Yoga mudras
Image Source: Fitsri

Our hands contain the maximum number of nerve endings which when pressed or arranged in a certain way, creates an ‘energy circuit’ to redirect the Vayus inside the body. Yoga mudras practice comprises conscious effort of creating the energy circuits in body by the subtle physical action of hands, known as ‘gesture’, ‘seal’, or ‘mark’.

A 1400 C.E. Tantric text kularnava Tantra traces the word ‘Mudra’. According to it, Mudra is derived from two Sanskrit words ‘Mud‘ means ‘Bliss’ and ‘drava‘ is called to liquid, here it means ‘bring forth’ (a quality of liquid). This can be understood as Mudra is the practice ‘which pleases the SELF and melts the mind so the hidden bliss inside can be brought forth to the seeker.’.

What is Yoga Mudra?

mudras affect on the body
Image Source: Canva

A mudra is the gesture or energy seal of a specific body position that shows a state of consciousness of our subtle body. In yoga, mudras can be Hand gestures (Hasta Mudra), or gestures made by the head (Mana mudra), or the whole body (Kaya mudra) as in the yoga poses.

Yoga mudras are the same as any other physical expressions of laughing, crying, dancing, or singing. The way physical expressions are the external manifestation of how we feel or what we do, in the same manner, mudras expresses subtle body emotions. When a mudra is performed, its gesture brings forth these emotions and connects us with our real nature.

Practicing a yoga mudra may sound strange to you in the first place but unconsciously we all are accustomed to the different gestures in our daily life. When we are sad or in deep thought or in joy, these gestures automatically comes out. Indeed, many gestures we use in nonverbal communication are already part of yoga mudras.

For example, Namaste is a common hand gesture used to welcome or in greeting. In mudras practice, it’s called Anjali Mudra.

In yoga, mudras particularly used for its therapeutic use but in traditions like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism different mudras can be seen as part of classical rituals, folk dance, or mantra chanting. It shows, a mudra could contain many aspects of art and has indescribable meaning behind it.

Benefits of Yoga Mudras

Yoga mudras can help you attain a calm state of mind just by arranging hands or body in a certain way. Some of the most important benefits of a yoga mudras include:

  1. Increases concentration – Yoga mudras prevent the dissipation of energy out from the body. It results in increased concentration.
  2. Cures physical and mental diseases – Some hand mudras are even effective in curing diseases like insomnia, arthritis, diabetes, and heart problems.
  3. Boost metabolism – Mudras on balancing the proportion of five elements in the body boosts the metabolism. This way, mudras can help in weight loss and reduce bad cholesterol levels.
  4. Increases blood circulation – Holding any yoga mudra for 10 to 15 minutes may increase blood circulation which raises the oxygen levels in the body. It lowers the risk of heart problems.
  5. Heals the bodily pain – From neck to lower back and legs, mudras are helpful in healing most kinds of body pain. Hand mudras can increase the range of motion in joints and relives any associated tension.
  6. Increases longevity – Yoga mudras are helpful in increasing the prana level in the body. It increases life expectancy.

In the below infographic, 10 easy yoga mudras with their meaning and benefits are shown.

yoga mudras steps & benefits infographic

How Yoga Mudras Work?

The working of yoga mudras is based on the principle of Pancha Mahabhutas. Pancha Mahabhutas are the 5 vital elements that are represented by the 5 fingers of the hand;

In mostly practiced hand yoga mudras, when any of the 5 fingers are joined together it actually combines the respective element of that finger;

5 elements in fingertips
  1. Thumb – Fire element – responsible for our needs like hunger, thirst, and sleep.
  2. Index finger – Air element – responsible for movement and breath.
  3. Middle finger – Ether element – responsible for inner wisdom, intuition and determines our fears
  4. Ring finger – Earth element – responsible for bodily composition like bones and tissues, flesh and skin, and hair.
  5. Little finger – Water element – responsible for bodily fluids such as saliva, blood, sweat, urine, and semen.

When there is an imbalance in these 5 elements, it can result in a disruption in mind and body to experience the ill effects of diseases.

Yoga mudras aim to keep 5 vital elements of the body in balance by joining fingers in the different arrangements (in different mudras).

