A Mudra for Letting Go: Ksepana Mudra

Ksepana Mudra is the mudra for letting go and boy did I need it this week. After a frustrating start to my week, I knew I needed a major attitude adjustment. I knew that I needed to shake off this cloud of frustration and overwhelm ASAP, so this morning I welcomed Ksepana Mudra into my meditation and asana practice. This is probably one of my favorite mudras, simply because I experience an energetic shift immediately. It’s so much easier to work through the tough stuff when we have the tools to do so!

ksepana mudra for surrender

The Mudra for Letting Go

In Sanskrit, Ksepana means to throw (away), to let go, pour off or to cast off. Ksepana mudra is the mudra for letting go of waste known as mala in Ayurveda. This waste, or mala, can be literal physical waste, toxic relationships, negative thoughts, or old habits, samskaras, and vasanas that don’t serve your highest self. I like to use this mudra when I’m feeling heavy or down or when I’m holding to tightly to expectations or my desire to be in control. I also like to practice this mudra when I’m feeling grumpy, frustrated, or overwhelmed… it’s like a tonic for the soul! Give it a go and let me know how you feel afterward.

Ksepana Mudra and Apana Vayu

Ksepana Mudra works with apana vayu, which is the down and outward flowing energy (prana) of elimination (defecation and urination), menstruation, and child birth. In addition to elmination through the large intestine, Ksepana mudra helps us remove mala through the surface of our skin via perspiration and through our lungs via expiration (the exhale breath).

Ksepana Mudra: Elements and Chakras

Mudras are often associated with specific elements according to Ayurveda’s five element theory (earth, water, fire, air and ether). Ksepana Mudra is often associated with the air element and therefore the heart chakra. What a beautiful act of self-love to say “no more, this doesn’t serve me, I’m letting it go”. After many years of practicing Ksepana Mudra it often resonates with the second chakra and the water element. I find that the imagery of water helps calm my nervous system and clears out stagnation, stress, etc. The second chakra is also very much associated with the energy of apana vayu and the act of letting go.

ksepana mudra for letting go

Ksepana Mudra Practice:

To practice ksepana mudra interlace the fingers of both hands and then release the index fingers. The index fingers are touching one another. The thumbs are crossed and the thumb pads rest, more or less, in the crook between thumb and index finger. When seated and practicing this mudra the index fingers should point down. The index fingers should point toward your feet when practicing this mudra lying down.

You can also practice this mudra in your asana practice. A flow that I like to do in a seated posture.

  1. Begin with the mudra at heart center. Index fingers pointing up.
  2. On an inhale turn the index fingers to point down and slightly away, extending the arms long toward the floor.
  3. Using the same inhale breath sweeping the arms up overhead.
  4. Exhale index fingers come to the crown of the head, to the forehead, the nose, then the lips and back to the heart like a waterfall tumbling over smooth stones.
  5. Each inhale envision vibrant, light energy flowing into your body and on your exhale let go of negativity in any of its forms.
  6. Practice a total of seven times.

mudra for letting go

Benefits of Ksepana Mudra:

Ksepana mudra helps us release negativity, frustration and suffering. Practicing the mudra, especially as stated above, creates a palpable difference in our energy. I call this letting go mudra an “attitude adjustment”.


  • “I let go of what no longer serves me.”
  • “Spent energy in my body, mind, and soul flows away from me, and I thankfully accept all things that refresh me,” from Gertrud Hirsch’s book Mudras: Yoga in Your Hands. Gertrud’s book has been on my bookshelf for years and is literally my go-to book for mudras.
  • “I surrender to the flow of the Universe.”
  • “I embrace uncertainty with ease.”

If you want to learn more about Mudras and powerful meditation practices that you can combine with these symbolic hand gestures, check out my book, The Little Book of Mudra Meditations. Hope to see you on your mat or cushion soon.

