Yoga Hand Symbols 101: Your Comprehensive Introduction to Mudras

Yoga Hand Symbols 101: Your Comprehensive Introduction to Mudras

Welcome to a journey into the world of yoga hand symbols, or as they are commonly known as, mudras. These yoga hand gestures, which have their roots deep in ancient Indian spiritual practices, play a significant role in yoga and meditation.

Mudra is a Sanskrit word from India that means "seal" or "gesture". Indicating that it seals energy like a conduit through our hand gesture.

The History of Yoga Hand Symbols

During my years as a yoga teacher, I've come across numerous yoga hand signs, and I always found myself intrigued by their roots. Dating back thousands of years, these powerful mudras were first mentioned in the Vedas, ancient Indian scriptures, and have been integral to spiritual practices ever since.

Not only are mudras directly related to yoga in the cultural roots of India, but you can also see meditation hand symbols all over the world from various cultures.

Meditation hand signs are a universal language that transcends any individual nation, civilization, or culture. However, the oldest records appear to be in India and as a yogi in the West, I will be approaching the topic of yoga hand symbols as mudras from the context of yoga.

While we may just see them as physical gestures at first glance, mudras are so much more than that. In my experience, I've learned that they are believed to channel your body's energy and can significantly influence your mood and mindset during yoga and meditation.

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The Energetic Influence of Mudras

I remember the first time I practiced the Jnana mudra - the seal of knowledge. I had seen these meditation hand symbols my entire life but no one had ever told me they meant something. My mind was filled with thoughts of what I might feel being "initiated" into the practice of mudras.

My teacher cued the mudra and… I felt nothing.

But as my practice in meditation evolved, I began to sense calm and clarity washing over me. This is what yoga hand signs are all about - they're not just symbolic; they're experiential.

Think about how you use your hands daily, how they help you express and connect with the world. Now imagine directing this expressive energy purposefully, channeling it through specific patterns and signs, and you'll begin to understand the impact of yoga hand symbols.

Exploring Meditation Hand Symbols

Just like in yoga, I've found that using specific meditation hand symbols can deepen the meditative experience. The Anjali Mudra, where hands are pressed together at the heart center, is one I often perform in my yoga (asana) practice. It helps me foster a sense of unity and connection, elevating my meditation sessions.

yoga hand symbol prana flow chakras nadis energy channels

Unraveling the Science Behind Yoga Hand Symbols

Now, as much as I adore the spiritual aspects of yoga hand symbols, I want to share a bit of the scientific findings behind these meditation hand signs. I understand that some of you may be wondering about the scientific underpinning of these ancient practices. Mudras did not come out of nowhere for no reason.

Mudras and Reflexology

Let me introduce you to reflexology, a fascinating concept. It postulates that specific areas on our hands are energetically connected to various parts of the body and brain. 

Consider the tip of your thumb; according to reflexology, it's connected to your pituitary gland, the master gland of the body. So, when we perform the Jnana mudra, where the thumb and index finger touch, we're believed to stimulate this gland, potentially impacting our overall well-being.

Yoga Hand Symbols Meditation Hand Symbols Meditation Hand Signs Reflexology Hands

The Science Behind Yoga Hand Symbols

A study from Bengaluru, India, explored how these hand symbols interact with our body's energy using a method called Electrophotonic Imaging (EPI). In simple terms, EPI captures the energy discharge around your fingers when you form different yoga hand signs.

The study found significant changes in energy parameters when practicing mudras, especially when these were held for more than 20 minutes. This points to a fascinating possibility of energy manipulation within our bodies simply through the use of these yoga hand symbols.

In some cases, specific mudras like the prana mudra (used for eye-related issues) suggested changes related to specific organs. The world of mudras is clearly an exciting frontier for science and spirituality alike!

A Holistic Approach to Yoga Hand Symbols

One of the most beautiful things about yoga hand symbols, in my opinion, is that they provide a holistic approach to wellbeing. They're not just about achieving physical postures; they're about harmonizing mind, body, and spirit. 

Whether you resonate more with the spiritual explanation of mudras or their scientific basis, the important thing is the experience itself. The next time you form a yoga hand symbol during your practice, remember, there's a wealth of ancient wisdom and a dash of modern science at your fingertips. If nothing else, the mudra forces your focus on specific areas potentially revealing to you new perspectives and thoughts.

yoga hand symbol meditation hand symbols dharmadhatu mudra

An Introduction to Specific Mudras

You may have asked yourself “what are those meditation hand signs?” that you often see in yoga and meditation practices. Well, this is the perfect place for you. Mudras are like keys that unlock the doors to deeper states of mindfulness, serenity, and even healing. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

A Universal Language of Yoga Hand Symbols

Many traditions worldwide use similar meditation hand signs or hand gestures. Some names may differ, but typically the hand symbol and meaning are strikingly similar. It's a testament to the universal language of energy, intention, and our interconnectedness with one another.

