By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Anjali = offering,
Mudra = gesture / seal / mark / pose
Synonyms – Atmanjali Mudra, Namaskara Mudra, Heart Seal.
- Sacred hand position
- Posture of prayer
- Gesture / posture of Indian Namaste
- Posture of submission
It is one of hand gestures. It enables connecting and reconnecting with our inner selves.
Read – Mudra – The Science Of Gesture: Benefits, Types, How To Practice
Meaning, Asanas, Depiction
What we do in this?
In this gesture, we draw our palms together at the position of heart.
Read – Tips To Enhance Effect Of Mudra, 5 Mudra Groups, Rules Of Hasta Mudra
Asanas which include Anjali Mudra
- Tadasana – mountain pose
- Suryanamaskar – before beginning Sun Salutations
- Vrkshasana – tree pose
- Virabhadrasana I – Warrior pose I
Mudra in Sanskrit means ‘seal’ or ‘sign’. It refers to sacred hand gestures. It also depicts the inner state of a person. The entire body would come into alignment with this gesture. The person standing with this gesture is understood in the sense of saluting, respecting, wishing, offering or submitting to someone. It also depicts one’s culture and good behavior. Anjali is offered to deities, elders, teachers, family, friends, guests, sacred rivers and trees.
Read – Health Benefits Of Yoga: Mind And Body
It is one among the important mudras used in
- Hindu rituals,
- performing yoga,
- worship of deities,
- greeting people,
- initiating or completion of action and
- performing classical dance
Depiction of – This gesture is a depiction of
- seeing the divine in all creation and respecting every component of creation (I can see the light in me, I can see the same light in you too, with this I can see the our connection with the creation and between everything in the creation)
- one’s composure
- returning to one’s heart
- connecting of one’s two hemispheres of the brain, completing one’s energy circuits
- yoking of one’s active and receptive natures
Read – Yogasana – Spiritual, Physical And Mental Benefits, Classification
Method of performing Anjali Mudra
- Come into comfortable sitting position as in Sukhasana i.e. easy pose.
- Lengthen your spine.
- Extend the back of your neck by dropping your chin slightly in.
- Keep your palms open.
- Slowly draw your hands together at the center of your chest. Now your hands are in contact with the anahata chakra, your heart chakra. Here you are directing your awareness to your heart center. The fingers are pointing upwards.
- Press the palms together. Extend the pressure up through each finger and thumbs, to their tips. Also allow the sides of the fingers to touch each other.
- Close your eyes. This is not mandatory. But closure of the eyes will enable you to focus your awareness inward.
- Repeat it several times. Here you are trying to bring your right and left side of self, masculine and feminine, logic and intuition, strength and tenderness into wholeness.
- Now gently touch your thumbs into your sternum as if pressing the calling bell for the doors of your heart to open up.
- From inside, broaden your shoulder blades to spread your chest open.
- Bring your elbows into alignment with your wrists, into a straight line.
- Stay in this posture for some time and experience the balance.
Read – Chakra – Kundalini: Introduction, Meaning, Types, Location, Ayurveda View
Experiences during the gesture – While keeping in Anjali or Namaskara Mudra, it is important to feel the contact between your hands. Recognize the sensations and vibrations and flow of energy therein. See if you have attraction or repulsion at the place of joining. See if you are in a state of balance. Also define what feels like balance for you in this gesture, at that moment. You need to tune into yourself. Describe your experience as tingling, pressure, bliss, balance, vibration or something else. It is different and unique for each practitioner. Stay in this position for 5-10 breath counts. Notice if there is any change in sensations over time. Note the changes with each repetition. With practice you need to check if you are traveling towards self-exploration and ultimate balance with self.
Release – slowly detach your fingers from each other. Separate the palms. Distance the hands slowly. See if there are any vibrations at your finger tips or a feel of energy bonds traveling between them. Experience everything. Release your hands slowly to your sides and relax.
Read – Muladhara Chakra – The Root Chakra, Features, How To Activate?
Extended practice of Anjali Mudra
- After taking Anjali mudra, slightly part your palms and make it into a cup. Now your hands resemble a lotus bud.
- Plant a prayer affirmation or any quality such as peace or vitality within the cup of mudra. Make the anjali or offering be true to self. Alternatively try to visualize your favorite deity and try to establish a personal connection with the God. For this, you should consider the cup as a holy shrine.
- Align your mind, feel and actions into the gesture and try to feel the balance.
- Later, draw your fingertips to the center of your forehead, the point of ajna chakra. Feel the calming effect of your touch.
- After some seconds, get back your hands to your center and ground your intention within your heart.
- This now becomes a place of your connectedness. From here you can begin your yoga asanas, meditation or any activity.
Reverse Anjali Mudra
Here the palms are joined behind your back and not in front of your heart. They are ideally joined behind the shoulder blades.