Love and Light,


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Padma Mudra: A mudra to honor your inner beauty and light

Lotus Seal

Padma mudra is known as the lotus mudra or lotus seal because it resembles a blossoming lotus. It is a beautiful mudra to incorporate into any meditation or asana practice. In Sanskrit, Padma is commonly translated simply as lotus, but my favorite translation is “sacred lotus”. The sacred lotus is a reminder of the divine within and it’s a way that we can honor our own inner beauty and light and our ability to rise above the darkness of the muck and mire.

Lotus flowers grow abundantly in South Asia and Southeast Asia. (pic by Dietmar Dorsch)

Lotus Mudra Symbolism and Imagery

Lotus symbolism and imagery is common throughout Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism. A lotus flower takes root down in the muck and mud and rises up through the water to blossom unscathed at the water’s surface. You can think of the path of the lotus as the journey to enlightenment. It is the journey from the darkness to the light.

The mud and muck represent our ego, our habits, our stories, our samskaras, our vasanas, our dramas. It represents life’s challenges, our shadow, and even inertia. The water through which the lotus must rise is cleansing and purifying. It is our yoga practice and our personal development. It takes action and awareness. The lotus flower’s rise from the muck up to the water’s surface requires action, and fortitude, it is a period of growth. And the fully bloomed flower represents our fully awakened self. Pure and beautiful.

Padma mudra is often associated with the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi is the shakti of all types of good fortune and abundance, both spiritual and material. She graces us with the gifts of auspiciousness, grace, compassion and love.

The Lotus Mudra opens our heart chakra to receive love, grace, compassion and abundance. When I notice that I’m starting to pull away from loved ones or pull away from experiencing love I find Padma Mudra to be a helpful reminder to lean in, even if it’s a little uncomfortable. Love is always worth it.

How to Practice Padma Mudra

Lotus mudra
Padma mudra

To practice padma mudra, bring your hands to anjali mudra, or prayer mudra, in front of your heart center with the palms of your hands touching. Keep the heels of your palms touching, your pinky fingers touching and your thumbs touching as you peel the palms of your hands, index, middle and ring fingers away from one another. The three middle fingers of each hand blossom away from one another like a lotus flower in bloom. Hold the mudra for five to ten minutes although it’s perfectly acceptable to hold the mudra longer.

Two Meditation Practices for the Lotus Mudra

One of my favorite lotus mudra practices puts a little spin on the traditional mudra. Sianna Sherman calls it prayer wheel padma mudra. I personally like to add either pranayama or mantra to this version. I’ll explain it briefly below:

From a traditional version of padma mudra, you begin to spin the fingers away from your torso, you roll to the backs of the hands until the pinky fingers touch again and then come back to lotus mudra. I often incorporate this version into my Lakshmi practice and chant “Om shrim maha Lakshmyai namaha” or simply Lakshmi’s seed sound “shrim”. I will often do 27, 54, or 108 rotations.

Another Lotus Mudra practice that I’ve been feeling called to share is a moving meditation that connects the mind to the wisdom of the heart. Here you can start with the hands in Padma Mudra at the heart center. As you inhale allow the mudra to float up to your Third Eye Chakra at the center of your brows. As you exhale, allow the hands to return to the space of the heart. This mudra practice can take you out of the thinking, analyzing, judging mind and into the wisdom of the heart. I like to do this practice when I need clarity on what is best for my higher self or when I need to work on trusting my own inner wisdom which is always rooted in love.

Benefits of Padma Mudra

  • Padma Mudra helps you remember that your very essence is love, radiance, and bliss.
  • the lotus seal inspires purity and perseverance
  • Reminds you of your own inner beauty
  • It is calming to the mind
  • Opens the heart chakra to love and compassion

Affirmations for Padma Mudra

I rise above life’s challenges with ease and grace.

My inner light shines brightly.

My heart is pure.

My Mudra book is now available on Amazon. If you’re looking to expand your mudra and meditation practice it is packed with 30 mudra meditations for healing. I would be honored if you checked it out!

As always, I am here to support you. Please feel free to reach out with questions any time.

