Definition - What does Shunya Mudra mean?
Shunya mudra is a simple yoga gesture designed to decrease the space element (akasha) in the body. It is a hasta (hand) mudra, and one of a series of therapeutic mudras thought to have healing properties.
In this mudra, the tip of the middle finger is placed at the base of the thumb, and the thumb presses gently on the middle finger just below the knuckle. The remaining three fingers stretch comfortably to the sky.
The name of this mudra comes from the Sanskrit shunya, meaning “emptiness,” “openness” or “spaciousness,” and mudra, meaning “gesture” or “seal.” Shunya may also refer to the sky or heaven. As such, shunya mudra may be translated as "heaven mudra."
Yogapedia explains Shunya Mudra
As with any hasta mudra, shunya mudra is particularly beneficial when meditating. It can be practiced while seated, prone, standing or even walking, as long as the body is relaxed and the posture is symmetrical. It is recommended that shunya mudra be practiced up to three times daily for five to 15 minutes each time, and should be discontinued when no longer needed for its health benefits.
In ancient texts, shunya mudra was cited as providing access to the realm of heaven by harnessing fire energy (represented by the thumb) and ether energy (represented by the middle finger).
Practicing shunya mudra is thought to provide relief from a range of hearing and balance issues, among them including:
- Motion sickness
- Ear disorders such as acute pain, hearing loss, and tinnitus
- Numbness anywhere in the body
In terms of Ayurvedic medicine, this mudra is beneficial to those with a dominant vata, which is the dosha (governing energy) associated with the nervous system and waste elimination.