What are Mudras ? How they help human maintain physical, mental and spiritual equilibrium and what are their type ?

I know this might be huge, but I will only like to have a small brief about Mudras, mostly their types if any, with usage.

My main context is, I have seen suggestion related to Mudras which are due to modifiable position of palm and figures. Are Mudras related to hands only, or they are also verified through different parts of body.

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  • What I think is Mudras are not limited to hands.. shape of body also shows mudras. like Nataraja Mudra of Lord Shiva.
    – prem30488
    Sep 19 '14 at 8:50
  • @ParthTrivedi, for that you require multiple hands, secondly, wherever I searched, I got mudras of hands only.
    – Mr. K
    Sep 19 '14 at 10:15
  • Mudras used in worship are all hand gestures only.
    – user1195
    Feb 9 '15 at 5:27

Well there is first to know the significance of the Mudaras.

Gheranda Samhita is a manual of yoga taught by Gheranda to Chanda Kapali. Unlike other hatha yoga texts, the Gheranda Samhita speaks of a sevenfold yoga:

Shatkarma for purification
Asana for strengthening
Mudra for steadying
Pratyahara for calming
Pranayama for lightness
Dhyana for perception
Samādhi for isolation

more over Here in which there are number of mudras are said. which are given as under.

Main Mudras

  1. Hasta (hand mudras)
  2. Mana (head mudras)
  3. Kaya (postural mudras)
  4. Bandha (lock mudras)
  5. Adhara (perineal mudras)

Hasta (hand mudras)

Hasta mudras are conducive for meditation, and help in internalisation.

Name in Sanskrit -- Translation(s) in English
Anjali Mudra - Gesture of reverence Dhyana Mudra - Psychic gesture of meditation
Vāyu Mudra - Psychic gesture of air
Shunya Mudra - Psychic gesture of void or empty
Prithvi Mudra - Psychic gesture of earth
Varuna Mudra - Psychic gesture of Rain
Shakti Mudra - Psychic gesture of Power
Apāna Mudra - Psychic gesture of life force
Gyana Mudra - Psychic gesture of knowledge
Chin Mudra - Psychic gesture of consciousness
Chinmya Mudra -
Dhyana Mudra -
Yoni Mudra - Attitude of the womb or source
Bhairav Mudra - Fierce or terrifying attitude
Hridaya Mudra - Heart gesture

Mana (head mudras)

Mana mudras are an important part of Kundalini yoga, and many are important meditation techniques in their own right.

Name in Sanskrit -- Translation(s) in English

Shambhavi Mudra - Eyebrow centre gazing
Nasikagra Drishti - Nosetip gazing
Khecarī mudrā - Tongue lock
Kaki mudra - The crow's beak
Bhuangini Mudra - Cobra respiration
Bhoochari Mudra - Gazing into nothingness
Akashi mudra - Awareness of inner space
Shanmukhi mudra - Closing the seven gates
Unmani Mudra - The attitude of mindlessness

Kaya (postural mudras)

Kaya mudras combine physical postures with breathing and concentration.

Name in Sanskrit -- Translation(s) in English

Prana Mudra - Invocation of energy
Vipareeta Karani Mudra - Inverted psychic attitude
Yoga Mudra - Attitude of psychic union
Pashinee Mudra - Folded psychic attitude
Manduki Mudra - Gesture of the frog
Tadagi Mudra - Barrelled abdomen technique

Bandha (lock mudras)

Bandha mudras combine mudra and bandha.

Name in Sanskrit -- Translation(s) in English Maha Mudra - Great psychic attitude
Maha Bheda Mudra - The great separating attitude
Maha Vedha Mudra - The great piercing attitude

Adhara (perineal mudras)

Adhara mudras redirect prana from the lower centres to the brain.

Name in Sanskrit -- Translation(s) in English Ashwini Mudra - Horse gesture
Vajroli/Sahajoli Mudra - Thunderbolt/Spontaneous psychic attitude


To answer the question

What are Mudras ?

Mudras act as switches to send Prana to different part of the body just like switches can be used to activate different parts of a circuit:

Life energy can be intelligently directed through the circuitry of the nervous system to heal mind and body.

Prana is the subtle life energy of body and mind. Long ago the ancient Masters discovered how prana moves through the complex circuitry of the human nervous system. They found that specific hand positions, or mudras, can act as extremely subtle switches to channel prana to particular parts of the body. Prana directed with a correct mudra dramatically enhances the natural healing processes in that part of the body.

These mudras were observed by ancient Masters as the natural hand positions displayed by all infants and children at progressive stages of development.


To answer

How they help and what are their type ?

This page talks about some of the Mudras with their images and multiple benefits:

Chin Mudra

Hold the thumb and index finger together lightly while extending the remaining three fingers. The thumb and index finger need only touch together, without exerting any pressure. Keep the three extended fingers as straight as possible. The hands can then be placed on the thighs, facing upwards. Now, observe the flow of breath and its effect.

Benefits of Chin Mudra

Better retention and concentration power

Improves sleep pattern

Increases energy in the body

Alleviates lower backache

Chinmaya Mudra

In this mudra, the thumb and forefinger form a ring and the three remaining fingers are curled into the palms of the hands. Again, the hands are placed on the thighs with palms facing upwards and deep comfortable ujjai breaths are taken. Once more, observe the flow of breath and its effect.

Benefits of Chinmaya Mudra

Improves flow of energy in the body

Stimulates digestion

Adi Mudra

In Adi Mudra, the thumb is placed at the base of the small finger and the remaining fingers curl over the thumb, forming a light fist. The palms are again placed facing upwards on the thighs and the breathing repeated.

Benefits of Adi Mudra

Relaxes the nervous system

Helps reduce snoring

Improves the flow of oxygen to the head

Increases capacity of the lungs

It also says this:

In each yoga mudra, take at least twelve breaths and closely observe the flow of energy in the body.

There are numerous different mudras, many mysterious and others contemporary in nature. The main texts concerning the use of mudras are the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Gheranda Samhita. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika describes 10 mudras and the Gheranda Samhita 25.

Some Yoga mudras come natural to us. Simply by touching our hands to our fingers, we can affect our attitude and our perception and the inherent energetic power can heal the body. There is a direct relationship between the mudras and the five elements of the body.

According to Ayurveda, diseases are caused due to an imbalance in the body, which in turn is caused by lack or excess of any of the five elements. Our fingers have the characteristics of these elements and each of these five elements serve a specific and important function within the body. The fingers are essentially electrical circuits. The use of mudras adjusts the flow of energy - affecting the balance of air, fire, water, earth, ether and accommodating healing.

There are many interpretations of the various finger positions. Whether they are represented as aspects of the self, the three energies inherent in the gunas, the mind, intellect, ego, illusion or karma, remains a mystery. The main point being that they introduce a non-intellectual sensibility.

Yoga mudras are practiced sitting simply cross-legged, in Vajrasana, or in lotus posture, or even by sitting comfortably in a chair. Ideally, Ujjai breathing accompanies the more simple mudras.

  • i like your answer, it will add as asset to the question, but i was looking types of mudras too.
    – Mr. K
    May 5 '16 at 23:32
  • @Mr.K: I have added some of the major ones, I could add more too but that will make the answer very long. Let me know :) May 6 '16 at 3:21
  • its ok phantom has already added some branches name, thanks for A2A
    – Mr. K
    May 6 '16 at 12:16

Mudra are hand gestures which are used by yogi in meditation, they are different types of hand mudras on the basis of special features and abilities.


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