Love and Light,

Ganesh Mudra for Courage & Confidence

ganesha mudra for confidence
Gorgeous pic of Ganesha by Pete Linforth

Hello from Bali! Yogis if you ever have a chance to make it out to Bali DO IT! It’s so beautiful. I’ve already felt the energy shift of being here AND I’ve only been here a little over a day. It’s pure magic. Since I am in Bali I figured it would be wise to teach Ganesh Mudra today.  Statues of Ganesha abound all over Bali! Some covered in moss or lichen, others adorned with flowers or mala beads, some with incense and offerings at their feet. It’s lovely. This is my third trip to Bali. Each time my energy shifts and obstacles seem to drop away…. Ganesh at work!

Mudras are shapes that you make with your hands to guide and direct the flow of prana and your awareness or intention. They’ve been around for ages and across cultures. Typically, they’re practiced in meditation, but some lend themselves well to an asana or pranayama practice.

Ganesh (also interchangeably called Ganesha), the elephant god, is the remover of all obstacles. Not only does Ganesh help us overcome life’s challenges, his mudra is for confidence and courage on our yoga journey.

hand mudra ganesha mudra for confidence

Benefits of Ganesha Mudra for Courage:

Ganesh mudra helps activate the root, navel & heart chakras. Practicing this mudra for courage helps us to trust our foundation. When we feel supported it’s that much easier for us to step into our personal power, while staying aligned with the energy of the heart. Ganesh Mudra activates the fire element and can help you act with confidence, courage, self-esteem, compassion and openness. Ganesh mudra, just as with Lord Ganesha himself, helps dispel fear, so we can achieve our hearts desires. On a physiological level this mudra releases tension in the muscles of your chest and may also stimulate activity of the heart and open the bronchial tubes.

To practice Ganesha Mudra:

Bring your left hand in front of your heart and turn your palm away from you (your thumb pointing down) and fingers bent. With your right palm facing toward you hook the fingers of your right hand with the fingers of your left hand. Elbows pointing out toward the sides. From here, with an exhale breath pull the elbows away from one another while keeping the fingers locked together (don’t let them separate). You will feel the muscles of your chest and upper arms engage. On your inhale breath release the tension. Repeat up to 8 times. You can use this mudra daily OR as needed; like when you’re feeling self doubt, fearful, or closed off from others.

Try this, come into a posture that makes you feel small and closed off, just pause here for a moment and notice the shape of your body, notice how your energy shifted. Now, sit tall and bring your hands into Ganesh Mudra and gently pull your elbows out to the side, just like described above. Then bring your awareness again to the shape of your body and how you feel holding this powerful mudra. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?! Try to become aware of how you carry yourself throughout the day. If you notice your posture becoming rounded (like when you’re at your computer or on your phone) and take a few moments to shift your energy. Give yourself a little Ganesh power up! 

Incorporate This Mudra For Confidence Into Your Yoga Practice

This mudra is easy to incorporate into a yoga practice too! Since it instills confidence and courage, I like to incorporate it into powerful poses like Crescent Lunge, Warrior 1, and Warrior 2, especially if we’ll be doing a strong balancing sequence later in class!

Amplify Your Connection with Ganesh by Adding a Mantra

I love combining mantra with my mudra and meditation practice. One of my go-to mantras is “Om gam ganapataye namaha” which essentially translates to “salutations to the remover of obstacles”. You could chant this mantra when you’re starting a new project or have a big, seemingly impossible task ahead, or even when you’re just having a rough day. If you would like to learn more about Ganesha, his origin story and significance in Hinduism, here is an approachable blog post about him.

If you would like to learn more about mudras or need a little inspiration for your meditation practice, I invite you to check out my book The Little Book of Mudra Meditations or join me for a live class on Zoom or an in-person yoga retreat or teacher training!

Let me know how your meditation practice is going and as always, reach out with questions.

