In one of our previous blog posts, we were outlining five of the most popular mudras that you can use in your own yoga practice.
Mudras are hand gestures or seals that can lead energies. Mudra means “that what brings joy”, where ‘mud’ stands for joy and ‘ra’ means to give.
In this article, we are going to explore a few more of those hand gestures which can help you find more balance and harmony by using the elements.
The five elements in Hinduism
According to Hinduism, there are five elements that are the basis of all cosmic creation. Those are fire (Agni), air (Vayu), space (Aakasha), earth (Prithivi), and water (Varun).
Each of our fingers represents one of the five elements:
- Ring Finger = Earth (Prithivi)
- Thumb = Fire (Agni)
- Index finger = Air (Vayu)
- Small Finger = Water (Varun or Jala)
- Middle Finger = Ether (Aakasha)
Ancient Hindu philosophy says that those five elements are integral part of every human being. Yet, every body has a different balance of those elements: while some of us need more water, others might lack the element earth. The more balanced we are with those elements, the more health and wellbeing we gain. Mudras will help us to support our system and finding this balance.
1. Prithivi Mudra – Earth
What it does:
Prithivi in Sanskrit means ‘the vast one’. It also stands for the element earth. Accordingly, this mudra strengthens the element earth within you, which promotes healing and overall balance in your body. For example, prithivi mudra will help you in times of feeling unsettled while traveling, or to manage the feeling of unsafely and nervousness before a speech.
As this mudra is connected with our muladhara (root) chakra, it will also help in finding more grounding energy and connection with the earth. As a result, you will feel more safe, stable and secure when using this mudra in difficult times.
To practice prithivi mudra, touch the tip of your ring finger with the tip of your thumb while the other fingers are kept straight.
2. Surya (Agni) Mudra – Sun and Fire
What it does:
Known both as surya and agni mudra, this is the mudra of fire, heat and sun. It stands for energy in our organs. If we don’t have enough prana or life force to start something new, we can activate energy by using this mudra. Agni or Surya Mudra are also great to boost your metabolism, regulate your heat and increase your energy in cold and dark seasons.
Fold your ring finger into your hand so that its tip touches the base of your thumb. Next, place your thumb on top of the ring finger, giving it a light pressure. Keep the other fingers straight. The suppression of the ring finger (element earth) by the thumb creates a dominance of the element fire.
3. Vayu Mudra – Air
What it does:
Vayu mudra aims to decrease the element air in the body. By regulating excess air in the body, it helps people who suffer from bloating and gas formation after eating. Practiced regularly, this mudra also supports a better blood circulation. By reducing air in the body, it also helps to soothe pain such as sciatica, gout or rheumatism. As vayu mudra is associated with vata dosha, it is supportive for vata type people.
Fold your index finger and place it inside the base of your thumb. Then, place your thumb on the back of your index finger. Doing this, the element air (index finger) is being suppressed by the element fire (represented by your thumb). Keep your other fingers straight.
4. Varun Mudra – Water
What it does:
Varun Mudra is called the “seal of mental clarity”. Varun is the Sanskrit word for water. A lack of the water element in the body often results in dehydration and dryness of skin, hair, eyes and mouth. Skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, or digestive problems such as constipation may appear. This mudra is believed to enhance the water element in your body, bringing back relief from above symptoms. Practicing this mudra also helps with blood related problems and liver disorders.
Lightly bring the tip of your little finger (water) and the tip of your thumb together while the other fingers remain extended.
5. Aakash Mudra – Ether and Space
What it does:
Aakash means ‘recognize’ or ‘view’. By connecting our middle finger and thumb, we are bringing attention to the element ether and space and are aiming to increase this element: Aakash mudra creates a healing space within our body. It also activates our throat chakra which stands for self-expression, communication and speaking our truth. By creating more space in our body, the other elements water, air, wood and fire also get more room to expand.
On a physical level, practicing aakash mudra helps with overeating and with calcium and phosphorus absorption from diet. It releases tension and supports to detox our body.
On an emotional level, practicing this mudra helps with negative feelings, calms the mind and provides a feeling of completeness.
Bring the tips of your middle finger and thumb together creating a circle with those fingers, while keeping the three fingers straight.
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