Vishnu Mudra

Last Updated: September 14, 2017

Definition - What does Vishnu Mudra mean?

Vishnu mudra is a hand posture used during alternate nostril breathing exercises in yoga. It is named in honor of Lord Vishnu, one of the main deities in Hinduism. Mudra is a Sanskrit word that means “seal” or “gesture.” Mudras can be symbolic, but in yoga, they are often believed to affect the mind and body by helping to clear the energy channels, also known as nadis.

Vishnu mudra is practiced with the right hand, which symbolizes receiving. To perform vishnu mudra, the forefinger and middle finger are curled in toward the palm, while the other three fingers remain extended.

Vishnu Mudra

Yogapedia explains Vishnu Mudra

Nadi shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing, is one of the most elemental pranayama breathing exercises in yoga, and Vishnu mudra is a key component of this practice. In nadi shodhana with Vishnu mudra, the thumb and ring finger rest lightly on either side of the nose. The yogi uses his thumb to close the right nostril while inhaling through the left nostril. The thumb is then released and the ring finger closes the left nostril so the yogi exhales through the right nostril. To complete the cycle, the process is reversed with the inhale through the right and exhale through the left.

This pranayama is thought to balance the left and right sides of the brain. In addition to a range of physical benefits, nadi shodhana stills the mind for meditation, improves concentration and reduces stress.

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