Love and Light,


Top 5 Meditation Hand Positions To Improve Your Practice

Hey beautiful soul. Have you ever wondered what to do with your hands during meditation? You’ve probably seen meditators, yogis and even the Buddha himself using hand positions called mudras for meditation, but you’re not sure what they mean or why they’re making shapes with their hands? When I began my yoga journey, nearly 20 years ago, I didn’t even know there were meditation hand positions and I certainly didn’t understand their significance. These days we have so much more information at our fingertips (pun sorta intended) and I thought I would share some meditation hand positions that I’ve found profoundly impactful in my own meditation practice. 

meditation mudras

Welcome to the Practice of Mudras: Hand Positions for Meditation

Hand mudras are hand positions for meditation. However, they can be incorporated into your yoga practice off the cushion — when you’re commuting, navigating a challenging situation, or even when you’re doing your asana practice. These mudras are more than just shapes that you make with your hands. Ayurvedic practitioners have been using these mudras therapeutically for hundreds, if not thousands, of years!

Mudra is the Sanskrit word for gesture. Just like a gesture in your daily life, each mudra has a meaning or intention. Much like a mantra, they can be used to focus your mind on an intention and direct your energy internally. The energy I am referring to is called prana. It is often called our life force energy. It is the energy that flows through our nadis and chakras

If you’re familiar with the Eight Limbs of Yoga you can easily use these mudras during dharana (concentration) and dhyana (meditation). Check out my book The Little Book of Mudra Meditations if you want to learn how to incorporate 30 different mudras into your practice. You’ll find practice guides and guided meditations.

Let’s get started.

Gyan Mudra (Gesture of Knowledge)

The most iconic meditation hand position is gyan, also spelled jnana, gyana, gian. Gyan is nearly identical to chin mudra and these two mudras are used interchangeably and although different, there isn’t much consensus on their distinguishing features. Go figure. I’ve done my best to outline the differences between chin and jnana mudra in another blog post you can find here

You’ve likely seen Hindu deities, the buddha, sages, yogis, and meditators all demonstrating Gyan mudra.

meditation hand position-gesture of knowledge

How to Practice Gyan Mudra or Chin Mudra

Bring the tip of the thumb and the tip of the index fingers to touch and extend the middle, ring and pinky fingers long. Rest the wrists on the thighs/knees and turn the palms of the hands upward to create openness and receptivity or turn the palms of the hands down toward the earth for more grounding. I also like to bring one hand in front of the heart and one hand to the thigh.

In this mudra the thumb represents divine wisdom or universal wisdom and the supreme soul, while the index finger represents the individual soul. With that in mind, uniting the thumb and index finger unites the individual soul with that of the supreme soul. If the thumb is brought over the top of the index fingernail it represents the surrender of the individual soul to the supreme soul.

Dhyana Mudra (Gesture of Enlightenment)

The Buddha was often depicted practicing Dhyana Mudra while seated in meditation. In Dhyana Mudra the right hand is always placed on top of the left hand. It represents wisdom and enlightenment and the left hand represents the illusory world of maya. Use Dhyana Mudra in your meditation practice when you need a little extra help with focus and concentration. I find that this mudra helps me find calmness, clarity, and a sense of peace during times of stress.

meditation hand position - meditation mudra

How to Practice Dhyana Mudra

Bring your hands in front of your lower abdomen. With your palms facing upward, place your right hand on top of your left.  You can bring the tips of the thumbs to touch to form a circle or triangle, but it’s not necessary. Hold the mudra for the duration of your meditation practice.

Buddhi Mudra (Gesture of Perception/Intellect)

Buddhi Mudra is another great hand position for meditation. This mudra assists our meditation practice by improving our intuition, psychic development, mindfulness, clarity and understanding. Use Buddhi Mudra in meditation when you’re seeking wisdom, insight and guidance and when you’re feeling lost, stuck or need answers to big questions. 

Like Varuna Mudra, it works on the water element in the body and it can help manage disease related to lack of water in the body, think kidney and bladder health.

meditation hand position - buddhi mudra

How to Practice Buddhi Mudra

Bring the tip of your pinky finger to touch the tip of your thumb. Extend your index, middle, and ring fingers long. Rest your hands on the tops of your thighs with your palms face up.