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Beginner Mudras

Here's a brief list of likely recognizable yoga hand symbols for beginners to explore.

Anjali Mudra

The mudra for balance and respect, brings union to both sides of the body.

Jnana Mudra

The mudra for knowledge, a mudra for wisdom.

Bhairava Mudra

The mudra for deep meditation, this meditation hand symbol brings you inner peace and tranquility.

Abhaya Mudra

The mudra for fearlessness, a yoga hand symbol that represents courage and having no fear.

Prana Mudra

The mudra for energy and prana, directing energy through discipline.

Intermediate Mudras: Dive Deeper

Surya Mudra

The mudra for heat energy, a mudra for channeling energy within you.

Hakini Mudra

The mudra for power, a yoga hand sign used to feel and foster your inner strength.

Citta Mudra

The mudra for peace of mind, facilitating the the openness of deep meditation.

Padma Mudra

The mudra for love and spirituality, a beautiful mudra for inner peace and growth.

Akasha Mudra

The mudra for space, fostering intuition and expansion.

Dharmadhatu Mudra

The mudra for meditation, a powerful mudra for concentration and inner peace.

What is Anjali Mudra: The Mudra for Balance and Respect

Anjali mudra, often synonymous with the word 'Namaste,' is like the cornerstone of yoga hand symbols. It's a symbol of honor, respect, and balance. It's also one of my personal favorites when greeting people or when I’m feeling an overwhelming sense of blessing washing over me.

How to do Anjali Mudra

The hand position for Anjali mudra is quite straightforward, and you most likely have already done it without even realizing it. It involves pressing your palms together, fingers pointing upwards, thumbs at the heart center. Imagine you're offering a heartfelt greeting or giving thanks.

Anjali mudra is similar to the prayer hands of Christian and other religions and spiritual practices around the world.

Yoga Hand Symbols Meditation Hand Symbols Anjali Mudra Prayer Hands

Anjali Mudra Meaning

Anjali mudra holds a profound symbolic meaning. "Anjali" is a Sanskrit term that translates to "divine offering," while "mudra" means "seal" or "gesture". The pressing of the palms together symbolizes the union of opposites, harmonizing the two hemispheres of the brain. This gesture also represents respect – to the divine, to the yoga practice itself, and to our fellow beings.

Anjali mudra is frequently used to close a yoga practice while saying “namaste” acting as a gentle reminder of the respect and unity we share with one another. 

Anjali mudra is used as ‘namaskara’ in India, a greeting. Similar to a “goodbye” in the West. It’s used casually but the meaning is still there. In a Western class we look to the deeper spiritual aspect as a sign of respect for and honor to the cultural roots of yoga.

Benefits of Anjali Mudra

Apart from the yogic symbolism, Anjali mudra offers a host of wellness benefits. It brings a sense of balance to the mind and body. It can help you see beyond your own biases by cultivating inner silence and peace.

The act of pressing the palms together at your heart center encourages the activation of the heart chakra, promoting feelings of love, compassion, and empathy. 

Using Anjali Mudra in Your Yoga Practice

Anjali mudra can be beautifully integrated into various asanas and meditation practices. You'll often find it in poses like Samasthiti (Equal Standing) or as a concluding gesture to a yoga class. And of course, it's a perfect addition to any greeting. 

Integrating the Anjali yoga hand sign into your practice might just bring a touch more calm and balance into your life, just like it did for me.

What is Jnana Mudra: The Mudra for Wisdom and Knowledge

Jnana mudra also known as Gyan mudra is a commonly seen mudra in many images of yogis and buddhists meditating. This yoga hand symbol is often associated with knowledge and wisdom. It's used in meditation practices, where it aids in enhancing focus and promoting mental clarity. 

I've found that using this simple yet powerful mudra in my practice has had a profound effect on my mental well-being. I’ve also used it during contemplation meditations where I’m actively contemplating how I think and why.

How to do Jnana Mudra

The Jnana mudra is simple to form. Start by extending your hand out, palm facing upward. Gently bring the tip of your index finger to touch the tip of your thumb. Keep the other three fingers comfortably straight, but not stiff. 