To understand the working of yoga mudras in a simpler way, consider the human body an electric circuit in which current (energy) is flowing through nadis (like wires). 5 fingers are like the 5 terminals of a human electric circuit which correspond to a specific part of the body and mind.

When you hold or press a particular finger in yoga mudra, the corresponding energy center or gland stimulates in the brain (Power supplier of the circuit). In this way, the brain receives a signal to alter the energy pattern within the body by regulating the Prana flow.

The way we arrange fingers in a yoga mudra shows whether it will increase or decrease or balance one of five elements;

  • To balance the effect of an element – The corresponding fingertip is joined with the tip of the thumb.
  • To increase the effect of an element – Thumb is pressed at the base of the corresponding finger.
  • To decrease the effect of an element – The corresponding finger is bent down to the base of the thumb.

Yoga Mudras create pranic circuit

Keeping fingers or whole body in a yoga mudra for an extended period creates the pranic circuit in our subtle body. A pranic circuit can be understood as the closed-loop of Nadis which promotes the flow of energy.

In yogic science, it’s said, the body gets diseases when Prana (life-force) stuck at one place or there is a lack of Prana in our body. The pranic circuit that a mudra makes keeps prana flowing indisputably inside our body. And, to prevent the lack of Prana, the loop that mudra creates doesn’t let Prana leaking out. This way a mudra helps in keeping the body diseases free, boost the energy level, and enhances concentration.

Types of Yoga Mudras

All mudras of yoga can be categorized into 5 types. This categorization is based on the body part we use in a specific mudra to channelize the energy (hand, sensory organs eyes like tongue, eyes, or ears, skeletal muscles, or perineal muscles).

  1. Hasta Mudra (Hand Gestures) – Performed using fingers and hands.
  2. Kaya Mudra (Postural Gestures) – Involved the whole body.
  3. Mana Mudra (Head Gestures) – involved sense organs (eyes, nose, tongue, lips & ears).
  4. Bandha Mudra (Lock Gestures) – Performed using 3 bandhas or more precisely subtle skeletal muscles (vocal, respiratory & pelvis).
  5. Adhara Mudra (Perineal Gestures) – Involves pelvic organs

Yoga Mudras List

Below is the list of each type of yoga mudras with their meaning and description.

1. Hasta Mudra (Hand Mudra)

apana mudra for healing
Image Source: Shutterstock

Hand mudras are most practiced among all types of mudras, particularly used in meditation and pranayama session. These mudras work based on 5 elements theory and known for the therapeutic benefits.

