Each finger on the hand represents one of the five elements of vayu: the little finger symbolizes water, the ring finger symbolizes earth, the middle finger symbolizes ether, the index finger symbolizes air and the thumb symbolizes the element of fire.
The five prana vayu mudras are as follows:
- Prana mudra – The tops of the ring and middle fingers lightly touch the top of the thumb. This influences prana vayu, which is situated in the head; it is the fundamental energy that governs the reception of everything from air to food, senses to thoughts.
- Apana mudra – The tops of the middle and index fingers lightly touch the top of the thumb. This mudra influences apana vayu, which is active in the pelvic and lower abdominal areas. It improves digestion, elimination and reproduction.
- Vyana mudra – All tops of the fingers lightly touch the top of the thumb. This mudra influences the vyana vayu that governs the heart and lungs, and supports the function of other vayus.
- Udana mudra – This is the same as the vyana mudra, where all fingers touch the top of the thumb. This mudra also influences the udana vayu that is situated in the throat region. It promotes self-expression and growth.
- Samana mudra – The tops of the little and ring fingers lightly touch the top of the thumb. This mudra influences the samana vayu, which is present in the abdomen with the navel as its energy base. It governs digestion of everything from food to thoughts.
Balancing the vayus through prana vayu mudras while practicing yoga and meditation not only promotes physical strength, but also helps the practitioner move closer to their spiritual aspirations.