The resulting circle formed by the thumb and index finger represents the cyclical nature of life. You can keep the palms facing up, or turn the palms to face down. This may change the flow of energy in your meditation.

Yoga Hand Symbols Meditation Hand Symbols Gyan mudra Chin Mudra

Jnana Mudra Meaning

In Sanskrit, 'Jnana' means 'knowledge', ‘Jnana’ means ‘wisdom’, and this mudra is all about enhancing your knowledge and wisdom. 

By creating a circle with the thumb and index finger, we symbolize the ultimate unity of the individual soul (Jivatma) as represented by the index finger with the universal soul (Parmatma) as represented by the thumb.

Benefits of Jnana Mudra

On a subtle level, it's thought to enhance concentration, memory, and creativity. It can also ease tension, help with depression, and promote a general sense of contentment.

Jnana mudra can bring your meditation practice to new levels. At first you might feel uncomfortable holding the mudras in your meditation but once you’ve settled in you’ll begin to notice the concentration effects on your mind.

Using Jnana Mudra in Your Yoga Practice

Jnana mudra can be integrated into virtually any seated meditation practice. I often use it while in contemplative meditation.

You can also use Jnana mudra while practicing poses like Padmasana (Lotus Pose), Sukhasana (Easy Pose), or even Tadasana (Mountain Pose).

What is Bhairava Mudra: The Mudra for Deep Meditation

This meditation hand symbol is comfortable and discreet for the yogi on the go.

How to do Bhairava Mudra

Creating the Bhairava mudra is straightforward and natural, making it accessible. Start by sitting comfortably, preferably in your meditative posture of choice. Rest your hands in your lap, right hand on top of the left hand, with both palms facing upwards.

Yoga Hand Symbols Meditation Hand Symbols Bhairava Mudra Hands in Lap

Bhairava Mudra Meaning

In Sanskrit, Bhairava is one of the aspects of Shiva, symbolizing the fierce and transformative side of consciousness. When you form this mudra, you're unifying this powerful energy, inviting transformation and introspection into your practice.

The overlapping hands represent the union of the individual self with the universal self. Together this represents the unifying nature of our existence and inherent freedom. This union fosters an enhanced sense of interconnectedness and unity.

Benefits of Bhairava Mudra

What I love about the Bhairava mudra is how it effortlessly integrates into any seated position. I can do this mudra while waiting in a public place, at a family gathering, or when I’m in my meditation practice.

In my own practice, I've found that it enhances my breath and sense of inner peace.

Using Bhairava Mudra in Your Yoga Practice

While you can use Bhairava mudra with any seated meditation, it is particularly powerful when used during practices focused on introspection and self-awareness. Like the Buddha, you could find a tree to sit under and meditate with Bhairava mudra.

My preferred method of using Bhairava mudra is whenever I’m patiently waiting for someone. Bhairava is sometimes called “Kala Bhairava” which means lord of time.

What is Abhaya Mudra: The Mudra for Fearlessness

Translated as the "mudra of fearlessness", it is a profound symbol for cultivating courage and peace.

How to do Abhaya Mudra

Forming the Abhaya mudra, stand or sit comfortably. Then, raise your right hand to shoulder height with your palm facing outward and fingers pointed upwards, almost like you're signaling 'stop'. 

Depictions of Ganesh, Shiva, Lakshmi, and other deities from India often hold the Abhaya mudra.

Yoga Hand Symbols Meditation Hand Symbols Abhaya Mudra Stop Yoga hand

Abhaya Mudra Meaning

The Abhaya mudra has roots in ancient traditions, used as a symbol of fearlessness. The open palm outwardly expresses reassurance and safety, signaling the dispelling of fear.

What Abhaya mudra means is ultimately that there is nothing to fear. Everything has happened before and everything will happen again. The fear we are experiencing is due to our own separation from this understanding.

Benefits of Abhaya Mudra

By performing the Abhaya mudra, I've found myself better understanding my own fears and contemplating their impact on me.

From a wellness perspective, it can provide relief from stress and anxiety by promoting feelings of safety and peace. The physical gesture itself, uplifting the hand, also carries a sense of empowerment, boosting confidence and self-esteem.

Using Abhaya Mudra in Your Yoga Practice

Abhaya mudra is rarely integrated into any particular practice. It’s more of a symbol to teach us about fear. However, its extreme commonplace in statues, imagery, and symbology mean Abhaya mudra is worth performing to better understand it.

I would suggest attempting it while seated or standing to your own preference and hold for 20 minutes, but you can start with a few breaths if you’re new to using mudras.

