In the practice of Kundalini Yoga, we are encouraged to use our bodies in many ways - through the practicing of kriyas, pranayam, meditation or mantra. Ultimately, these practices have the intention of drawing us inward - to our Sat Nam - to our true self. Mudras can be a powerful tool for accomplishing this. The term mudra - derived from Sanskrit meaning "sealing in the energy" - refers to the use of hand gestures during a yoga or meditation practice that carries the specific goals of channeling your body’s energy flow. There are more than 100 known mudras that have been developed over the centuries in various forms of yoga. Here are seven commonly used mudras from the Kundalini Yoga tradition. Each is a technique for giving clear messages to the mind-body energy system.
To form Gyan Mudra, put the tip of the thumb together with the tip of the index finger. This mudra stimulates knowledge and ability and gives you receptivity and calmness. The energy of the index finger is often symbolized by the planet Jupiter - which represents expansion. This is one of the most commonly used mudras in any yoga practice.
To form Shuni Mudra, place the tip of the middle finger on the tip of the thumb. The other three fingers remain straight. This mudra is said to give patience and discernment. The middle finger is often symbolized by the planet Saturn - which represents the task master, the law of karma, the taking of responsibility and courage to hold to duty.
SURYA or RAVI MUDRA
This mudra is formed by placing the tip of the ring finger on the tip of the thumb. The three other fingers remain straight. Practicing it gives revitalizing energy, nerve strength and good health. The quality of the ring finger is often symbolized by the Sun or Uranus. The Sun represents energy, health and sexuality. Uranus stands for nerve strength, intuition and change.
To form Buddhi Mudra, place the tip of the little finger on the tip of the thumb. The three other fingers remain straight. Practicing this opens the capacity to communicate clearly and intuitively. It also stimulates psychic development. The little finger is symbolized by Mercury for quickness and the mental power of communication.
To form the mudra, place the palms facing each other. Interlace the fingers with the left little finger on the bottom. Put the left thumb tip on the webbing between the thumb and index finger of the right hand. The tip of the right thumb presses the fleshy mound at the base of the left thumb. Thumb positions are reversed for those who identify as women - the right little finger goes on the bottom.
This mudra is frequently used in Kundalini kriyas. Its name comes from the connection it creates between the positive and negative sides of the Venus mound on each hand and the thumbs. The thumbs represent the ego. The Venus mound is the fleshy area at the base of the thumb. It is symbolized by the planet Venus - which is associated with the energy of sexuality and sensuality. The mudra channels the sexual energy and promotes glandular balance. It also brings the ability to focus or concentrate easily, if you rest it in your lap while in a meditative posture.
To form the mudra, place the palms of the hands flat together. The positive side of the body (right, or masculine) and the negative side (left, or feminine) are neutralized. Generally, this pose is placed at the Heart Center on the midline of the sternum and is used to center yourself in preparation for practice.
For Bear Grip, place the left palm facing away from the chest and the right palm facing toward the chest. Bring the fingers together and curl them so that the hands form a single fist. Lock the position with the thumbs. This mudra is used to stimulate the heart and intensify concentration.