1.Gyan MudraGesture of knowledgegyan mudraIndex fingertip touches thumb, hand upturned. Rest three fingers extended.Enhances memory, concentration. Gives a sense of security & groundedness
2.Apana MudraGesture of ApanaMiddle and ring fingertips touches thumb. Rest two fingers extended.Helpful in diabetes and constipation. Strengthens leg joints
3.Prana Mudra Life-force sealRing and little fingertips touches thumb. Rest two fingers extended.Prevents hair fall and Increase lung efficiency.
4.Surya MudraGesture of sun’s energyPress thumb on the second phalanx of the ring finger and ring fingertip touches the base of thumb. Rest three fingers extended.Panacea mudra for weight loss, maintain metabolism and reduce Cholesterol.
5.Varun MudraGesture of waterPress thumb on the second phalanx of the little finger and little fingertip touches the base of thumb. Rest three fingers extended.Helpful in dehydration, cleans blood, and glows skin.
6.Back MudraBack-pain relief gestureRight hand – Thumb touches middle and ring finger
Left hand – Thumb touches index finger
Relieves back pain and muscles cramps.
7.Apana Vayu MudraGesture of relieving heart diseaseThumb joining middle and ring fingertips while index finger bend to the base of thumb.Best mudra for heart problems, prevents heart attack and improves digestion.
8.Shunya MudraGesture of emptinessThumb pressing second phalanx of middle finger. Rest three fingers extendedTreat ear related problems, cure numbness and motion sickness.
9.Rudra MudraGesture of fierce energyThumb touching tip of ring and index fingers. Rest two fingers extended.Cure of dizziness, lowers blood pressure and burn belly fat.
10.Adi MudraPrimal gesture or first gestureThumb fold inside the curled fingers.Increase oxygen flow in blood, gives mental clarity
11.Linga MudraAttitude of the masculinityBoth hands fingers clasped and left thumb is erectCures breathing disorders, Prevent hypothermia
12.Anjali MudraGesture of salutationBoth hands finger align in front of each other, tip upwardBalance left and right hemisphere, improves focus.
14.Akash MudraSpace gestureThumb touches tip of middle finger. Rest three fingers extended.Helpful in migraine, hearing loss, and overcome calcium deficiency.
15.Padma MudraLotus flower gestureLittle finger and thumb touches side-by-side then spread all fingers in a circular direction.Brings creativity, calms the anxious mind, and balances heart chakra.
16.Ganesha MudraGesture of lord ganeshaRight hand back, left hand forward – interlock fingers at second phalanx from inside.Increase lung capacity, reduce neck pain and boost self-confidence.
17.Matangi MudraGesture to evoke the power of Goddess MatangiInterlace both hand fingers and then point both middle fingers up.Evoke self-confidence, helps in insomnia and relax jaw muscles.
18.Dharmachakra MudraBuddha’s Gesture wheel of dharmaMake gyan mudra with both hands. Now touch right gyan mudra with left middle fingertip facing outside.Deepen meditation, gives grounding sense, and calms the mind.
19.Brahma MudraGesture of God Brahma or Attitude of creation godFold thumb inside curl fingers then press fingers at knuckles.Balance thyroid gland secretion, helpful in irregular menstrual cycle.
20.Vajra MudraGesture of Fiery ThunderboltMiddle, ring and little fingertips touches thumb. Index finger extended.Removes stiffness of muscles, detoxes the lungs.
21.Surabhi MudraCow gesture or wish-fulfilling gestureRing fingertips of both hand touches opposite little fingertips, and in same manner, middle fingertips touches opposite index fingertipsEnhances creativity and helpful in getting wish fulfillment.
22.Bhumisparsha MudraBuddha’s earth touching gestureLeft hand on lap facing upward, and the right hand points to the ground touchingIncrease concentration, removes negativity and aggression.
23.Shankh MudraConch shell gestureEncircle left thumb with 4 fingers of right hand and then extend left hand 4 fingers and right hand up.Overcomes fear of speaking, purifies nadis, and improve functioning of the larynx (voice box).
24.Hakini MudraGesture of goddess hakini or mind’s attitudeJoin all fingertips and thumb of both hands each other and spread fingers wide.Best mudra to increase brain power and balances 3 doshas.
25.Kubera MudraGesture of wealth godJoin the index and middle fingertips to the thumb tips. Then curl the little and ring fingertips to the palm.Gives luck, confidence, and peacefulness. Opens blocked nose and ear.
26.Yoni MudraGesture of wombJoin all fingertips to each other, stretch thumb upwards, then bend middle, ring, and little finger so that the back of the fingers are touching.Helpful in fertility problems, and removes all tiredness and stress when practiced at night before going to sleep
27.Jnana MudraGesture of consciousnessThumb and index fingertip touching, rest fingers extended.
For beginners – Index fingertip touching inside root of thumb.
Palm facing up
Improves concentration, endocrine system and calms the mind.
28.Vishnu MudraGesture of preserver god vishnuIndex and middle finger bend down towards palm.Reduce anger, purify nadis, and helpful in heart diseases.
29.Vayu MudraGesture of air elementThumb pressing second phalanx of index fingerOvercome gastric problems and builds immunity.
31.Shakti MudraGesture of strengthEncircle thumb inside index and middle fingers, touch them at back, raise ring and little fingertips – extend them up.Helpful in sleeplessness, rectifies the painful urination problem and menstruation discomforts
31.Abhaya MudraGesture of fearlessnessLift right hand to the chest level then open palm facing to the front.Helps in conquering the fear and settle emotions.
34.Dhyana MudraGesture of meditationPlace right hand over left hand so fingers aligning each other. Now touch both thumb tip.Deepen the levels of meditation and activate left and right side of brain.
35.Chinmaya MudraGesture of awarenessCurl middle, ring and little finger to palm and touch index fingertip with thumb.Prevents memory loss and cures insomnia.
36.Prithvi MudraGesture of earth elementRing finger tip touching thumb. Rest three fingers extended.Weight gain and healing body tissues.
37.Karana MudraBuddha’s gesture of expelling negativityMiddle finger tip touching thum, ring finger curl parallel to middle, and rest two fingers extended.Fill mind with positivity, drives energy forces inwards.
38.Bhramara MudraGesture of humming beeIndex finger curl down to base of thumb, thumb touching outside of middle finger, and rest two fingers extended.Beneficial to get rid of allergies, and treats common cold, running nose, tonsillitis.
39.Pushan MudraGesture of nourishment or digestionRight hand – touch index and middle finger tip to thumb tip.
Left hand – touch ring and middle finger tip to thumb tip. Rest two fingers extended.
Best mudra for digestion, eliminate blockage and toxins. Also, cures nausea, flatulence, constipation.
40.Mushti MudraFist gesture of anger managementHold hand in a fist with thumb placed over the ring finger.Relieve negative emotions and lower blood pressure.
41.Garuda MudraEagle gestureHold onto your thumbs. Place right hand on the apex of left hand.Inculcate fearlessness, and useful in get rid of lethargy and fatigue
42.Vitraka MudraGesture of discussionJoin the tips of the thumb and the index fingers together, palm facing forward at the heart level.Encourages wisdom, uplifts energy, and develops a sense of clarity
43.Merudanda MudraGesture of erect spineExtend thumbs of each hand upward, and curl other fingers into the palm.Strengthens the spine and eliminates restlessness from the mind.
44.Varada MudraBuddha’s boon dispenser gestureRight hand held out, with palm uppermost and the fingers pointing downwards.Make seeker humble, cultivate forgiveness quality,
45.Bhairava MudraFierce gesture of lord ShivaPlace right hand on the cup of your left hand. Tips of the fingers of both hands facing opposite directions.Soothing and instant relieving effects on anxiety, stress, and mood swings
46.Asthma MudraAsthma relieving gestureBend and press middle fingers of both hands at the fingernails. Palms should press together gently with the other fingers remaining straight.Improves breathing, removes blockage and toxins from lung,
47.Uttarabodhi MudraBuddha’s gesture of enlightenmentInterlock both hand fingers. Now extend index fingers up, touching tip together and thumb downwards.Boosts confidence, promotes optimism, and inculcates fearlessness
48.Ushas MudraAttitude of dawnUshas-MudraClasp hand together with finger interlaced. Thumb pointing up.Regulates irregular menses, regulates the proper hormonal flow.
49.Mahasirs MudraGreat head gestureMahasirs-MudraTouch index and middle finger tip with thumb tip, curl ring finger to base of thumb, and extend little finger.Cures sinus issues, relieves eye strain and improves concentration
50.Kalesvara MudraGesture of time godKalesvara-MudraJoin first and second phalanx of both hand fingers, extend middle fingers up and join them. Join thumb below creating a heart shape.Helpful to get rid of the habit of procrastination, brings serenity, and develops adaptability
All hand mudras list with picture & meaning