What is Prana Mudra: The Mudra for Energy and Prana

Prana mudra, also known as the "Mudra of Life", is one of my favorites. I've found that it brings an invigorating energy to my classes and enhances my overall flow.

How to do Prana Mudra

The yoga hand symbol for Prana mudra can be achieved by extending your hand and gently touching the tip of your thumb to the tips of your ring and little fingers. Your other two fingers - the index and middle - remain straight.

Yoga Hand Symbols Meditation Hand Symbols Prana mudra for energy

Prana Mudra Meaning

Prana mudra derives its name from the Sanskrit term 'prana', meaning 'life force'. It's believed to activate the dormant energy within us, cultivating vitality and resilience. From my experience, this mudra truly lives up to its name, acting as a conduit for a rejuvenating surge of life force energy.

You can think of prana as the electrical flow of energy within the body. When this flow has less resistance then the body functions better. Prana mudra activates and enhances the flow of prana in the body.

Benefits of Prana Mudra

I've consistently noticed a directed flow of energy when using Prana mudra. Alongside its uplifting properties, this mudra aids in focusing the mind, proving beneficial during those demanding sequences.

You may also experience a sense of vitality, optimism, and enthusiasm when using Prana mudra.

I find it helps direct my own energy during my yoga asana classes that I teach when my students are in the midst of a flow.

Using Prana Mudra in Your Yoga Practice

I've found Prana mudra particularly beneficial when teaching yoga but I also use it in my personal practice. 

I prefer to use it when I want to direct energy through me such as in Warrior 2, Half Moon Pose, and Extended Side Angle. I like to use Prana mudra on both hands in my yoga practice.

Journal Your Journey with Inner Hero Yoga Journal

A Chronicle of Self-Discovery

The power of a yoga journal is immeasurable. It's a tool, a friend, and even a mirror reflecting our inner selves. I've always found that journaling my yoga practice has helped me deepen my understanding and grow. Not just as a yoga teacher but as a human.

You might be wondering, "What to write in a yoga journal?" It's a common and reasonable question that I asked myself in the beginning too. Let me share with you a few insights that have guided my yoga journaling journey.

As always, take what works for you, leave the rest.

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Journaling Insights and Inspirations

Observations: Did you notice any shifts in your energy or mood when you used a new mudra, like the Dharmadhatu mudra, into your practice? Were you more calm, centered, or energized? Write it down.

Challenges and Victories: Forgot Prana mudra in your Warrior 1? Held Jnana mudra in your meditation and had an experience? These are the moments of growth and achievement that keep us inspired and motivated.

Personal Insights: Yoga is a journey inward. It's amazing how a simple yoga hand symbol can bring up deep-seated emotions or realizations. Capture these in your journal. These thoughts are often fleeting and worth revisiting.

Questions and Curiosities: Did the Padma mudra in Vrksasana stir up questions? Write them down, explore them in your practice, or bring them to your next yoga class.

Now, if you're in need of a yoga journal to capture all these reflections, you may find the Inner Hero's Yoga Journal quite the companion. It's been designed with love to support you on your journey, just as it has been for me.

Spreading the Wisdom

As yoga teachers, our journals become an invaluable resource. I often refer to mine to practice specific sequences, mudras, and pranayamas that I want to share with my students. Seeing your students relate to you when you share a personal experience or breakthrough—it's uplifting.

Whether you're a budding yogi or a seasoned teacher, integrating yoga hand symbols, and journaling your journey, can lead to profound growth and learning. So grab that pen and open your Inner Hero's Yoga Journal. Let's walk this path of discovery together, one mudra at a time.

Ok, back to the mudras, now the more advanced yoga hand symbols!

What is Surya Mudra: The Mudra for Heat and Sun

After an injury to my right ring finger, I had to change my practice around. I felt low energy, discouraged due to my injury (that still can hurt 3 years later). What I found was Surya mudra to help me.

How to do Surya Mudra

Surya mudra, also known as the Sun mudra, is a relatively simple yoga hand symbol to make. Extend your hand, then bend your ring finger to touch somewhere around the base of your thumb. Press the thumb gently on the bent finger, and extend the remaining fingers out comfortably.

Yoga Hand Symbols Meditation Hand Symbols Surya Mudra Sun mudra

Surya Mudra Meaning

Surya mudra is a gesture of inner fire and transformation. Its name comes from the Sanskrit word 'Surya', meaning 'Sun'. This mudra's power to ignite radiant inner fire is why I keep coming back to it.

