Definition - What does Merudanda Mudra mean?
Merudanda mudra is a simple yoga hand gesture used in meditation or pranayama that helps the yogi focus on the breath, among other benefits. Merudanda mudra resembles a thumbs-up gesture. The name comes from the Sanskrit, merudanda, meaning “spine” or “spinal column”; and mudra, meaning “seal” or “gesture.”
Merudanda mudra is typically practiced while seated in sukhasana (easy pose), although any comfortable seated position works. The thumbs of each hand are extended, while the other fingers curl into the palm. The hands then rest on the thighs or knees with the thumbs pointing up.
Yogapedia explains Merudanda Mudra
Categorized as an hasta (hand) mudra, merudanda mudra is one of three similar mudras that comprise the merudanda mudra sequence. The others are:
- Adho merudanda mudra (thumbs pointing toward each other)
- Urdhva merudanda mudra (thumbs pointing away from each other)
It is believed that merudanda mudra helps direct the breath to the solar plexus. It also helps calm the mind and improve focus and concentration. The related breathwork improves respiration and circulation.
Hasta mudras are thought to circulate energy throughout the body, depending on the particular mudra. For that reason, merudanda mudra should not be practiced on a full stomach or by yogis with high blood pressure or heart disease.