Types of Mudras
Mudras in general are used mainly in three fields:
(a) Dance (to express the feelings and emotions through bodily gestures).
(b) Rituals (in performing certain worships) and
(c) Hatha Yoga (to help in stabilizing the mind).
We will limit ourselves to the region of Hatha Yoga which includes Asanas, Pranayama, Satkriyas, Bandhas and Mudras. Many of the Yoga texts take Bandhas and Mudras as a single unit.
According to Gheranda Samhita, there are mainly 25 Mudras, whereas Hatha Pradipika describes only 10 of these. Among them the following twelve are the most important ones:
Hathapradipika describes 10 main Mudras, excluding Yoga Mudra and Yoni Mudra, from the above mentioned list of 12 Mudras. There are various minor Mudras too, which are prevent and practiced by the Hatha Yogis.
Now we will briefly describe four common Mudras.
MAHA MUDRA (Royal Gesture)
BENEFITS: Many diseases of the stomach are cured by this. Very useful in curing seminal weakness.
ASVINI MUDRA: (Horse-Anus Gesture)
- Sit erect in Padmasana. Exhale.
- Hold the breath and pull up the anus by contracting the sphincter; hold for about 10 seconds and inhale.
- Release the anus.
- Repeat this rhythmically and about 10 to 30 times.
BENEFITS: This Mudra is useful in evoking the spiritual forces dormant in the lower centers. Useful for pregnant women, and incurring urinary and anal incontinence. Asvini mudra done in Viparitakarani posture is useful in treating piles and prolapsed uterus.
SAMUKHI MUDRA (Six-faced Gesture)
- Sit erect in any meditative posture.
- Spread out the fingers of both hands over the face, and close the eyes, ears and nose tightly using the following fingers: Index fingers over the eyes, thumbs over the Tragus of the ears, middle fingers over the nostrils, ring and little fingers over the lips thus closing all the orifices in the face.
- Open alternate nostrils by releasing only middle fingers, to carry on the breathing as in Nadi Suddhi Pranayama.
- This is Sanmukhi Mudra.
BENEFITS: This mudra is very helpful in taking the mind to meditation. It cuts off all external stimuli coming from the four special senses that is vision, hearing , smell and taste. Hence the mind can easily dwell inmeditation by following the final internal sound of the breath along with the mantra. Useful in persons suffering from tension headaches.
YOGA MUDRA (Yoga Gesture)
BENEFITS: This cures the diseases of the abdomen and pelvis, tones up the nervous system especially the lumbo-sacral nerves. Helps in cases of seminal weakness.
Some Minor Mudras