All About Yoga Hand Posture or Hast Mudras With Chart
What Is Hand Posture?
Simply put, Hand Posture is the yogic posturing of the fingers of the hands in various ways. In yoga, apart from yoga asanas (yogic exercises) and pranayama (yogic breathing exercises), Hast Mudras, or Hand Postures, have an important role to play.
In fact, Hast Mudram, or Hand Posture, is a complete science by itself.
The whole universe is made up of five elements: fire, air, space, earth, and water, and likewise a human body is composed of these five elements. The fingers of the hand represent these 5 elements individually.
- The thumb represents fire.
- The 1st finger represents air.
- The middle finger represents space.
- The ring finger represents earth.
- The little finger represents water.
If these five elements are in harmony with one another in the body we are healthy. Imbalance in these five elements leads to disease. The balanced elements cause the body's systems to function optimally.
The Hand Postures (I'll refer to them as simply Mudras now on.) start acting immediately. An interesting point to note here is that the Mudras of one hand cause improvement in the body's opposite side, that is, the Mudras of the left hand cause improvement in the right side of the body and vice versa. These Mudras can be done while walking, sitting, or standing. If sitting, we can sit in any position be it Padmasana, Vajrasana, or Sukhasana.
These Mudras should be done everyday beginning with 10 minutes a day, to 30 to 45 minutes, for full effect. This duration can be evenly split in two or three sessions. The Mudras should be done on empty stomach.
The Mudras are 10 in number.
While doing Mudras the free fingers have to be kept straight.
The 10 hand postures are explained individually below.
1. Gyan Mudra or the Mudra of Knowledge
Touch the tip of the thumb and the tip of the index (1st finger) together. The other three fingers have to be kept straight as shown in the picture.
- It helps in meditation and concentration and reduces negativity of the mind.
- It improves memory, and with regular practice students can improve grades and intelligence.
- It aids in alleviating headache, insomnia, hypertension, and anger.
- It reduces stress and anxiety.
For better results do Prana Mudra after this Mudra.
2. Vayu Mudra or Mudra of Air
In this Mudra, the tip of the index (1st finger) is touched to the base of the thumb and the thumb comes over the finger with a slight pressure. The rest of the fingers remain straight, as in the picture.
- By the practice of this Mudra, all vayu (air related affections like arthritis, gout, sciatica, knee pain and gas) are relieved. It especially benefits neck and spinal pain.
3. Shoonya Mudra or The Mudra of Emptiness
The tip of the middle finger is put at the base of the thumb and the thumb comes over the finger with slight pressure, as shown in the picture. The other three fingers are kept straight.
- Regular practice of this Mudra helps in reducing ear pain and watering from the ears.
- If this Mudra is done for one hour daily it can alleviate hardness of hearing.
- Helps bones become strong and is beneficial in heart disease.
- It strengthens gums and is helpful in throat problems and thyroid disease.
This hand posture should never be done while eating or walking.
4. Prithvi Mudra or the Mudra of Earth
In this Mudra the tips of the thumb and the ring finger are touched together as in the picture. Rest of the fingers are kept straight.
- Regular practice of this Mudra, is helpful in body weakness, thinness and also obesity
- It improves the functioning of the digestive system and reduces the defiency of vitamins.
- It gives energy and lustre to the body.
5. Prana Mudra or the Mudra of Life
In this Mudra the tips of the thumb, ring finger, and little finger are touched together while keeping the other two fingers straight.
- It awakens the dormant power of prana gives energy and health. It is beneficial in diseases of the eyes and improves eyesight, raises the body's resistance to disease, reduces the deficiency of vitamins, and removes tiredness.
- During fasting it reduces hunger pangs and thirst.
- If suffering from insomnia, doing this hand posture along with Gyan Mudra, helps bring on sleep.
6. Apan Mudra or the Mudra of Digestion
This Mudra is made by joining the tips of the thumb, middle finger, and ring finger while keeping the other fingers straight.
- Toxins are removed from the body and the body becomes pure. It also relieves constipation, piles, and diseases caused by vayu (or air). It is helpful in diabetes, stoppage of urine, kidney defects, and dental problems.
- It is beneficial in stomach and heart diseases and brings out perspiration.
It increases the flow of urine.
7. Apan Vayu Mudra or the Mudra of Heart.
This Mudra is a combination of Vayu Mudra and Apan Mudra. The tips of the thumb, middle finger, and ring finger touch each other while the index finger touches the base of the thumb with a slight pressure. The little finger remains straight.
It gives the benefit of Apan Mudra and Vayu Mudra as explained earlier.
- It is helpful in heart and Vayu diseases and gives health. People with a weak heart should do it daily. It is very beneficial to people who have just had a heart attack.
- It removes gas from the stomach, helps asthma, headache, and high blood pressure.
- If it is done five to seven minutes before climbing stairs, it aids in easy climbing.
8. Surya Mudra or Mudra of the Sun
This Mudra is done by touching the tip of the ring finger to the base of the thumb and exerting pressure on the finger, as in the picture.
- It balances the body, reducing body weight and obesity. It increases body heat and helps in digestion.
- It reduces hypertension and cholesterol, and builds strength.
- It is beneficial in diabetes and liver defects.
Weak people should not do this hand posture. Also, do not do this hand posture for a long time in hot weather.
9. Varun Mudra or Mudra of Water
This Mudra is made by touching the tips of the thumb and the little finger.
- It reduces dryness of the skin and improves skin lustre and softness.
- It is useful in skin diseases, acne, and blood defects. It improves facial beauty.
People suffering from asthma and respiratory problems should only do this Mudra for a short duration.
10. Ling Mudra or the Mudra of Heat
Close the fist, as in the picture. Keep the left hand thumb straight and the rest of the fingers clasped, as shown in the picture.
- This Mudra increases heat in the body and can cause sweating, even in winter, if done for a long time.
- It helps in cold, coryza, asthma, cough, sinus problems, and low blood pressure.
- It dries phlegm.
When doing this Mudra please increase your intake of water, fruit, fruit juices, clarified butter (Ghee), and milk.
Do not do this hand posture for a long duration.
These are the 10 Hast Mudras which, if done regularly for the prescribed duration and following the outlined precautions, will be extremely beneficial to one's health.
Hast Mudras or Hand Positions
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or embarking on a new health regime.
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