What are mudras?

Conscious TV

June 22, 2021

In Sanskrit, a mudra is a seal and is represented by a gesture. The best known are performed with the hands, however, there are others that are performed with the tongue, with the arms or by immersing the whole body in a posture.

According to yogic literature there are 7 major chakras along the spine, which are the most important in the body. However, there are many smaller ones that also serve as energy centres. The mudras work with these smaller chakras: there are many types and each has a different purpose.

What are mudras used for?

  • Anjali Mudra: the palms are placed together in the centre of the chest, similar to the traditional prayer gesture. It is one of the best known mudras and is a traditional and very respectful way of greeting or saying goodbye to another person: it is the gesture that corresponds to "Namaste".
  • Jnana Mudra: The thumb and the tip of the index finger are brought together in a circle. The rest of the fingers are left extended. This mudra is traditionally used for meditation as it represents the union of the individual Atman, in the index finger, with the Universal Spirit of which the soul is a part, in the thumb. Some schools of thought point out that bringing the tip of the thumb to the first phalanx of the index finger can induce deeper meditation.The union of the Jnana_Mudrad tip of the thumb with the tips of the other fingers forms different mudras, each with different purposes. 
  • Kechari Mudra: is an advanced and secret practice. It is performed by bringing the tongue towards the throat. According to yogic tradition, when the tongue touches the naso-pharyngeal channels, transcendence is more easily achieved, however, it is a practice that takes years under the proper teaching of a master.
  • Yoga Mudra: This is performed in many Yoga practices and most students mistake it for just another posture. With the legs in lotus, the chest is lowered to the floor and, crossing the arms behind the back, the right foot is held with the right hand and the left foot with the left hand.  This posture prepares the body for long hours of meditation.

There are many other types of mudras, of greater or lesser difficulty, however, it is important to note that whichever one is performed, it must be under the instruction of a qualified teacher.

By Monika Cornillac, Conscious Television . If you want to discover more about Yoga, see our Yoga Courses.