Definition - What does Vishnu Mudra mean?
Vishnu mudra is a sacred hand gesture or "seal," used during yoga and meditation practice as a means of channeling the flow of vital life force energy called prana. Otherwise known as the "gesture of universal balance," this mudra is named in honor of Lord Vishnu, one of the principal deities of Hinduism.
To practice Vishnu mudra, the index and middle finger are curled in toward the palm, whilst the other three fingers remain extended. Vishnu mudra is always practiced with the right hand, symbolic of receiving energy. When using this mudra to perform nadi shodhana, the thumb and the ring finger are used to gently block alternate nostrils as the practitioner moves the breath from left to right.
For maximum benefit, Vishnu mudra should be practiced alongside nadi shodhana for a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes daily, ideally prior to meditation. It can be performed at any time of day, and is best practiced on an empty stomach.
Yogapedia explains Vishnu Mudra
A mudra is a sacred and symbolic gesture found in yoga, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, translated from Sanskrit as "mark" or "seal." In yoga, mudras are believed to affect the physical and energy bodies by helping to clear energy channels known as nadis.
Vishnu mudra is a hasta mudra, meaning that it is performed with the hands. It is most commonly used during nadi shodhana, a pranayama practice known in English as "alternate nostril breathing." Vishnu mudra amplifies the effects of this pranayama, and is believed to bring balance, strength and peace of mind to the practitioner.
Nadi shodhana is one of the most fundamental pranayama techniques for clearing nadis and balancing prana, and Vishnu mudra is a key component of this practice.
Vishnu mudra is typically performed in a stable, seated meditation posture such as siddhasana (Accomplished Pose), padmasana (Lotus Pose) or sukhasana (Easy Pose).
This mudra is believed to activate the first three energy centres of the body; the muladhara (root) chakra, svadhisthana (sacral) chakra and the manipura (solar plexus) chakra.
The ring finger is symbolic of the earth element and muladhara chakra, the little finger represents water and svadhisthana, whilst the thumb symbolizes fire and manipura. By extending these digits in Vishnu mudra, the practitioner encourages a flow of energy to the corresponding elements and chakras within. The index finger is symbolic of ego, and bows down together with the middle finger to encourage humility.
In addition to its impact on the chakras and elements within the body, Vishnu mudra is believed to bring balance to the left and right hemispheres of the brain. It can also help to:
Reduce stress and anxiety.
Calm the nervous system.
Still the mind in preparation for meditation.
Improve concentration, clarity and focus.
Detoxify the body.
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