Varada Mudra (Gesture of Generosity)

Varada Mudra is a “new to me” mudra… well it’s new to my practice. Hindu deities are often depicted with this “boon granting” mudra… think Lakshmi and her golden coins. I like this hand position for meditation because it feels kind and loving and generous. It feels like the name implies. Varada translates as “boon giving”. It’s a mudra for abundance, generosity, compassion and charity. It symbolizes an offering and also a welcoming. I personally like to incorporate this mudra into a loving-kindness or heart chakra meditation.

best meditation hand positions - varada mudra

To Practice Varada Mudra

With your right hand, bring the back of your right wrist to your thigh, open your palm and gently stretch your fingers down toward the earth so the palm of your hand faces away from you. Your left hand can take another mudra that resonates with you. Personally, I like to place my left hand over my heart and think of love flowing into my heart space through the palm of my left hand and love flowing through my right hand to those who need it. A gentle cascade of love flowing to me and through me.

Vajrapradama Mudra (Gesture of Unshakeable Trust)

And finally, my favorite mudra, my go-to, Vajrapradama Mudra. This is the mudra for unshakeable trust. It’s grounding and heart-centered. It calms the nervous system and helps us find and trust the wisdom of our heart. It’s particularly potent during times of challenge or frustration.

meditation mudra for trust- vajrapradama

To Practice Vajrapradama Mudra

Bring the hands in front of your heart. Interlace your fingers and rest your open palms on your heart.

If you would like to deepen your meditation practice hop into my upcoming yoga teacher training. You’ll find a supportive community, inspirational practices, and accountability.

As always, feel free to reach out with questions about mudras, meditation or yoga teacher training. I’m here for you.

Love and Light,

Four Mudras for Anxiety

Here we are, nearing the end of 2020 and it seems like many of us are struggling with our mental health, myself included. My meditation and yoga practice plus time out in nature have been my saving grace, what about you? You might be here because you read my book, The Little Book of Mudra Meditations, or maybe you’re here because you are looking for tools like mudras or meditation to help manage your anxiety. 

Anxiety can show up in a variety of different ways… from feeling frozen in place, having irrational fears, and being unable to move forward to racing thoughts, panic attacks, and sleepless nights to irritability and agitation. Please remember to treat yourself and loved ones with kindness and compassion when you (or they) are dealing with anxiety.

In this blog post, I will share some of the tools, hand mudras specifically, that I use to help move through anxious moments. I’ve found these four hand mudras for anxiety, combined with a few minutes of breathing and meditation can help shift my perspective from anxiety-ridden to grounded and calm, or at least to be calmer and more grounded! If you are experiencing anxiety, I encourage you to find someone you can talk to… a therapist, counselor, or even a trusted friend. Hand mudras are a wonderful tool for healing and are often used in addition to traditional therapy and complement it well.

Why Do Mudras Work?

Hand mudras work for a handful of reasons — pun intended. Mudras are basically intentional yoga poses for your hands. Mudras direct your prana (life force energy — like chi of Traditional Chinese Medicine) and focus your intention and awareness. They are usually combined with meditation, although some can be used during your yoga practice, walking around town, or while navigating a stressful situation. 

A Brief History of Mudras

Some of the hand mudras date all the way back to the Vedas, an ancient Indian text over 4000 years old. Hand mudras, or gestures, are used in yoga, Indian dance, and Ayurveda. Ayurveda is yoga’s sister science of health and wellbeing. It looks at your ENTIRE being and seeks to restore balance through lifestyle, diet, etc. Beyond India, hand gestures are used across cultures to convey intention, for example, hands in prayer, peace fingers, fingers crossed, etc.

You can use hand mudras for anxiety to feel more grounded, stable, supported, peaceful, content, calm, capable, secure, trustful, and less agitated. And those are just a few of the benefits I have noticed in my own experience and while working with my yoga students.

