Urdhva Merudanda Mudra

Definition - What does Urdhva Merudanda Mudra mean?

Urdhva merudanda mudra is a simple yoga hand gesture that resembles the thumbs-up sign, but turned outward with thumbs pointing away from each other. The name is from the ancient Sanskrit language with urdhva, meaning “upward”; merudanda, meaning “spine” or “spinal column”; and mudra, meaning “seal.”

To practice this mudra, take a comfortable seated posture such as sukhasana (easy pose). The thumbs of each hand are extended with the other four fingers curled into the palm. The hands rest on the knees or thighs with the thumbs rotating so they point away from each other and the palm face skyward.

Urdhva Merudanda Mudra

Yogapedia explains Urdhva Merudanda Mudra

Although there are many types of mudras, the most common used in yoga are hasta (hand) mudras. They are used to help focus the breath and circulate energy throughout the body, particularly in meditation and pranayama breathing exercises.

Urdhva merudanda mudra is thought to help direct prana energy to the upper third of the spinal column, the nervous system and the upper chakras. It is also believed to be beneficial for upper back pain, lethargy and depression.

Urdhva merudanda mudra is one of three related mudras practiced in combination as the merudanda mudra sequence. The others are:

  • Merudanda mudra (thumbs pointing toward the sky)
  • Adho merudanda mudra (thumbs pointing toward each other)

Because hasta mudras circulate energy, the three merudanda mudras should not be practiced by yogis who have high blood pressure or heart disease, nor should it be practiced on a full stomach.

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