Roll the shoulders down and back while opening the front of the chest. When you bring your hands together, behind your back, try to seal the hands together at the base of your palms.
Difference between Anjali and Namaskara Mudra
While we have learnt that Anjali is a gesture which is also a Namaskara gesture, some schools of thought differentiate them. According to them, there is a subtle difference between Anjali and Namaskara Mudra. They are also extensions of each other and can be performed one after the other in sequence. One can start with Anjali Mudra and end with Namaskara Mudra.
Sequence of Hasta Mudras to recharge our Pranamaya Kosha – the psychic battery (Source – Geethanjali Yoga)
Anjali Mudra – When we join the palms above our heads, just like in Namaste it is called Anjali Mudra. Here we raise and stretch both our upper limbs such that the arms are in contact with our ears. We keep our upper limbs pointed up, towards the roof. We slowly bring our palms together such that each finger is in close association with one another. All the fingers are pointing the roof while staying connected with each other. All Chakras are said to be energized in this gesture. One needs to contemplate the higher consciousness here.
Kailasha Mudra – You need to slowly bring down your joined hands towards the crown of your head such that the wrists touch the top of your head. Your elbows are pointing outwards in opposite directions. This energizes Sahasrara Chakra. One needs to focus the mind on this area, pre-frontal region of the brain. The fingers are still facing upwards.
From Kailash Mudra, the folded hands are brought down further down to such that they now touch the forehead. Here, the Ajna Chakra, the center of our inner intuition is activated. This activates and energizes the pituitary gland. Since this gland is the master gland, the glands in the body will be synchronized and their functions will be balanced.
Now slowly the folded hands are brought further down, to the front of the neck. Here we energize and recharge our Vishuddha Chakra. This is also a place of thyroid gland. We can also bring the thyroid functions to a state of balance.
Namaskara Mudra – Now the folded hands are brought to our chest region, right in front of our heart, elbows pointing outwards, forearms in the line of wrists. This is Namaskara Mudra. This energizes our Anahata or Heart Chakra.
Philosophy of Anjali Mudra – The placing of palms together in the gesture of Anjali or Namaskara is meant to enable us to achieve grounding selves and to be humble. It is a gesture of feeling gratitude and thanking for this precious gift of life. One needs to use this gesture to bring an outward experience inside.
Benefits of Anjali Mudra
- Provides flexibility in the wrists and arm joints
- Stimulates the anahata chakra
- In the extended practice it stimulates and activates ajna chakra
- Calms mind
- Relieves stress
- Improves focus
- Promotes inner awareness
- Connects the hemispheres of the brain and optimizes brain functions and coordination
- Balances the glandular functions, especially those of pituitary and thyroid glands
- Enables good circulation of nutrition and oxygen from the heart, balances breathing patterns
- Corrects our thought process and makes us think positive
Balance of elements – the human body is composed of five elements of nature. Each finger represents one element. When in Anjali Mudra all fingers and their tips come in close contact with each other, all elements of the body are activated. When practiced regularly, all elements of the body and all tissues and components made out of them will stay in a state of balance. This contributes to balance of overall physical and mental health. It also keeps the entire system energized and synchronized.
Anjali Mudra is an energy circuit – Anjali Mudra is a gesture of complete energy circuit of selves. When we join hands we finish a loop of selves wherein our right and left parts get connected and synchronized as a unit. There is energy transfer throughout the body. All chakras are activated and the entire body is energized.
Effect on Tridosha, Tissues
Impact of Anjali Mudra on Doshas and tissues
Seeing the benefits on health of Anjali Mudra, it can be said that it keeps all the doshas and tissues in a state of balance. This helps the functions of doshas and tissues to be carried out smoothly and also in sync with each other.
Since this seal helps in finding ones balance it keeps the vyana vayu in balance. Vyana vayu is responsible for distribution and balance of all activities.
The entire body functions are carried out by the balanced prana, teja and oja which are represented by vata, pitta and kapha respectively. Anjali Mudra balances these entities.
Since anjali mudra mainly balances and energizes ajna and anahata chakras, it balances the related doshas i.e. prana vata, sadhaka pitta, tarpaka kapha, udana vata and avalambaka kapha. By this, it would keep the brain, heart and related glandular functions balanced and going. Similar impact is seen when this gesture calms mind.
By calming mind, improving focus and promoting awareness, this gesture would help us to discover inner peace and our synchronization with the creation. Thus it helps in keeping the doshas of mind i.e. rajas and tamas in a state of balance.
Being good for heart, the gesture is good for lymph and blood tissues. The channels of lymph and prana circulation are rooted in the heart. It is also good for these channels.
By strengthening the arms joints and wrists, the gesture is supportive to bone and muscle tissue, ligaments and tendons.
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