Four Mudras for Anxiety and Healing: Bhu, Apan Vayu, Kalesvara, and Chinmaya

Bhu Mudra For Anxiety

bhu mudra for anxiety

The first mudra for anxiety that I would like to introduce to you is Bhu Mudra. Bhu means “Earth” in Sanskrit and is linked to the Hindu Mother Earth goddess Bhumi Devi. She is sometimes simply called Bhudevi. In the Hindu pantheon, she is the consort of Vishnu’s avatar, Varaha. Bhumi Devi, much like Mother Earth herself, is considered a mother Goddess and as such, she is a nurturer and sustainer of life. Like Lakshmi, she brings abundance and blessings. Her iconography often depicts her holding a water vessel, a bowl of sacred herbs, a blue lotus, and demonstrating Abhaya Mudra. Abhaya mudra is the mudra for fearlessness. By calling in the energy of Bhumi Devi we are asking for her assistance to move through fear, to nurture and nourish us, and ground us in our connection to Mother Earth.

Bhu Mudra Benefits

  • Stability, security, and sense of safety
  • Groundedness & rootedness
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Helps us move through fear with ease
  • Connection to the nurturing energy of Mother Earth and goddess Bhumi Devi

How to Practice Bhu Mudra

  1. If it’s possible, I would encourage you to sit on the ground, however, I know that sitting on the ground isn’t always practical, so any upright seat will do.
  2. Gently fold your ring finger and your little finger into your palm and gently place your thumb over your ring and little finger.
  3. Extend your middle and index fingers long.
  4. Bring your arms down to your sides and gently place the tips of your middle and index finger down onto the earth.
  5. If you’re seated in a chair, ground your feet into the earth and place your middle and index fingers onto your thighs, just above your knees. The palms of your hands will face downward.

Bhu Mudra Meditation

Settle in

Find a comfortable seat on the ground (if possible). Settle into your seat, bring your hands into Bhu Mudra and bring your index finger and middle finger to gently rest on the surface of the earth. Perhaps even wiggle them around a bit and feel the blades of grass, the softness of the soil or firmness of the stone. Take a moment to close down your eyes and simply become aware of your connection to the earth beneath you. Become aware of the weight of your seat settling into the support of Mother Earth and feel the connection of your fingertips against her skin: earth, soil, grass, stone, etc. 

Cultivate and sharpen your awareness

Bring your awareness back to your seat and as you inhale envision a golden light flowing up through your seat, up through your chakras along your spine, up through the crown of your head. Then as you exhale envision this golden light pouring down from the crown of your head over the surface of your skin, down your arms to your fingertips and down to the earth. Golden light flows down the front and back of your body, down your thighs, legs, hips and pelvis down to the earth. The surface of the ground beneath you is alive with golden light. Your body is enveloped in golden light.

As this light continues to flow up your spine and then down the surface of your skin, envision every cell of your body being nurtured, held, and supported by the sweet energy of Mother Earth. Like a mother caring for her children, she takes away your pain, your stress, your worry. She takes away your fear of the unknown and she churns and composts it into that which is rich, fertile, and nourishing. Invite her nourishment to flow up the central channel along your spine and allow it to cascade down through your body.

Stay with this imagery until you feel calm, grounded, and peaceful. Sit for a moment or two longer and then slowly and mindfully transition back into your day.

Perhaps an affirmation resonates more?

When working with Bhu Mudra you might find it helpful to work with a mantra or affirmation. I particularly love this affirmation by Jennifer Reis, “My roots run deep into the core of the living earth.” If the above meditation doesn’t resonate with you, try using an affirmation like the one here or create your own.

Apan Vayu Mudra for Anxiety

apan vayu mudra for anxiety

Apan Vayu Mudra is another mudra that works with the Earth element. It is thought to increase the earth element (think grounded, stable, supported, safe), the fire element (action, heat), and akasha/ether (space/void) and it down-regulates the air element. According to Ayurveda, excessive air element in the body can lead to nervousness, flightiness, erratic behavior, and even panic attacks. 