2. Kaya Mudra (Postural Gesture)

viparita karani mudra / asana
Viparita karani mudra. Image Source: Canva

Kaya mudras are similar to various yoga asanas because in these mudras whole body involvement is required. It requires intense concentration to hold the body in a particular asana (or pranayama) & mudra.

1.Viparita KaraniInverted gestureBody in inverted posture on shoulders and the back is supported by hands.Release tension from cramped feet & legs, increases appetite
2.YogaMudraPsychic union poseIn padmasana, catch the left wrist by the right hand at the back and bend forward to forehead touching the ground.Improves muscle tone, stretches muscles of the trunk and the neck.
3.Pashinee MudraFolded psychic attitudeFrom halasana, bend knees to touch the sides of ears and shoulders. Then wrap the arms tightly around the legs and relaxIncreases spine flexibility and tones abdominal organs.
4.Manduki MudraFrog gestureIn bhadrasana close the mouth, then rotate tongue inside mouth touching upper palate.Prevent graying of hair, aids in digestion, enhances the sense of taste
5.Tadagi MudraGesture of the pondFrom bending forward in dandasana, hold the breath, pull abdominal muscles in hollow the abdomen.Relieves physical stress and reduces obesity.
Types of kaya mudras with meaning

3. Mana Mudra (Head Mudra)

kaki mudra - crow's beak gesture lips
Kaki Mudra. Image Source: Shutterstock

Head mudras comprise the practice to focus the mind in meditation (mainly in kundalini yoga). These mudras require the involvement of sense organs (eyes, nose, tongue, lips & ears). Head mudras are so powerful that it can snap out us from instinctive habits (which become an obstacle in meditation) even in short periods.

