Definition - What does Hasta Mudra mean?
An hasta mudra is a hand gesture used in yoga and Indian religions that can be symbolic, ritualistic and/or therapeutic. The term comes from the Sanskrit word, hasta, meaning “hand,” and mudra, meaning “closure,” "mark” or “seal.”
Hasta mudras can be practiced seated, prone, standing or even walking, as long as the posture is symmetrical and the body is relaxed. These mudras are often used to focus the mind in meditation and to control the flow of energy during asana practice.
Yogapedia explains Hasta Mudra
There are many types of mudras, each thought to have a specific effect on the body and mind by clearing the psychic centers and energy channels. Although the hand mudras are the most common in yoga, there are also head, postural, lock and perineal mudras.
Other types of hasta mudras include:
- Prana mudra - Believed to increase vitality and activate the root chakra. The middle and index fingers remain extended while the little finger, ring finger and thumb touch.
- Anjali mudra - Often employed at the beginning and end of yoga class as a salutation. The palms of both hands are placed in front of the chest in a prayer position.
- Gyan mudra - Practiced to reduce stress and relax the mind for meditation. The tip of the thumb and index finger touch with the palms facing upward. Also known as chin mudra, it is one of the most recognized of the mudras.
- Mushti mudra - Believed to help release pent-up emotions. Each hand makes a fist and the thumb stretches over the first three fingers to touch the ring finger.
- Jnana mudra - Thought to uplift the body and mind. With the palms facing up, the hands rest on the knees from the seated position.