What are Mudras and How do they Work?

May 01, 2017 / Mind and Body

Mudras are hand gestures practiced during asana or during meditation. Mudra itself means seal, gesture, or mark. They direct energy flow through the body and stimulate different parts of the brain. There are many different gestures and they all mean different things. Each one of your fingers represents a different element. When you combine different fingers in different gestures, they introduce the presence of different elements to your practice.


Thumb: Fire (Agni)

Index finger: Air (Vayu)

Middle finger: Ether/Space (Aakasha)

Ring finger: Earth (Prithvi)

Small finger: Water (Jala)


In meditation, mudras can be used to activate certain areas of the brain for mindfulness. As you follow your breath from one to the next, it might be helpful for you to hold a certain mudra to enhance the benefits of your meditation. Each finger represents 5 different elements; you can use the different mudras to channel the 5 different elements in your body. Simply hold a certain mudra for the duration of your meditation (at least 10 minutes is recommended) and begin to feel the effects.


When practicing yoga, you can incorporate mudras as you move from position to position. It is as easy as bringing your hands into prayer pose or connecting your thumb and pointer finger together while keeping your other fingers straight. If you’re trying to incorporate a feeling in a yoga pose or are looking for more support in a pose, yoga mudras can be really helpful.



Mudras a way to enhance your practice by stimulating different parts of the brain. Each finger has a certain reflex point that can affect the body in different ways. Since they also represent the different elements, you can also manipulate them within the body. For example, if you’re holding a yoga pose or meditation and you’re feeling heavy; bring all your fingers together except your index finger, extend that out straight. This will activate the air element in your body and make you feel lighter.


Sometimes if you’re feeling stuck and you want to be more fluid, you can activate your pinky fingers and index fingers in a mudra. They represent water and air, which will give your body more flow — Prana Mudra, which activates the dormant energy in the body — to do this, place the tips of your thumb, ring finger, and little finger together.?


There are many more mudras that you can use to help you through practice. Don’t be afraid to experiment; in hand mudras are probably the most underused tools in meditation and yoga.