The Anjali Mudra also called “prayer position”, is a fundamental component of yoga culture and practice, made by bringing the palms together in front of the chest and below your chin, with the fingers pointing up. Anjali mudra has many meanings, you can practice it while performing asanas, and we’ll go deeper into the topic here.
Anjali Mudra Meaning
The Anjali Mudra is a gesture interrelated to arts and religion in India – The word Anjali means “offering” or “reverence,” and Mudra means “gesture” or “sign.”
It is, therefore, a gesture of offering reverence. That being said, in the Western world, we often refer to Anjali Mudra as the prayer pose, and we associate it with submission, allowing us to concentrate on our inner self.
The Anjali Mudra is often used in yoga and meditation to focus the mind and connect with our deeper self. The Anjali Mudra symbolizes the meeting of the individual soul with the universal spirit.
The Anjali Mudra can also be used as a tool for relaxation and stress relief. The gesture is calming, helps to center the mind, and can be done seated, standing, or in any comfortable position.
The Benefits of Anjali Mudra
The Anjali Mudra has many benefits, just like others like Jnana Mudra or Prana Mudra, and it is said to symbolize the meeting of the individual soul with the universal spirit. On top of that, there are other benefits to consider:
- It keeps you calm
- Relieves stress levels
- Provides flexibility in the wrists and arm joints
- It stimulates Ajna and Anahata Chakra
- Promotes better circulation of oxygen
Moreover, when performed regularly, the Namaste Mudra can increase focus and the connection to yoga asanas, allowing you to have better yoga sessions.
Last but not least, The five elements that make up the whole universe are represented by our human fingers. The little finger is Jal (Water), the ring finger is Prithvi (Earth), the middle finger is Aakash (space), the index is Vayu (Air), and the thumb is Agni (fire). When we bring our hands together in Anjali Mudra, we energize the elements in our body and achieve a healthy equilibrium when practiced on a regular basis.
The History Behind the Prayer’s Hands
The Anjali Mudra is a gesture that has been used for centuries in the Indian subcontinent for several purposes, including Hindu rituals. The Mudra is frequently seen in historical sources, appearing in the Devata Murti Prakarana (verse 5.67), and Sanskrit word refers to this as Citrasutras.
The Namaste Mudra also appears in the Natya Shastra as a bodily position where both hands are clasped together courteously to adore a deity, accept embraces, and salute friends.
The Mudra is also connected with the story of Patanjali, who was known as “the one who fell into the hands placed in reverence.” Some stories say he tumbled down from the sky as a tiny snake in his mother’s hand, whereupon he was accepted as a gift from on high.
As a whole, the hand gesture links both sides of the human body by bringing the hands together. Some regard this as a sign of the two duality poles, Prana and Citta Shakti or the Yin and Yang. When the hands are brought together, they achieve totality in all of these symbols.
When to Use Anjali Mudra?
Anjali Mudra can be done at any time just like Adi Mudra, but it’s normally used to start yoga classes or end them. It is often used during your practice and meditation to focus the mind, connect with the mind, and seal in deep personal intentions.
Other than doing it sitting down, there are a few poses where Anjali Mudra can be performed, including the Mountain pose (Tadasana), the Tree pose (Vrksasana), or prior to Sun Salutation seal (Surya Namaskar).
All in all, when you need centering or grounding, the Prayer Mudra is great, and we couldn’t recommend it enough.
How to Do Namaste Mudra?
The Namaste Mudra is a simple yet powerful gesture that is often used as a sign of respect or reverence.
To do Anjali Mudra, simply bring the palms together at the center of your chest, with the fingers pointing up. Your hand position should be at your heart center, with the little finger and fingertips of the thumbs touching, and your elbows up.
Anjali Mudra can be done with the eyes open or closed. Performing it with closed eyes can help to still the mind and promote inner peace. In fact, while it’s one of the easiest hand gestures, it is a simple gesture that anyone can do, but it can have profound effects.
Whether you’re looking to improve your physical health or mental clarity, it is a great mudra to practice daily.
How to use Anjali Mudra in Your Yoga Practice
One of the most popular mudras in yoga is Anjali Mudra, which is also known as the “prayer position.” This Mudra is often used to find focus and coordination before starting a yoga class. However, the Namaste Mudra can also be used throughout a yoga session as a way to come back to the present moment.
To do Anjali Mudra, simply bring your palms together in front of your heart. There are many variations of this Mudra, but the most important thing is that your palms are pressing firmly against each other, and your thumbs are touching your sternum.
You can also bring your palms together overhead if you feel more comfortable. Once you’re in position, take a few deep breaths and feel the energy of your hands pressing against each other.
The Mudra is a great way to center yourself during a yoga practice or meditation. It can also be used as a tool to help ease anxiety or stress. If you feel scattered or disconnected, take a moment to do Anjali Mudra and focus on your breath.
Anjali Mudra With Different Yoga Poses
The gesture represents the union of opposites, such as heaven and earth, fire and water, male and female. The Namaste Mudra is traditionally done with the palms pressed together at heart and the head bowed. It can also be done with the palms held together in front of the forehead or chest.