Apan Vayu Mudra, according to the ancient rishis (seers in India), is used to promote heart health and should be used during a heart attack while on your way to the hospital. This mudra is occasionally called the Lifesaving Gesture for the Heart. To be honest, I was quite skeptical when I heard that it could be used during a heart attack, but a small study published in 2017 shows promise. However, a much larger study needs to be done to really know and understand its efficacy.

That being said, I don’t practice this mudra for heart health (although I know that it’s working its magic there too). I practice it when I’m losing my sense of calm, when my mind starts racing, when I’m nervous, and even before public speaking. I use this mudra for anxiety when I am in the moment… I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, so let’s get right into the practice.

Benefits of Apan Vayu Mudra

  • Calms the mind and nervous system
  • Lessens panic attacks
  • Heart health

How to Practice Apan Vayu Mudra for Anxiety

  1. When possible, I like to practice this mudra in a comfortable seat — if that’s not an option, sometimes I’ll do the mudra and jam my hands in my pocket, not traditional, but sometimes you do what you have to do.
  2. Bring your index finger down to the base of your thumb.
  3. Then bring the tips of your middle finger and ring finger to the tip of your thumb.
  4. Keep your pinky extended long.
  5. Place your hands on your thighs or knees
  6. Practice for up to 30 minutes.

A Pranayama & Meditation for Apan Vayu Mudra

Unfortunately, many of us aren’t taught how to breathe properly. We’re taught to constantly suck in our bellies and we carry loads of tension in our back and shoulders — our breath potential is wildly limited. Our breath is one of the most powerful tools we can use to regulate our nervous system.

Dirga Swasam, Three-Part Belly Breath

We’ll start with a yoga breathing technique called Dirga Swasam. It’s essentially a full belly breath. To practice Dirga Swasam, bring one hand to your belly and one hand to your heart. Inhale and send your breath down to your belly. Your belly expands, then your rib cage expands, and finally, your collarbones lift. As you exhale, it’s the reverse: collarbones drop, chest softens and the belly draws toward the spine. Balance the length of your inhales and exhales. You might find it helpful to count your breath, usually, a four-count breath is a good place to start. Breathe like this for 3-5 minutes or until you feel calm.

Square Breath

Now let’s move on to Square Breath. This is one of my favorite breathing techniques. I find it incredibly grounding. However, if you felt like Dirga Swasam was challenging or holding your breath causes you anxiety I encourage you to stick with the Dirga Swasam practice a bit longer. For square breath, all parts of the breath are the same length. I like to use a four-count. One round of breath goes like this: inhale for a four-count, pause at the top for a four-count, exhale for a four-count, and pause at the bottom for a four-count. You might find it helpful to envision a square. If you lose track, don’t worry about it. Simply begin again.

Feel free to stay with the breath practices above or add on a mantra. When I’m nervous and anxious I find that my meditation needs to be easy. If it’s not easy I get stuck thinking about whether I’m doing it right! So the mantra I like to use is “I am”. Inhale “I”. Exhale “am”. The Sanskrit version is “So hum”. Inhale “so”. Exhale “hum”. I like to use the Sanskrit version because I can hear the sound in my breath, but choose the version that works for you. Recite the mantra quietly and internally to yourself for 5-10 minutes.

Kalesvara Mudra for Anxiety

kalesvara mudra for anxiety

I have an affinity for mudras that bring awareness to our heart center, our essence, and Kalesvara is no different. The gentle pressure of thumbs against the sternum, even if I’m overcome with grief or stress of frustration this mudra helps anchor me back into this essence. This mudra not only brings our awareness to our heart, the home of the divine, it also creates the shape of a heart and a temple. How perfect is that?

