps to control and increase the flow of Prana through the body, but this one is specifically meant to ease blockages and help with elimination such as urination, menstruation, and bowel movement.



How to do Apana Mudra?


Touch the ends of your middle and ring fingers to your thumb. Maintain a light connection without too much pressure. Keep your other two fingers straight but relaxed. Form mudra on both hands and hold for 10 to 20 minutes. Some of the benefits of Apana Mudra include:

  • Balances the lower functions of digestion and reproduction

  • Moves Apana Vayu downwards and clears constipation

  • Provides relief in constipation and corrects gut imbalances

  • Helpful for irregular menstruation and pains associated with childbirth

  • Alleviates symptoms of urinary problems and infections


Related: Apana Mudra: Steps, Benefits, and Complementary Practices


5. Buddhi Mudra for Mental Clarity

Buddhi Mudra illustration by Megha Patel
Buddhi Mudra

Buddhi is the Sanskrit word for the "higher mind". That's exactly what this hand gesture stimulates. This yoga mudra is often called the seal of mental clarity. Beginners can use Buddhi Mudra for enhanced clarity of their thoughts during meditation.


Your pinky finger represents water and communication, while the thumb represents the inner fire. Doing this mudra for 15 to 20 minutes promotes fluid communication of the biological mechanisms. It also gives you access to inner knowledge (innate wisdom). That's why yogis say that regular use of this mudra will develop intuition and psychic abilities.


How to form the Buddhi Mudra?


Sit in a cross-legged asana with you hands on the thighs and palms facing the sky. Bring the tip of the pinky finger to touch the tip of the thumb. Maintain a light connection without too much pressure. Keep the remaining fingers comfortably extended. This arrangement of the hand is the yogic hand gesture called Buddhi Mudra.

Buddhi Mudra specifically targets the water element because the pinky finger represents water. For that reason, its alternative name is Jal-vardhak mudra, which roughly translates to ‘water enhancement’. Other benefits of this mudra include:

  1. Enhances communication with the inner fire and divine nature

  2. Increases intuition and concentration

  3. Alleviates the symptoms of health issues related to water imbalance.

  4. Provides relief in indigestion, skin disorders, anemia, and bladder/kidney ailments.

Parting Thoughts


Mudras are the next logical step for those who want to supplement their pranayama practice. They can function like an "add-on" that increases the efficiency of your daily practice. You don’t need to dive into the esoteric texts to begin using them.


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