Have you wanted to practice mudras with your students?
You probably have and didn’t even realize it!
Mudras can be translated as “seal” or “gesture” in Sanskrit. These hand gestures are commonly used in many yoga practices, including breathing techniques, mindfulness activities, meditation, or yoga postures. They can be practiced seated, standing, lying down, or during your physical practice.
These special hand and finger gestures are intended to move the flow of energy (prana) in our bodies in a certain way to bring us various benefits, including calming the nervous system, helping you to focus, or increasing your knowledge.
You will find five mudras below that are fun and easy to teach children as a starting point. If you are new to practicing mudras, just give it a go and focus on what feels good. Then, when you are ready, dive a little deeper into researching the benefits of the mudras and the history of these special gestures.
As with all yoga practices, don’t force your students to practice the mudras, but rather introduce as an invitation to spark their curiosity. Get them involved in choosing different mudras that they find interesting, and follow their enthusiasm to learning about this ancient wisdom from India.
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5 EASY MUDRAS TO PRACTICE WITH CHILDREN
1. GYAN MUDRA
This mudra is one of the most popular gestures.
With your fingertips facing up, it is called the Jnana Mudra for knowledge. This is commonly seen when meditators are sitting cross-legged with their palms facing up on their knees in Jnana Mudra. This gesture helps you focus on your breathing practice and is believed to bring you wisdom.
With your fingertips facing down, it is called Gyan or Chin Mudra, which has a calming effect and is good for memory and concentration. I use this one when I go to bed at night with my two hands next to my face when I’m lying on my side.
This is also a great mudra to teach children in various yoga poses, like in Extended Side Angle or in Tree Pose.
How to practice Gyan Mudra: Touch the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb, creating a circle, like in an A-Okay sign. Extend the other fingers straight out.
2. ANJALI MUDRA
This is another popular mudra used throughout India as a greeting, which we happily used during our visit to India years ago.
The Anjali mudra is commonly used while saying “namaste” at the beginning and end of a yoga class as well. It helps to close the practice, allows you to take a moment to integrate the benefits of the practice, and brings you back to center.
At this time, we often take the opportunity to be grateful for our teachers and for the ancient practice of yoga. This moment of reflection or prayer helps to reduce stress and calms the nervous system.
How to practice Anjali Mudra: Bring the palms of your hands together in front at your sternum with your fingers together pointing upwards. You can drop your head to look at your hands or gently close your eyes.
3. DHYANA MUDRA
Also called Samadhi Mudra or Meditation Mudra, this mudra is another hand gesture used during contemplation or meditation.
We often see Buddha statues in this Dhyana Mudra with their hands together in their laps. This balancing mudra increases concentration and is great to use during a breathing practice.
How to practice Dhyana Mudra: bring your hands together facing up on your lap with your right hand on top of your left palm. Carefully align your right and left index fingers together and bring the tips of your thumbs together into a little bowl shape. Make sure your spine is straight and your chest is open.
4. LOTUS MUDRA
Also known as the Padma Mudra, this beautiful hand gesture looks like a lotus flower and is a symbol of purity. When you practice this hand mudra, it brings focus to your heart center, and you can use to practice loving kindness and gratitude.
How to practice Lotus Mudra: Bring the heels of your palms together in front of your heart center. Then carefully bring the sides of your thumbs together to touch and the tips of your pinky fingers together to touch. Span out the rest of your fingers like the petals of a lotus. You can have your students open their lotus petals wider with each inhale like a blossoming flower.
5. PRITHIVI MUDRA
The Prithivi Mudra is associated with the earth element and is a beneficial hand gesture to ground and center yourself. You might use this mudra to help stay calm before or during a difficult, stressful situation, like taking a test.
How to practice Prithivi Mudra: Bring your hands spread out in front of you facing up. Then gently touch your ring finger to your thumb. Try this mudra while sitting cross-legged or in a chair and take a few deep breaths bringing your focus to the sensation of your ring finger and thumb together.
Mudras for Awakening the Energy Body
Cards by Alison DeNicola and Sabina Espinet
Mudras: Yoga in Your Hands
Book by Gertrud Hirschi
Healing Mudras: Yoga for Your Hands
Book by Sabrina Mesko
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