Benefits of Surya Mudra

In my own practice, I've noticed a distinct rise in my energy levels when practicing Surya Mudra. Its associated benefits include aiding weight loss and improving digestion, attributable to its stimulation of the 'fire element' in the body.

From a wellness perspective, it's also believed to promote better circulation and metabolism, something I've personally noticed with regular use.

Using Surya Mudra in Your Yoga Practice

I love using Surya mudra during poses where one hand is grounded and the other is flying such as Triangle Pose, Side Planks, and Dancer’s Pose. 

You can try using Surya mudra in yoga classes for any pose. Are you wanting to generate internal heat? Working out? Want to add that little extra to each pose? Surya mudra is a great option.

What is Hakini Mudra: The Mudra for Power

If you've ever watched The Simpsons, you've probably seen Mr. Burns steepling his fingers together, whispering, "Excellent". That’s the Hakini mudra! 

But fear not, despite Mr. Burns' dubious use of it, this yoga hand symbol is not just for plotting world domination but rather one of personal power. Mr Burns was simply expressing the energy he was feeling. We all make certain yoga hand symbols intuitively when we’re feeling.

How to do Hakini Mudra

Performing Hakini mudra is simple. Bring all your fingertips and thumb tips from both hands to touch each other. Imagine holding a sphere in your hands - that's your Hakini mudra.

Yoga Hand Symbols Meditation Hand Symbols Hakini Mudra for Power

Hakini Mudra Meaning

Hakini mudra is linked with power, deep contemplation, and integration. Performing the Hakini mudra will undoubtedly bring about concentration and confidence in yourself. This will help you to integrate whatever it is you are experiencing.

Hakini is the goddess associated with the third eye. Hakini mudra supports the unfolding of wisdom within all the dimensions of our being.

Benefits of Hakini Mudra

The benefits of practicing the Hakini mudra are truly something. Personally, I've experienced improved concentration and the ability to to focus on a topic while integrating the information being received. 

Hakini mudra can be used to activate your focus and integration process. With this comes a balanced and calm breath and reduces stress levels.

Using Hakini Mudra in Your Yoga Practice

Hakini mudra is a meditation hand symbol. It is best used when in a receiving state and to help you stay centered in your own power so as not to be persuaded easily.

My favorite times to use Hakini mudra are during workshops, lectures, and when learning from a friend. It’s a fairly natural way to hold your hands and will not draw attention to yourself in public. Although someone might mistake you for Mr. Burns!

What is Citta Mudra: The Mudra for Peace of Mind

Citta mudra is a meditation hand symbol that is for deep meditation practitioners that can be integrated into specific asanas (physical postures). Citta mudra will help you find inner peace.

How to do Citta Mudra

Creating the Citta mudra is a little more difficult than previous mudras. Start with the Anjali mudra, then gently bend the index fingers down keeping the fingertips together, until they touch the tips of the thumbs. Citta mudra forms a tranquil cross in the palm of your hands.

Yoga Hand Symbols Meditation Hand Symbols Citta Mudra

Citta Mudra Meaning

The Citta mudra is all about calming the mind to awaken the inner witness. The word ‘Citta’ is Sanskrit for ‘mind-stuff’ or ‘heart-mind’. The Citta is the mind that perceives all and remembers everything of our experiences. To know ourselves, you must be aware of who you are.

Nisargaddhata (a personal favorite teacher) said “to know yourself, be yourself”. But how can I be myself if I don’t know myself and vice versa? Simple, awaken the witness within to see yourself by being yourself. 

Simple…?

Benefits of Citta Mudra

I’ve used Citta mudra as a means to put hyper focus on myself. This happens from the sensations Citta mudra delivers which forces attention into a concentrated space of self.

By awakening the inner witness the Citta calms and relaxes allowing the witness to clearly see the realities. I go into detail about this in my workshop and teaching ‘Whirlpools of the Mind’.

Using Citta Mudra in Your Yoga Practice

Citta mudra is a meditation hand symbol best used when seated, however you can transition from Anjali mudra to Citta mudra at any time in any pose. It will draw your focus away from the unity and into the witness state.

I personally prefer to use Citta mudra only in seated meditation but your mileage may vary and I implore you to explore.

What is Padma Mudra: The Mudra for Love and Spirituality 

Padma mudra, sometimes called the flying lotus mudra, is a yoga hand symbol that encapsulates the purity and openness of the lotus flower. It's a hand gesture that I've come to love for the sense of spiritual awakening and self-discovery that it brings.

