Sometimes it seems like there are as many types of yoga as there are yogis in the world: A LOT.
If there is ONE THING we all like in the yoga world, though, it’s balancing the complex aspects of the human and spiritual existence to create harmony in our being ✨
When practiced with intention, vayu mudra accomplishes exactly that. Mudras are an ancient yogic practice designed to move and seal prana, our vital life force, connecting us to our inner power and full potential.
The term ‘vayu’ comes from the Sanskrit word for air, which is used to describe the movement of prana throughout the subtle body known as the five winds, or the five prana vayus. In this article, we’ll look more closely at what vayu mudra is, where it originates, what its benefits are, and how to practice it.
Eeeee, yoga knowledge! Love it! Let’s learn more.
What Is Vayu Mudra?
According to ayurveda, yoga’s ancient sister science, our body and mind are made up of five elements. These are ether (space), air, water, earth, and fire. When these elements are balanced, we enhance our prana and increase our vibration, promoting a healthy life and experiencing positive feelings. This yogic philosophy first originated in the 15th-century text the “Hatha Yoga Pradipika.” The air element, vayu, is said to be connected to the flow of energy and gas throughout our bodies. When this element is imbalanced, it shows up in neurological disorders such as gout, arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease, as well as through poor circulation, low energy, excess gas, and inflammation.
While vayu mudra can be performed at any time of the day, it is thought to have therapeutic benefits when performed in the morning on an empty stomach. Vayu mudra is associated with the vata dosha, which is a combination of our ether (space) and air elements. When you practice vayu mudra, you help free the energy channels (nadis) in the body and increase movement. You also relieve excess gas and air within the body that may cause bloating, discomfort, and energy blocks. The vayu mudra is also associated with:
Planet(s): Jupiter (index finger) and Mars (thumb)
Element(s): Air (index finger) and fire (thumb)
Chakra(s): Throat Chakra
Benefits of Vayu Mudra
According to ayurveda, vayu mudra balances the air element of the body that might show up as gastric issues, anxiety and neurological balance. Practicing vayu mudra is said to relieve gas, flatulence, bloating, and digestion issues. Vayu mudra is also associated with circulation, mental clarity, and improving brain function.
Can we really prove these benefits? The answer is… no. But the placebo effect is totally real!! This seal is also associated with calming restlessness, unease and focusing stray thoughts. When using this mudra in meditation and giving the hands a purposeful gesture, we reduce unnecessary movement and welcome a sense of calm and peace 😌.
Here are the ways vayu mudra is traditionally believed to benefit your wellbeing:
- Improves digestion through reducing excess gas
- Improves cognition and brain function
- Reduces inflammation and pain through increasing circulation (helps to improve conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, among others)
- Reduces anxiety through calming the body and reducing stress hormones
- Increases self awareness
How To Do Vayu Mudra
This mudra is perfect to pair with a simple meditation practice, but you can also use the gesture in yoga poses. However you wish to try vayu mudra, remember that the focus of the mind affects the body and charges your subtle being with energy, for better or for worse. Vayu mudra can help direct our mental energy and amplify the effect of whatever meditation of pose you practice with it.
When practicing vayu mudra, give yourself as much freedom as possible to boost your inward connection and avoid distractions. To do this, try to avoid wearing tight clothing or practicing in an overly-cramped space – we’re going for flow here! The air element is connected to spaciousness, and it’s best to create that spaciousness to set the scene. Keep your body and mind relaxed as you give this a try.
- Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight. Try Sukhasana, Vajrasana, or Padmasana if you’re able to – but any comfortable seat is great.
- Relax the mind and body. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Focus on how your body feels with each breath. This breathing will help stimulate pranic flow within the body.
- Place your hands on the thighs with the palms facing upwards.
- Fold each index finger to touch the base on the thumb.
- Gently press the index finger with the thumb. Try not to apply excess pressure when holding the hand gesture. It’s super easy to tense the arm and shoulder, but even more important to stay relaxed. Keep your other fingers gently extended.
- Chant the OM mantra while taking deep inhales and exhales. Keep the hands steady while chanting the mantra.
Practice this mudra as you would with meditation – 20 minutes a day is ideal, but 5-10 minutes a day is better than none!
Vayu mudra can benefit virtually anyone with its calming energetic effects. While the hand gesture may feel odd or uncomfortable at first, eventually it becomes second nature – just like holding a pen in your hand. Add this mudra to your meditation routine to expand your energetic awareness and connect with the flow of prana moving through your being. Enjoy!