1.Shambhavi MudraEyebrow centre gazing gestureEyes gaze turned inward & up on centre between eyebrows.Gives psychic power, open third eye, reduce perceived stress
2.Shanmukhi MudraSix gates closing gestureUsing five fingers 2 ears, 2 eyes, nostrils, and mouth is closed.Facial glow and improves hearing ability
3.Khechari MudraTongue lockThe tongue is rolled up to the hard palate then extended back & up with time.Opens blocked salivary glands, draw mind inwards and stimulates master gland
4.Bhoochari MudraGazing into nothingnessFirst, a point is fixed at 4 to 5 inches from nose tip using the hand. Then the hand is removed and concentrate on that point.Increases awareness and reasoning power.
5.Kaki mudraCrow’s beak gestureAir is sucked in through rounded lips keeping the tongue relax in the mouth.Prevents the signs of aging like wrinkles, cures respiratory diseases
6.Nasikagra DrishtiNosetip gazingThe gaze is fixed down at the tip of the nose.Good for calming and stability of the mind, stress relief, improves concentration
7.Unmani MudraAttitude of mindlessnessEyes open widely, awareness is fixed at Bindu, and then with breathing out, awareness is drawn one by one to lower chakras.Stimulates all the energy chakras and balances doshas.
8.Bhujangini MudraCobra gestureFrom a sitting posture, lean forward, lift the chin up then air is gulped through the mouth to the stomach.Cures digestive disorders, improves respiration and regulates eating habits.
Types of mana mudras with meaning

4. Bandha Mudra (Locks)

maha mudra (great gesture)
maha mudra (great gesture). Image Source: Canva

Bandhas with mudras utilize the engagement of subtle skeletal muscles (vocal, respiratory & pelvis) to hold the Prana. This Prana holding awakens the kundalini energy in the body.

1.Jalandhar BandhaThroat lockChin to chest locking throatcorrects double chin and prevents all the disorders of the thyroid gland
2.Uddiyana BandhaAbdominal lockPulling abdominal muscles in and upStrengthens abdominal muscles and diaphragm. improves digestion
3.Mula BandhaRoot lockContract pelvic floor muscles and pull them upKundalini awakening, stimulates the nervous system
4.Maha MudraGreat sealAll three bandhas are performed altogether after sitting in Janu sirshasana.Destroyer of all 5 kleshas (sufferings), muscle strengthening, enhances immunity
Types of bandha mudras with meaning

5. Adhara Mudra (Perineal Mudra)

Adhara or Perineal mudra contains the involvement of the pelvic floor area to stimulate the sacral chakra, which in turn harness sexual energy in the body.

Practicing Adhara Mudra helps energy to redirects into the solar channel (Pingala Nadi) of the body.

1.Vajroli MudraThunderbolt gestureAwareness is cultivated to the muscles around genital organ and then with full efforts, these muscles are contracted.sexual potency, prevents premature ejaculation, and improves the vigor
2.Ashwini MudraHorse gestureThe anal sphincter muscle is rhythmically contracted.Effective in piles, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and urinary incontinence.
3.Maha Vedha MudraThe great penetrating mudraAwareness is focused on the root chakra to activate it.Awaken psychic faculties, stimulates your endocrine system
4.Maha Bheda MudraThe great piercing mudraAwareness is lifted from the root chakra up piercing all chakras one-by-one to the crown chakra.Prepares the mind for meditation, no fear of death and decay.
Types of adhara mudras with meaning

How to do Yoga Mudras?

