Yesterday we reviewed chin, jnana, and hridaya mudra. Today, we’ll take a look at three more hasta mudras.
1. Dyana Mudra, also known as Samadhi or Yoga Mudra
You probably have seen this mudra before, as it’s sometimes used in statues and paintings of the Buddha. Dyana mudra is believed to be the final mudra assumed by the Buddha, and therefore the one he carried into full Samadhi, or enlightenment.
This mudra is ideal for seated meditation, in fact, the Sanskrit word, dyana, means meditation. The upturned positioning of the palms also helps create openness in the chest.
To practice, sit in a comfortable position that encourages an upright spine. Bring the left hand to rest in the lap, palm face up. Stack the right hand over the left. Either allow the thumbs to remain along the index finger side of the hand, or join the thumb tips together, creating a triangle of negative space. Broaden across the collarbones, let the elbows descend, soften the eyes closed, and breathe deeply in and out of the nose.
A note on the symbolism of dyana mudra: The right hand symbolizes enlightenment and the left the world of appearance. When we stack the right hand over the left, it represents the potential of overcoming the world of appearance through enlightenment.
2. Padma Mudra – Lotus Gesture
This beautiful mudra, which resembles a lotus flower, is associated with the heart chakra/center. The lotus symbolizes purity, openness, and acceptance. It also represents our ability to rise with dignity above murk and despair.
I enjoy opening and closing my yoga practice with this mudra. To assume it, do this:
Bring the hand in front of the heart center and join the heels of the hands together. Allow the rest of the hand to spread, as if you were holding a small globe. Then, join the tips of each finger together lightly.
3. Yoni Mudra – Gesture of the Womb, or Source
The Sanskrit word yoni means “womb” or “source”. This hand gesture is believed to invoke the primal energy inherent in the womb/source of creation. Practicing yoni mudra helps balance the energies in the body through the interlacing of the fingers. The joining of the thumbs and index fingers intensifies the linked flow of prana. This is an excellent mudra to take during meditation to boost concentration while also encouraging relaxation.
To practice, join the palms with the thumbs facing up. Maintain the connection between the index fingers and then interlace the pinky, ring, and middle fingers. Draw the thumbs back toward the body, creating the shape of a yoni, or womb. Maintain the gesture, close the eyes, and breathe in and out the nose for a few minutes.
Sophie Herbert is a yoga teacher, contributing editor to Whole Living, singer and artist. She has lived, studied, and volunteered extensively in India; teaches yoga in Brooklyn and Manhattan; and recently released her first full-length album, "Take a Clear Look." Please visit her website at SophieHerbert.com.