How to do Padma Mudra

To form the Padma mudra, bring your hands near your heart in Anjali mudra then spread the fingers out with the base of the palms, the thumbs, and the little fingers touching. Separate the index, middle, and ring fingers out to symbolize an opening lotus flower.

Yoga Hand Symbols Meditation Hand Symbols Padma Mudra Lotus Hands Lotus Mudra

Padma Mudra Meaning

The lotus has profound symbolism. It represents the journey from the murkiness of worldly attachments to the purity of spiritual enlightenment - and that's what the Padma mudra signifies. 

From my personal experience, whenever I perform this yoga hand symbol, it reminds me of the blooming flower within myself. That I still have much to grow into and more to share.

The lotus flower grows in muddy waters where no light can penetrate and if you stuck your hand in it, it would be covered in muck. When the lotus flower emerges from these murky depths, it blossoms open beautifully. Its petals are untouched by the mud and any water that touches them rolls off.

Benefits of Padma Mudra

The sensation of openness it brings to the heart is hard to put into words. Padma mudra can help inspire love, compassion, and a sense of connection. Padma mudra is a yoga hand symbol for unconditional love.

Thought to activate the heart chakra, the Padma mudra helps open up and find inside the unconditional love that is desired by so many of us. 

Using Padma Mudra in Your Yoga Practice

One way I love integrating the Padma mudra into my yoga poses is during tree pose (vrksasana) with the hands overhead. This alignment beautifully mirrors the journey of the lotus growing from the mud into a beautiful flower. 

For meditation, try using the Padma mudra while seated comfortably. Close your eyes and visualize the lotus flower opening with each breath you take, bringing you a sense of calm and tranquility. 

What is Akasha Mudra: The Mudra for Space

Akasha mudra, the Mudra of the Ether. This powerful gesture can help open your intuition and create space in our bodies, especially in the upper portions.

How to do Akasha Mudra

To create the Akasha mudra, touch the tips of your middle finger and thumb together, keeping the rest of your fingers straight.

Yoga Hand Symbols Meditation Hand Symbols Akasha mudra for space and ether

Akasha Mudra Meaning

The Akasha mudra represents the ether or space element, the vast and limitless expanse that surrounds and permeates everything. In space, we open up the possibilities for new beginnings, increased intuition, and going beyond ourselves.

The meaning of Akasha mudra is bringing in the element of ether to elevate our understanding of and experience of life.

Benefits of Akasha Mudra

Akasha mudra balances the ether element in the body, which I've found enhances my intuition and awareness. The yoga hand symbol helps me create space in my yoga practice and release tension in my neck, shoulders, and jaw.

The Akasha mudra as a meditation hand sign has given me the ability to create space in my thoughts to focus with less disturbances or to hone in one what it is I’m trying to see and understand.

Using Akasha Mudra in Your Yoga Practice

You can use the Akasha mudra in any seated yoga posture. I often include it in my meditation practice to foster a deeper sense of awareness and contemplation of the world around me.

I’ve also found it works great during asanas when I’m releasing tension in my upper body like my neck. You may also find it helpful to use during poses where you are feeling tight or stuck whether physically, emotionally, or mentally.

What is Dharmadhatu Mudra: The Mudra for Meditation

The Dharmadhatu mudra, a symbol that embodies a harmonious view of all things, is my go-to meditation hand symbol for meditation.

How to do Dharmadhatu Mudra 

Creating the Dharmadhatu mudra, place the fingers of your right hand in the palm of your left hand. Then, bring the tips of both thumbs together to form an oval shape, and rest the mudra in your lap.

Yoga Hand Symbols Meditation Hand Symbols Dharmadhati Mudra Meditation hand sign

Dharmadhatu Mudra Meaning

The Dharmadhatu mudra symbolizes a balanced view of all things, hinting at the true nature of reality. When I use this hand gesture during my practice, I feel a sense of interconnectedness with everything around me.

‘Dharmadhatu’ refers to the ‘purified mind,’ free of conditioning. Dharmadhatu mudra is a great meditation hand symbol for finding space in your pratyahara practice as the mudra causes the senses to naturally withdraw inward.

Benefits of Dharmadhatu Mudra

Dharmadhatu mudra has enriched my yoga practice with a more holistic perspective. It opens up my mind to the interplay of different aspects of my life and the world around me, helping me navigate my day-to-day experiences with greater clarity.

On the wellness side of things, I've found that this yoga hand sign fosters a sense of inner peace and balance. With these effects comes a reduction in stress and a calming of the nervous system.