  1. Come into a comfortable posture – Mostly practiced hand mudras are performed in a meditation sitting position such as Easy pose (Sukhasana), Lotus pose (Padmasana), or Hero pose (Virasana). However, you can even do some mudras while standing relax, or sitting on a chair if you’re not comfortable with sitting on the ground.
  2. Heat up the hands – Before practicing any hand mudra gently rub your hand and then put them on abdomen facing navel for a while. It will activate the nerves on your hands.
  3. Press fingertips together – After warm-up your hands, bring your fingers to the relevant yoga mudra position and press fingertips gently (that much so you can feel the contact between fingers). In most meditative mudras, after attaining a mudra, the back of the hands are placed on the knees.
  4. Hold the mudra – Keep hands in relevant mudras in a manner that fingers should not move. At first, hold the mudra position for at least 12 breath counts, and then increase it in a period of 5 minutes in one sitting.

Are Mudras Scientifically Proven?

Yes, mudras are scientifically proven! There are many studies published to date which show the therapeutic use of mudras.

To assess the effect of yoga mudra, S-VYASA University India, conducted a study in which they found holding a hand mudra for 20 minutes or more increases the surge of energy at fingertips. It’s measured by the EPI technique.

In this study, 61 volunteers divided into 2 groups namely ‘control’ and ‘mudra’ group. In Mudra Group, volunteers were said to sitting quietly with eyes closed in Prana Mudra for 20 minutes. The control group also followed the same procedure, except for not practicing the prana mudra

  • In the yoga mudra group, significant changes observed in EPI parameters as compared to the control group.
    • The EPI (Electrophotonic imaging) variable, intensity, is a measure of the quantum activity of a subject, measured by keeping all the ten fingers one by one on the glass surface of the EPI equipment. It is represented in computer unit pixels and is a measure of metabolic rate.

Increased effect size after practicing yoga mudra shows there is a surge of energy occurs at the fingertips when we hold the hand in a mudra for long enough (minimum 20 minutes). Indeed, mudras direct energy towards the body and prevent it from decaying outwards.


Yoga mudra is a subtle but most vital part of yoga because it gives you the ability to direct the energy within the body in different ways. The asanas and pranayamas can be understood as a preparatory practice that cultivates awareness of having Prana within us. Then comes the practice of mudras which lets you interact and manipulate the pranic energy.

This is the reason in hatha yoga tradition, mudras are practiced only after proficiency in Asana, Pranayama & bandha.

Mudra is associated with the changing mental and spiritual features of an individual. This change through mudra lets channelize the internal energy by affecting sensory glands, veins & organs of the body.

Yoga Mudras For

Yoga Mudras FAQs

How many mudras are there in yoga, in total?

In yoga, there are more than 399 mudras mentioned in different texts and by different yogis. However, in tantric rituals, 108 mudras are used. Besides, taking yogic texts as a reference, in Hatha yoga pradipika 10 mudras are described, and in Gheranda Samhita, 25 mudras are described.

How long does it take for Mudras to work?

Mudras usually start showing the effect in 4 weeks when done consistently. If you’re going through some chronic diseases, it might take a little longer, around 6 to 7 weeks. Mudra’s working efficiency depends on your practice consistency and the current physical condition.

Can mudras be done during periods?

There is no harm in practicing yoga mudras during periods. In fact, some mudra (Apana mudra) helps to regularize the menstrual cycle. As per the yogic literature, there are two movements of energy within our body, upward movement is refereed as Prana energy and downward is Apana energy. The very simple logic behind practicing mudras during the menstrual cycle is that it’s downward flow of energy (Apana movement).  By the practice of mudra, periods pain can be eased by regularizing Apana movement.

Do Yoga Mudras heal?

Yes, mudras mechanism of healing can be understood by the fact that acupressure points are present on hands. When we join fingers in the different arrangement in a mudra, acupressure points of the respective parts get stimulated. In this way, mudras open the blockage in the particular nerves of the body by stimulating acupressure points. Hence mudras have a healing effect.

How long a Yoga Mudra should be practiced?

Hold a mudra for at least of 15 minutes in one sitting by exerting a very gently pressure between fingertips. In yoga, a mudra should be practiced for 45 minutes in a day. Because 45 minutes period may sound daunting to many people, so for convenience, a mudra is practiced 3 times a day.

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