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Hasta Mudras – Hand Seals

March 7, 2011

Hasta Mudras or Hand Seals are simple yet effective ways of harmonizing the body and mind.  Some may work on specific areas of the brain on a purely physical level, others on an emotional or spiritual level, or a combination of all three.
Apanvayu Mudra can be used as first aid and for strengthening the heart, when feeling “heavy-hearted” or “heart-sore” to lighten the heart-space and release the negative emotions during times of crisis.

Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed.  Settle into a comfortable sitting position with the backs of the hands resting on the thighs about 3cm away from the body, palms facing upwards. Close the eyes and adjust the position if needed so that the body can remain comfortable and still.
Feel that the body is symmetrical and bring the attention to the breath.

Start with sighing the breath out of the mouth three times then continue simple Ujjayi breathing, making the inhalations and exhalations long, smooth and effortless.

Mentally repeat an affirmation, it must be said with faith, conviction and sincerity.

Moving both hands simultaneously, curl the index fingers so that the tips rest on the base of the thumb whilst bringing together the tips of the thumb, middle and ring finger.  Straighten out the little fingers.

Relax the hands and arms as much as possible so that the pressure between the fingertips is very light and bring the attention back to the breath.

Soften the breath and lengthen the exhalation a little if possible, there should be no effort or strain whilst breathing, maintain a comfortable pace.

To intensify the effects of the Mudra, visualization or affirmations can be practiced, for example visualize a closed flower at the heart, slowly see the flower opening at sunrise one petal at a time until the flower is in full bloom, then see the flower slowly closing at sunset, again one petal at a time.

Experiment with the pressure of the fingers and the breath, on the inhalation apply a little more pressure, and on the exhalation release it.  Try applying gentle pressure on the exhalation and releasing on the inhalation, how does the change in pressure and breath affect the Mudra?   Practice this Mudra for 15 minutes 3 times daily, or for up to 30 minutes when needed.  For those experienced in pranayama with a daily self-practice, using kumbhaka can intensify the effects.


Jennifer Stephens: Jen qualified as a yoga teacher and remedial yoga therapist at Ananda Kutir Ashrama and has been teaching yoga since 2000.


Swami Parvathiananda & Sri Yogeshwari of Ananda Kutir Ashrama, Cape Town.

Asana.pranayama, mudra. bandha. by Swami Satyananda Saraswati.  published by Bihar yoga  bharati isbn 81-86336-04-4.

Mudras – Yoga in your hands by Gertrude Hirsch.  published Weiser books.  isbn 1-57863-139-4.

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