Using Dharmadhatu Mudra in Your Yoga Practice

I find Dharmadhatu mudra particularly powerful when used as a meditation hand sign. It’s a lovely addition to seated meditation focused on promoting understanding and interconnectedness.

I often use it at the end of my asana practice, sitting quietly in Sukhasana (Easy Pose) with my hands in Dharmadhatu mudra, soaking in the tranquility it brings.

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Enhancing Your Yoga Practice with Yoga Hand Symbols

When you begin to integrate mudras into your practice, there's a noticeable shift. I remember when I first started using mudras in my daily practice, it was as though a whole new dimension of yoga had revealed itself. Let's explore how these powerful mudras can elevate your practice.

Mudras and the Flow of Energy: Mastering Your Inner Prana

One of the most fascinating things about yoga is its deep connection with energy, or as we call it in Sanskrit, "Prana". You can think of it as the electricity running through your body. When we have vibrant, flowing prana our body moves seamlessly and with grace.

In my experience of moving prana in my body, I’ve found that I experience more in each moment effectively increasing the amount of time I have at my fingertips!

When you form a yoga hand symbol, it's believed to create a specific energy circuit in the body. This can help direct the flow of prana in a beneficial way. Think of it like adjusting the sails of a boat to catch the wind – it's a beautiful, subtle, yet powerful way of steering your inner energy. 

Aiding Concentration in Meditation with Mudras

Ever find your mind wandering during meditation? We've all been there. I remember in my early meditation days, it was as if my mind was a hyperactive squirrel, darting from one thought to another. But then, I discovered the power of yoga hand signs.

Integrating mudras into my meditation practice helped to anchor my mind. Holding a particular hand symbol was like a steady, reassuring touchpoint that kept me grounded. It's a simple tool, yet incredibly effective in enhancing focus and presence during meditation.

There’s only one way for you to understand, get started with mudras for meditation and yoga.

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Enriching Your Overall Yoga Experience

Finally, let's not forget the role of mudras in deepening your overall yoga experience. As you adopt yoga hand symbols, it's as if you're tapping into ancient wisdom and connecting to the essence of yoga – a unity of body, mind, and spirit.

Mudras offer an opportunity to explore the subtler aspects of your practice, going beyond the physical postures. You start to realize that every gesture, every breath, every moment on the mat is filled with potential for transformation and self-discovery.

How to Integrate Yoga Hand Symbols into Your Yoga Practice

A yoga practice that has elevated my personal journey - integrating mudras, or yoga hand symbols, into asanas (yoga poses). As we progress in our yoga practice we begin to move from alignment of the physical poses (asana) to understanding the breath (pranayama) and the next step forward is working with our own energy by withdrawing the senses from the external world (pratyahara).

Mudras begin that process by directing our energy, our focus and attention to a single point. We no longer perform yoga posture, we become them. At this point in time, I am at this stage in my practice. I have integrated mudras into my practice, into each pose, with each meditation, and throughout my day-to-day life.

I invite you to be playful, discover if one or any of the mudras serve your own practice.

Choose a Mudra that Resonates with You

The first step to integrating yoga hand signs into your practice is to choose a mudra that resonates with you. For me, I often prefer Surya mudra in my practice, Dharmadhatu Mudra while meditating, and Prana mudra while I’m teaching.

You will find a yoga hand sign that resonates with you, then practice it. Once you understand its effect on your mind, body, and breath then you can broaden your exploration at your own pace.

Bring the Mudra into your Asana Practice

Once you have chosen a mudra, it's time to bring it into your asana practice. Integrate your mudra with poses that it feels natural to. I’m sure you’re very familiar with taking Anjali mudra while standing or at the end of a yoga class. Think the same way, does it feel in the flow to assume this mudra?

Deepen Your Practice with Meditation Hand Signs

Mudras aren't limited to your asana practice; they can be powerful tools to deepen your meditation as well. I've found that integrating meditation hand symbols during seated meditation significantly enhances my focus and tranquility. Dharmadhatu mudra is a balanced mudra for meditation that helps me stay centered in my meditation practice.

Make It Personal: Your Yoga, Your Rules

The beautiful thing about yoga is that it's a personal journey. How you choose to integrate yoga hand symbols into your practice is completely up to you. You could use a specific mudra with a specific asana, or switch it up depending on how you feel. There are no hard and fast rules. Experiment with different combinations to find what works best for you.