That being said, you don’t necessarily need to be sitting down to do perform this gesture – instead, you can do so in your yoga studio while doing other poses, such as those below.
Anjaneyasana – Crescent Moon Pose
Anjaneyasana, also known as crescent moon pose, is a yoga asana that opens the hips and stretches the groin, hamstrings, and quadriceps. The Mudra is often used in connection with this pose, and the arms normally stay overhead.
To do Anjanyasana:
- Start in a standing position with your feet together.
- Take a big step back with your left foot, keeping your heel lifted.
- Bend your right knee and lower your hips toward the ground.
With the Namaste Mudra, place your arms over your head and gather both hands together. Press your left heel into the ground and lift your left hip up and back, lengthening the front of your left thigh. Hold for 5-8 breaths before switching sides.
Hanumanasana – Monkey Pose
Hanumanasana is a challenging asana that requires both flexibility and strength. However, the rewards of practicing this pose are numerous, and when combining it with the Namaste Mudra, takes the experience to a whole new level.
To practice Hanumanasana, begin in a low lunge position with your back heel raised. Slowly straighten your front leg while keeping your back knee bent.
If possible, lower your chest all the way down to your front leg while keeping your back straight. Reach your arms and do the Anjali Mudra above the head.
Malasana – Garland Pose
Malasana is a fantastic yoga posture to stretch the hips and low back, and performing the Anjali Mudra at the same time will get you in even a better shape than you already are.
To do Garland Pose with Anjali Mudra, start in Mountain Pose. Step the feet hip-width apart and bend the knees, lowering the hips into a squat. The elbows can rest on the knees, and the palms can come together at heart in Anjali Mudra.
Take a few deep breaths here, then press into the feet to straighten the legs and return to Mountain Pose. There are many benefits to doing Garland Pose with Anjali Mudra.
This Mudra helps to open the chest and improve lung capacity, as well as relieve stress and tension.
Matsyasana – Fish Pose
Doing the Namaste Mudra while on Fish Pose is a source of benefits, including releasing stress, strengthening the back, and opening the chest. To perform it, lie on your back with your legs extended.
Place your palms flat on the floor beside you, and press down to lift your hips and lower back off the floor. Next, bend your knees and bring your feet close to your buttocks. Place your hands under your hips and press down to lift your chest off the floor.
Finally, open your chest and place your palms together in front of you in Anjali Mudra, or Prayer Position. Hold this position for 5-10 breaths before releasing and returning to starting position.
Rajakapotasana – King Pigeon Pose
Performing Rajakapotasana in the yoga studio together with the prayer position hand gesture is a great idea for a few reasons.
To combine both, start in a comfortable sitting position with your hands and knees on the ground. Then, slide one leg back so that your knee points towards your heel and your shin is parallel to the front of your mat.
Next, lower your hips until you feel a deep stretch in your glute. Finally, reach your arms forward and place your palms on the ground in front of you. You can stay in this position for about 1 minute, and placing your hands together will remarkably increase your thought process, concentration, and well-being.
Virabhadrasana II – Warrior Pose II
Virabhadrasana II is a standing yoga pose that opens the hips and strengthens the legs, as well as the back of your neck. The pose can be challenging for beginners, but adding anjali mudra can help to steady the hands and create a sense of balance and coordination. As you move into the pose, exhale and press your palms together in front of your chest.
Keep your shoulders relaxed and your gaze fixed on a point in front of you. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for 3-5 breaths before releasing back to mountain pose. Adding anjali mudra to Virabhadrasana II can help to create a sense of inner calm while also opening the chest and that is a fantastic idea to end a hot yoga session.
Sukhasana – Easy Pose
Last but not least, Sukhasana, or easy pose, is a simple and beginner-friendly yoga posture. In this position, the legs are crossed and the hands are placed on the lap in Anjali Mudra, or prayer position with your elbows and forearms up.
Sukhasana can be performed with the spine straight or with a slight forward bend. If you are new to yoga, start by sitting up tall with a straight spine. From here, begin to slowly fold forward from the hips, keeping the spine long.
Once you have reached your maximum range of motion, rest your forehead on your palms and take several deep breaths. To release the pose, slowly roll back up to seated and uncross your legs. Practice Sukhasana and combine it with the Prayer Mudra or Pranam Mudra for 5-10 minutes each day to help improve your flexibility and promote a sense of calmness and peace.
How Do We Use Anjali Mudra in Daily Life?
The Anjali Mudra is a gesture of respect and honor, just like Pranam Mudra, that can be done with the palms of the hands pressed together in front of the heart chakra. As mentioned previously, this Mudra can be done while standing, sitting, or doing different asanas.
What we like so much about the Anjali Mudra is that it can be done at home on a yoga mat, at a yoga studio with colorful yoga pants and friendly strangers, or before or after meditating at the park.
The Namaste Mudra is a gesture that is used in yoga and meditation. It has many benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving mental clarity, and helping to focus the mind. The prayer position can be done with either the hands together in front of the heart or behind the back.
To conclude, out of all the yoga gestures, this is one of the most powerful for the body and mind, and we couldn’t recommend it enough. If you have any more tips that we may have forgotten in this guide, make sure to comment here below and let us know!