Hand Yoga Gestures
Free Hand Yoga Illustrations
In part 1 of this series I detailed 5 important Yoga Mudras for you, which I will include in this Free Comprehensive Guide to Hand Yoga. So below you will find Yoga Mudras Part 1 and following it are more illustrations and details of yoga hand positions and how they can enhance your personal spiritual practice. In the future, as I add more yoga mudras to the website, I will include them here in this guide so you have complete access to this wonderful science all in one place.
An important aspect of yoga is the subtle, but key practice of hand, body and eye postures, to invoke certain flows of energy and create certain states of consciousness, called yoga mudras, hand yoga or hand yoga gestures. In last month’s newsletter I introduced you all to yoga mudras and provided 5 important mudras to start with. In the newsletter I also mentioned I would be creating a comprehensive guide to yoga hand gestures, and here now is that guide.
What exactly is Hand Yoga or Mudras?
Mudras are hand, body or eye positions that facilitate certain energy flows in the body and by forming these mudras you can induce certain states of mind and consciousness. Many of the meditation and yoga techniques on this website utilize mudras and mudras are a key part of yogic technology.
Hand yoga gestures generally work by preventing the dissipation of prana (life-force) from the fingertips. In order to do this, one brings the fingers together in various ways, which helps create certain subtle energy circuits. These circuits then channel prana along particular pathways to affect the mind/body complex in specific ways.
Although their effects are subtle, the changes they produce can be sensed by those with refined awareness.
Below you will find illustrations of many important hand yoga positions and an explanation of what their benefits are. Many thanks to the hand model for these pictures, my wife Trupti .
Hand Yoga Gestures:
Hand Yoga Gesture 1: GYAN MUDRA:
Taken by bringing together the thumb tip and index finger of each hand. Other 3 fingers are kept extended. This is the traditional hand posture for Hindu meditations.
- Excellent for meditation.
- Helps the mind go inward.
- Bestows wisdom and insight.
Gyan Mudra Front View
Gyan Mudra Side View 1
Gyan Mudra Side View 2
Hand Yoga Pose 2: COSMIC MUDRA:
Taken by placing the right hand over left (some prefer the other way around) with the thumb tips slightly meeting. The index finger and thumbs form a nice oval. This is the traditional hand posture for Buddhist meditations.
The benefits of Cosmic Mudra are very similar to Gyan mudra as they are both used for meditation.
- Excellent for silent meditations.
- Helps the mind go inward.
- Promotes the flow of intuition, insight and awareness.
- Helps silence the mind of thoughts.
Hand Yoga Position 3: ACTIVE GYAN MUDRA:
Taken by folding the index finger under the thumb. Other 3 fingers are kept extended. This is good for active techniques, specially active yoga breathing exercises. It is also good for some meditations.
- Excellent for active pranayamas.
- Promotes the flow of knowledge.
- Also promotes a meditative state of mind.
Gyan Mudra Active – Front
Gyan Mudra Active – Side
Hand Yoga Gesture 4: NAMASTE POSE:
Taken by bringing the palms of both hands together and pressing together gently. All fingers are together and pointing straight up. The traditional mudra for praying and greeting each other in respect in Hindu, Buddhist and other cultures.
Namaste essentially means, "My Divine Aspect Lovingly and Respectfully Greets Your Divine Aspect".
- Promotes humility and sense of respect.
- Balances the two hemispheres of the brain.
- Creates a prayerful state of mind.
- Can be used to stimulate the Heart Chakra and also the Third Eye Chakra.
Namaste Pose – Front View
Hand Yoga Pose 5: SURYA MUDRA:
Taken by bringing the ring finger and thumb tip together, while other fingers are kept straight. This mudra is used in yoga techniques and meditations that are very active and powerful in nature.
A variation to Surya Mudra is to place the ring finger under the thumb, instead of just having the tips meeting, which is how it is how it is illustrated below.
- Promotes energy and power.
- Promotes health and vitality.
Surya Mudra – Front View
Surya Mudra – Side View
Hand Yoga Pose 7: SHUNI MUDRA:
Taken by bringing the middle finger and thumb tip together, while other fingers are kept straight.
- Promotes patience.
Shuni Mudra – Front View
Shuni Mudra – Side View
Hand Yoga Gesture 9: BUDDHI MUDRA:
Taken by bringing the little finger and thumb tip together, while other fingers are kept straight.
- Promotes communication.
- Helps the body and mind heal.
Buddhi Mudra – Front View
Shuni Mudra – Side View
Hand Yoga Gesture 10: APAN MUDRA:
Taken by bringing the middle and ring finger and thumb tip together, while other fingers are kept straight.
- Works on the Apana Vayu and helps cleanse the system.
- Helps the elimination system.
Apan Mudra – Front View
Apan Mudra – Side View
Hand Yoga Gesture 11: PRAN (CHRIST) MUDRA:
Taken by bringing the little finger and ring and thumb tip together, while other fingers are kept straight. Also called the Christ Mudra, in which the little finger and ring finger are brought under the thumb, instead of just having the tips meeting (as shown in the illustrations below).
- Helps the eyesight by working on the fire element in the body.
- Known to increase prana and energy in the body.
Christ or Pran Mudra – Front View
Christ or Pran Mudra – Side View
Hand Yoga Gesture 12: BEAR GRIP:
Taken by clasping the hands together as shown. The Left hand faces away from the body, while the right hand faces the body. Usually held at chest level for many yoga exercises.
- This grip is used in conjunction with Kundalini Yoga exercises to help draw Kundalini up and down the spine.
- Helps create intensity during practice.
More Hand Yoga Gestures Coming Soon:
Although the above 12 Hand Yoga Gestures covers many of the important hand mudras, there are actually a few more still which are worth learning. These I will continue to add to the website and will continue to add to this comprehensive free guide over the next few weeks, so stay tuned for that.