Hands are more than just functional; they are an energy map of our consciousness and health. Each area of the hand corresponds to a certain area of the body and to different emotions and behaviors. By curling, crossing, stretching, and touching the fingers and palms, we can effectively talk to the body and mind. The position the hand takes is called a mudra and is a technique for giving clear messages to the mind-body energy system.
Just as letters are combined in a multitude of ways to form different words, so can the fingers build an array of mudras. Given below are a few of the most common mudras experienced in Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan.
Gyan Mudra (Seal of Knowledge)
How: Touch the tip of the index (first) finger and the tip of thumb together. The other three fingers are straight.
Effect: Stimulates knowledge, wisdom, receptivity, and calmness.
Planet: Jupiter; expansion.
Shuni Mudra (Seal of Patience)
How: Touch the tip of the middle (second) finger and the tip of the thumb together. The other three fingers are straight.
Effect: Promotes patience, discernment, and commitment.
Planet: Saturn; task master, taking responsibility, and courage to hold to duty.
Surya or Ravi Mudra (Seal of Sun, Life)
How: Touch the tip of the ring (third) finger and the tip of thumb together. The other three fingers are straight.
Effect: Revitalizing energy, nerve strength, and good health.
Planet: Sun; energy, health, and sexuality. Uranus; nerve strength, intuition, and change.
Buddhi Mudra (Seal of Mental Clarity)
How: Touch the tip of the little (fourth) finger and the tip of thumb together. The other three fingers are straight.
Effect: Creates capacity to clearly and intuitively communicate, stimulates psychic development.
Planet: Mercury; quickness, mental powers of communication.
Prayer Pose (Pranam Mudra)
How: The palms of both hands and fingers are completely touching. The outer edge of the mound of the thumb is pressed into the sternum.
Effect: Neutralizes the positive side of the body (right, sun, masculine) with the negative side (left, moon, feminine). There is a science to using Pranam Mudra (Prayer Mudra). There is a polarity in the body between the right side, the pingala, and left side, the ida. When you put the right and left hands together, you are neutralizing the positive and negative polarities of the electromagnetic field. This action creates a neutral space in the electromagnetic field. The position of the knuckles of the thumbs – in the notch of the breastbone – is a reflex point for the vagus nerve, one of the major nerves going to the pineal gland up the front the body. Research on the vagus nerve has revealed that it is involved in our feelings of compassion, empathy, and goodness. This pressure immediately causes the pineal and pituitary glands to secrete, creating a resonance in the brain that moves it out of its normal rhythm to a meditative state. This allows one’s prayer to come from the heart.
How: For men, interlace the fingers with the left little finger on the bottom. Place the left thumb in the webbing between the thumb and index finger of the right hand. The right thumb presses the fleshy mound at the base of the left thumb. For women, the thumb positions are reversed and the right little finger goes on the bottom.
Effect: Channels sexual energy, promotes glandular balance, ability to concentrate easily.
Planet: The mounds at the base of the thumbs represent Venus; sensuality and sexuality. The thumb represents the ego.