Merudanda Mudra (Back Pain Gesture): Meaning, How to Do, Benefits

merudanda mudra
Image Source: Canva

Merudanda mudra is one effective hand gesture that represents the health of the spine. Practicing this mudra relieves your back pain and stress within a few minutes.

To assume merudanda mudra, curl your fingers in a fist and keep the thumbs extended. The hands are placed on the thighs and the direction of thumbs keeps changing with deep breaths.

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    This hand gesture is usually acquired during meditation and pranayama practices. Extended thumb in Merudanda mudra is used in Shambhavi mudra to adjust gaze in the beginning so as to make it easy.

    Merudanda Mudra Meaning

    In Sanskrit, “merudanda” refers to “spinal column” and “mudra” means gesture. Its practice leaves massaging effects on the spinal column aiding the flow of pranic energy throughout the body.


    It is named so because of the soothing and healing effects that it leaves on the spine. It is also referred to as Spine Mudra.

    Merudanda mudra is also called guru mudra as the thumb is actively used in this mudra and the thumb is associated with the fire element. Just like a guru (teacher) guides you from darkness to light, the fire element association of this mudra gives you the needed fire energy to guide your path.

    Due to the flow of prana throughout the spine, Merudanda mudra helps to activate and balance all the chakras. It also serves as an exercise to improve the focus and concentration of the practitioner.

    Mythological Aspect

    In Hindu mythology, there is a scared golden mountain named “Meru”, the abode of Gods. It is said to be in the center of the universe like the spine lies in the center of our body.


    The combination of the two terms “Meru” and “Danda” refers to “the scepter of the sacred Mount Meru.” It shares a resemblance with the central support of our skeletal system, the spinal column. Hence, the name.

    Moreover, the Merudanda mudra resembles the thumbs-up gesture that expresses that everything is okay. That is what exactly is observed in one’s health condition by attaining this mudra.

    Merudanda Mudra along with central position of thumb is performed in 2 other position;

    Adho Merudanda Mudra

    In this, both thumbs pointing toward each other.

    adho merudanda mudra
    adho merudanda mudra. Image Source: Canva

    Urdhva Merudanda Mudra

    In this, both thumbs pointing away from each other.

    urdhav merudanda mudra
    urdhav merudanda mudra. Image Source: Canva

    How to Do Merudanda Mudra

    Merudanda mudra is completed following Adho merudanda mudra and Urdhva merudanda mudra in sequence as described below:

    1. Sit in sukhasana or vajrasana keeping your eyes closed.
    2. Place your hands on your thighs with the palms facing down.
    3. Curl your fingers towards the palms to form a fist.
    4. Keep the thumbs extended towards each other (Adho Merudanda mudra).
    5. Shift your focus towards the slow deep breaths and hold the mudra for 8-10 breaths.
    6. Roll your hands on your thighs so that the thumb is pointed towards the sky (Merudanda mudra).
    7. Again, stay in such a position for 8-10 breaths.
    8. At last, move your hands so that the thumbs are pointed outwards in opposite directions (Urdhva Merudanda mudra).
    9. Take eight slow breaths holding Urdhva Merudanda mudra.

    Precautions and contraindications

    • Do not practice Merudanda mudra if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.
    • Always practice it on an empty stomach.
    • Ensure that the spine is kept erect throughout the practice.
    • Discontinue the practice if you feel any discomfort or pain holding the mudra.

    When & How long to practice

    • Practice Merudanda mudra at any time of the day either in any meditative posture or in a chair.
    • This mudra can be practiced either sitting or standing.
    • One can also practice it as preparatory or counter mudra for other yoga asanas.
    • The rhythm of breathing practicing this mudra must be 4:2:5:2. It means 4 seconds of inhalation, followed by 2 seconds halt, then 5 seconds of exhalation, and another 2 seconds of holding.

    Stay tuned to better understand the detailed mechanism and effects of Merudanda mudra.

    Mechanism of Working

    While performing Merudanda mudra the rotation of the thumbs steers the flow of prana to different regions of the body.

    • In Adho Merudanda mudra, when thumbs are pointing towards each other, the prana moves through the lungs and lower abdomen.
    • Energy moves through the mid-section of the body as the thumbs are extended upward.
    • Finally holding the Urdhva Merudanda with thumbs extended outwards energizes the chest as well as the spine.
    • As Merudanda mudra derives pranic energy throughout the spine, it opens all the energy chakras. When is the flow of prana is directed towards the solar plexus (Manipura Chakra), it improves the metabolism to respond better in any stressed situation.
    • This mudra is beneficial in opening the sacred energy channel, Sushumna Nadi that helps in achieving enlightenment. This is so because the prana flows from the base of the pelvis to the crown of the head. Hence, it also awakens the Kundalini energy.
    • Besides this, Merudanda Mudra also stimulates the thymus gland. It produces hormones beneficial to remove the stress out of the body.

    Therapeutic Advantages

    1. Merudanda mudra is a boon to relieve back pain or back strain.
    2. It rectifies the issue of slip disc if practiced for 30 minutes daily followed by prana mudra for 10 minutes.
    3. It also helps in curing piles and healing the prostate.
    4. Diabetic patients also experience healing effects through this mudra.
    5. It has soothing effects on the nervous system and helps to alleviate stress, anxiety, and other psychological issues.
    6. It relieves issues like dyspepsia and gastritis by enhancing the digestive fire.
    7. You can practice this mudra to heal the distended spleen or liver.

    Merudanda Mudra Benefits

    1. Merudanda mudra helps in the detoxification process. When it is combined with pranayama practices, it expands the lungs and purifies the blood.
    2. This also works to improve the circulatory and respiratory systems.
    3. It stimulates the stomach viscera and improves the efficiency of the kidney and liver.
    4. Merudanda mudra is also helpful in reducing obesity.
    5. This eliminates restlessness from the mind and helps in enhancing awareness.
    6. The deep breathing practice along with Merudanda mudra strengthens the spine and activates the Ida, Pingla, and Sushumna Nadis.


    Merudanda mudra is the need of the hour especially in this sedentary lifestyle, as it strengthens and rejuvenates the spine.

    It’s worth trying this simple hand gesture to experience the soothing and healing effects on physical and psychological health.


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