Mudras are very important gestures that are used in yoga, and particularly in Hatha Yoga. The word Mudra is a Sanskrit word that translates to mean “sign” or “seal”. They are physical gestures that incorporate the hands, fingers, eyes and other parts of the body.
Mudras actually stem from Hinduism and have been used in many forms of Hindu dance, like Kathakali, Manipuri, and Kuchipudi. In these dance forms, the mudras are used to express various emotions.
Yogic texts like the Gherana Samhita, Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, and Siva Samhita explain mudras in detail, as do tantric texts like the Upanishads. These texts list approximately twenty-five mudras that are particularly important to yogis. They are:
· Maha mudra
· Nabho mudra
· Shakti Chalini
These mudras are used to influence prana (force of life). By holding these mudras we move prana around the body in a particular way, and this can influence our physical, mental and spiritual state. We can either direct prana towards specific regions of the body or mind, which is done for healing purposes, or we can use mudras to create a higher state of consciousness.