‘Namaste’ the traditional form of greetings, when we bring the hands together in front of another person, is actually a Mudra. The Sanskrit word “Mudra” means gesture, that is, movement of part of body, hand or head. The hand gestures of Namaste is called the Anjali Mudra, and is one of the thousands of types of Mudra that are used in yoga asanas, Hindu rituals and classical dance. In typical Namaste or Anjali mudra, the hands are held at the Heart Chakra with thumbs resting lightly against the sternum. This Mudra connects the right and left hemispheres of your brain enhancing your receptivity and awareness. It also opens and nourishes your Heart Chakra and connects you to deep compassion and divinity within you. It is a natural remedy for stress and anxiety.
The five fingers of the hand represent the Panch Mahabuta or 5 great elements. According to Hinduism it is this group of 5 elements which form the basis of cosmic creation. The thumb represents the Fire; the index finger –Air; the middle finger-Sky; the ring finger-Earth; and the little finger-Water. According to Ayurveda and the ancient science of Chakras, disease sets in whenever there is an imbalance of elements or blockage in flow of energy through the body. There are specific hand Mudras or gestures that help normalize the five elements in the human body, and energize different parts of the body. So Mudras to balance earth element will include your ring finger, mudras for air element will include your index finger; mudras for fire element will include your thumb; mudras for balancing water element will incorporate your little finger; and mudras for ether/sky element will focus on your middle finger.
Agni (Fire) Mudra: In this Mudra, you fold your ring finger and press the second phalanx with the base of your thumb, while stretching the rest of the fingers. Regular practice of this Mudra quickens digestion, controls high cholesterol levels improves body strength and reduces stress and tension.
Vayu (Air) Mudra: In this Mudra, the index finger is bent till its tip reaches the ball of the thumb. Regular practice of this Mudra eliminates flatulence and balances the air element in the body. It is also beneficial for joint pains related to sciatica, arthritis, and gout.
Aakash (Sky/Ether) Mudra: In this Mudra, the tip of the middle finger is touched to the tip of the thumb, while stretching out the rest of the three fingers. Practicing this Mudra increase the space inside the body for other elements to freely act. It detoxifies the body and helps remove and release negative emotions like fear, anger, sorrow etc. It activates the Ajna Chakra and regular practice enhances intuition, and meditative experience. It also relieves headaches.
Prithvi (Earth) Mudra: In this Mudra, the tip of the ring finger is touched to the tip of the thumb, while stretching other three fingers. Practising this Mudra daily for 20 minutes is known to reduce digestive related issues and relives fatigue. This Mudra activates the Root Chakra and hence enhances the vital energy needed for successful living.
Varun (Water)Mudra: In this Mudra, the tip of the little finger is touched to the tip of the thumb, while stretching out three fingers. Practicing this Mudra daily maintains fluid balance in the body. It activates the Sacral Chakra and regular practice controls urinary related problems and muscles related pains.