The Benefits of Integrating Mudras into Your Asanas

Now, you might be wondering, "Jack, what's the benefit of mudras in yoga?" Well, in my personal experience, integrating mudras into my asanas has added a whole new dimension to my practice when the pose, the breath, and the mudra all come together to create a harmonious experience. It deepens my connection to the practice and heightens my awareness. And I have a feeling it could do the same for you too!

yoga hand symbol meditation hand symbols gyan mudra meditation

A Yoga Sequence with Mudras

I have crafted the yoga sequence below from one of Asivana’s Yoga Challenges. I would love it if you would share your progress with me on Instagram. Check out Your Hero’s Journey Challenge to see the guidelines! Now, I’ll give you the basic sequence of poses and go into some detail below that.

Your Hero’s Journey Yoga Sequence

Tadasana to Vinyasa to Warrior 1 (right side) to Tree Pose to Crow Pose to Vinyasa to Downward Facing Dog to Fallen Warrior to Downward Facing Dog to Three Legged Dog (right side) to Flip Dog to Wheel Pose (optional) to Downward Facing Dog to Half Pigeon (right side) to Vinyasa (repeat on the left side from Warrior 1)

Lower your Heart to the Mat, roll to Supine, rest in Savasana

Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with Anjali Mudra

Tadasana, using the Anjali Mudra (also known as Samasthiti). 

Instruction: Stand tall, feet hip-width apart, hands at heart center with palms touching in Anjali Mudra. 

Duration: Maintain the pose for 3 breaths, feeling the grounding energy.

Warrior 1 with Prana Mudra

Next, let's flow into Warrior 1 with Prana Mudra.

Instruction: Step one foot back, bending the front knee, raise your arms overhead. Create the Prana Mudra by touching the thumb to the ring and pinky fingers, while the other fingers remain extended.

Duration: Hold for 3 breaths, channeling the warrior's strength.

Vrksasana (Tree Pose) with Padma Mudra

Flow into Vrksasana, using the Padma Mudra to open your heart.

Instruction: From Warrior 1, float the back foot forward, bring the foot to the inner thigh or calf of the other leg (avoid the knee), hands at heart center, forming Padma Mudra—base of the palms, thumbs, and little fingers touching, while other fingers spread like a blooming lotus.

Duration: Hold the pose for as long as you'd like, breathing in balance and stability.

Fallen Warrior with Prana Mudra

Flow into the fallen warrior, using the Prana Mudra again to ignite our energy.

Instruction: From downward facing dog, fly the right foot back, bring the right knee to right elbow, cross it over to the left elbow, extend the right leg out placing the outside edge of your foot on the ground (or hover it), the left hand extends to the sky, and form Prana Mudra bring thumb together with pinky and ring finger. 

Duration: Hold for 3 breaths, feeling the stretch and openness.

Pigeon Pose with Citta Mudra

Lastly, Pigeon Pose, using the Citta Mudra to help calm our minds.

Instruction: From downward facing dog, bring one knee forward to rest behind the wrist, extending the other leg back. Place your hands in front of the shin, forming the Citta Mudra by joining the tips of the thumb, index finger, and middle finger.

Duration: Hold the pose for as long as it feels good, allowing the Citta Mudra to calm and center your mind.

yoga hand symbol meditation hand symbols gyan mudra pigeon pose

Embrace the Journey: Mudras and Your Yoga Practice 

The power and potential of mudras, those specific yoga hand symbols, offer an amazing avenue to deepen a yoga practice and connection with our inner selves. Whether it's finding balance with Anjali mudra, or inviting energy with Prana mudra, these yoga hand signs are little keys to unlocking new dimensions of our practice.

I've seen firsthand how integrating these symbols of meditation into my yoga and meditation has not only enhanced my personal yoga journey but also allowed me to connect more intimately with the energy around me. It's my hope that you too can discover the transformative potential of these mudras, paving the way for a more meaningful and fulfilling practice. 

Integrate these mudras into your own practice and see how they resonate with you. Yoga is about progression and personal growth. If a certain mudra doesn't feel quite right, move on to another. This journey is yours to explore and create.

And hey, if you decide to explore these beautiful mudras, I'd love to hear about your experiences on our Instagram (@AsivanaYoga) or TikTok (@AsivanaYoga). Your story might just inspire someone else!

And before you go, you know I have to mention my cork yoga mats and yoga props by Asivana. Embrace your journey with confidence, knowing you've got quality yoga gear to support you every step of your way.

Blessings!

Jack

About the Author Jack Utermoehl Founder of Asivana Yoga

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1 comment

Hi, I am new to yoga, but was wondering if there is meaning to this variation of the child’s pose – while in child’s pose, bringing the hands closer together and touching the thumbs and index fingers of opposite hands, with palms face down?

Jon

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