Benefits of Kalesvara Mudra

  • Calms the mind
  • It has a cooling effect that can reduce agitation
  • Helps create space between our thoughts, so we can respond vs. react
  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Can assist with addiction recovery
  • Can assist the process of habit change/evolution
  • Quiets the constant bombardment of thoughts and brings them under our control
  • Can help calm our emotions

How to Practice Kalesvara Mudra

  1. In a comfortable seat bring your hands in front of your heart. 
  2. Bring the pads of your middle fingers to touch and the thumbs to touch.
  3. Fold your little finger, ring finger, and index finger in so the second knuckles touch. You’ll see a heart form.
  4. With the middle fingers extended you will see the shape of a temple.
  5. Gently bring your thumbs to your sternum.
  6. Hold the mudra for 10-20 minutes each day. This can be broken into a couple of smaller practices. Sunrise and sunset are potent times for mudra and meditation.

A Heart Meditation for Kalesvara Mudra

In a comfortable seat, bring your hands into Kalesvara Mudra. Thumbs to the sternum.

Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your heart center. Take a moment to connect with the sacred rhythm of your breath and your heartbeat. 

Now envision a tiny flame within your heart center. This flame represents your highest self, the divine within, and your true essence at your core. It is good; it is beautiful; it is love; it has your best interests at heart.

With each cycle of breath invite the flame to grow. Each breath fans the flame of your essence. Golden, white light emanating from your heart center, your temple. The white light expands and fills every cell within your body with divine essence. As this knowledge and wisdom settle in, realize that you are good. You are beautiful; you are enough; you are love, you are loved, you are divine. Allow this wisdom to wash over your body and bring you peace.

Chinmaya Mudra for Anxiety

chinmaya mudra for anxiety

Chinmaya mudra is the gesture of awareness. It is translated as supreme wisdom or awareness and is a tool to tap us into the ancient wisdom of the divine. I like to practice Chinmaya mudra when I know that I am ruminating on something… maybe I made a mistake or I’m not sure how to go forward and I am consumed by it. 

I’m typically a “good” sleeper and fall asleep with ease, but occasionally I am struck with anxiety-induced restlessness and insomnia, and usually, it’s because my mind is fixated on something. Chinmaya mudra can help anchor awareness into the present moment, the breath and the physical body, and unburden our mind and heart by helping us process our life experiences with ease.

Much like Apan Vayu mudra and Vajrapradama Mudra, Chinmaya Mudra helps bring awareness to our inner innate wisdom, the wisdom of the heart and it teaches us to trust this wisdom. 

Benefits of Chinmaya Mudra

  • Helps lengthen the breath and promotes the function of the breath
  • Improves the flow of prana
  • Helps sleeplessness/insomnia
  • Creates a sense of rootedness and support
  • Promotes trust in our inner wisdom and intuition
  • Lessens rumination
  • Helps release lethargy/stuckness/weight gain

How to Practice Chinmaya Mudra for Anxiety

  1. Bring the thumb and index fingers to touch like you would practicing chin mudra.
  2. Then curl the middle, ring, and little fingers into your palm.
  3. Whether you practice seated or lying down, you can practice with palms up or down. I find turning the palms down provides a more grounding experience.

Chinmaya Mudra Meditation

Find a comfortable posture… this could be seated or lying down, just make sure that it is not distracting. Bring your hands into Chinmaya Mudra and close your eyes. Take a moment to center. If you’re struggling to center, bring your awareness to your breath and lengthen out your exhale breaths. Notice the physical sensations as your breath flows into your nostrils, through the nasal passages, down the back of the throat into your lungs, and then follow this breath as it exits your body. Follow your breath until you feel centered. When you feel centered you can repeat the following mantra, “I trust my intuition. My higher self and my intuition work together for my highest good. My intuition teaches and guides me as I move through life’s challenges.”

I have one other mudra that I practice for anxiety and that is Vajrapradama Mudra. It’s a mudra for unshakeable trust and courage and it helps me move through those moments of feeling insecure or incapable. I’ve already gone over Vajrapradama mudra here on the blog, so I’ll just link it here.

I hope that you find these mudras for anxiety helpful. I encourage you to choose one that resonates with you and stick with it for a bit. Please feel free to reach out with questions or join me on a retreat to learn more.

Love and Light,