Hand Yoga Gestures

Yoga Mudras – Free Illustrated How To Guide – Part 1

Yoga Mudras Picture Gallery

Understanding Yoga Mudras

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.  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 mudras, and this is the first part of that guide.

In this part I will provide the 5 hand mudras I gave in the newsletter and in the next part of the series I will illustrate and detail many more important mudras to help you take your yoga and meditation practice to the next level.

Yoga Mudras

What exactly are Yoga 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 mudras 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 5 important hand yoga mudras and an explanation of what their benefits are. In the next part of this series, I will also detail eye mudras as well as give you many more hand mudras.  Many thanks to the hand model for these pictures, my wife Trupti .

5 Important Hand Yoga Mudras:



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




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.

Cosmic 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




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




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


In the next part of the series on yoga mudras I will explain some amazing eye mudras as well as complete the collection of hand yoga mudras as well.  Stay tuned for that…

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9 replies
  1. vinodhini
    vinodhini says:

    this is very useful to me………..
    i really got a lot of energy and power………
    now i feel very silent in my mind……….

  2. karen kessler
    karen kessler says:

    thank you for adding the Mudras, I am very interested in learning this hand yoga, this would be great for the handicapped and older seniors in wheelchairs.

  3. Mamta
    Mamta says:

    Hi Thanks a million zillion for such knowledge given to us..its indeed enriching our lives. Your words seems to come straight out of your heart & not the mind..which indeed touches the true seeker of knowledge. Thanks again.
    A question: Whats the best time to practise Mudras? What Care & Precautions should be taken? & For How long should one practise these Mudras?
    Thanks a lot again..


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