What Does Apana Mudra Mean?
You know those times when you feel like your mind is out of balance, your yoga practice is off and nothing seems to help?
This is when using a mudra can be especially helpful. Mudra is the Sanskrit word for “hand gesture,” and one of the best mudras for bringing your mind and body back to equilibrium is apana mudra.
Apana mudra or “prana mudra,” is the mudra for digestion. In yogic terms, this mudra is linked to apana vayu, which relates to the downward movement of energy. That means anything to do with the elimination process of waste or toxins and for women—regulating our menstrual cycle.
In Ayurveda, each finger represents an element, and in this mudra we join our thumb (representing the fire element), our ring finger (representing earth) and middle finger (representing ether) together. By joining our two middle fingers with our thumb (fire) it brings us more stability and grounding.
This mudra helps us balance the earth and space elements within us. There are even planets related to the fingers as well… for example, our index finger represents the planet Jupiter, which is associated with spiritual and mental development, prosperity and abundance.
Sounds pretty promising, doesn’t it?
Apana mudra helps us calm our inner winds (vata imbalance), release stress and improve our digestion.
Let’s take a look at the most important benefits of this mudra.
Apana Mudra Benefits
Apana mudra is one of the best mudras for meditation as well as digestion.
You can try it for constipation and especially for when you feel mentally blocked, in other words “constipation of the mind.”
It is one of the most important mudras for elimination—releasing emotions, negative thoughts or experiences we no longer need and want to let go of.
Often times, since the mind and body are so connected, any mindfulness practices such as mudras, yoga postures and meditation can help with any mental disorders and physical discomforts you may be experiencing.
Apana mudra closely relates to the organs of the stomach and the excretory system, above the navel, where the solar plexus chakra is located. The solar plexus chakra is the seat of our personal power, where we make decisions from and how we assert ourselves. Using this mudra will allow us to receive more prana or life force energy. The best part about this mudra is that it eases menstrual cramps and allows you to feel more grounded and secure.
When you have better digestion, you are able to make clearer decisions, strengthen your health and prevent disease.
How to Do This Mudra
Bring your middle and ring finger to the tip of your thumb, while gently applying pressure. Allow your pinky and index finger to be straight. Also, make practice with both hands. This brings your prana downward and helps to release any excess vata (or wind).
Try this mudra while sitting or meditating and see how it helps to improve your breath and your posture. You are also welcome to try it while lying down. Close your eyes and focus on pranayama (yogic) breathing. You may find this mudra to be very therapeutic.
Try to hold the mudra for at least 10-15 at first, then once you feel comfortable you can even go for 45 minutes.
Breathe deeply and allow yourself to feel the grounding energy moving downwards towards the earth.