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 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
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.
Let’s dive right in. Mudras are an amazing tool to harmonize your chakras and awaken to your full potential. Mudras are an ancient practice of hand positions that harness our prana and amplify our intentions. These mudras are easy to practice in meditation, in your asana practice, or even when you’re bumming around town. We can use mudras to direct our energy and focus and to awaken and align our chakras with our truth and the Divine within. In this post, I’ll be focusing on mudras for Svadisthana Chakra, also known as our sacral chakra.
If you’ve accidentally stumbled upon this blog post and you aren’t sure what the chakras are, I would encourage you to hit the pause button on this post and check out one of the following blog posts. These articles will give you a good foundation and introduction to the chakras.
Recently, I’ve been feeling called to share the following three mudras for Svadisthana Chakra. I know that someone out there needs them, maybe it’s you, maybe it’s one of your students or family members.
A Brief Introduction to Svadisthana, Our Sacral Chakra
Briefly, Svadisthana is our second chakra and it’s commonly known as the Sacral Chakra because it resides in the region of our pelvis at the sacrum. As an energy center, it influences our reproductive organs, kidneys and bladder. The sacral chakra also governs the following characteristics of our personality and development:
Creation, generation, growth
Sensuality, sexuality, pleasure and desire/passion
Our ability to let go and go with the flow
Getting in touch with the second chakra helps us cultivate the above characteristics in a healthy and balanced manner. A balanced second chakra brings health to our reproductive organs, awakens the Divine Feminine within, ignites the inner spark of creativity and passion, and syncs us with the rhythms of nature and the cycles of the moon.
Three mudras for Svadisthana Chakra
Yoni Mudra for the Second Chakra “Gesture of the Womb or Source”
Yoni mudra connects us to the goddess energy of the Dark Mother. The Dark Mother, in her various forms, has been worshipped and honored across cultures for thousands of years. This mudra connects us to the womb of creation and it’s primordial wisdom. Yoni mudra helps us ground when we feel anxious or when we feel like we’re spinning out of control.
Yoni Mudra is also tied to the Goddess Kali in Hinduism. Kali is one of the warrior goddesses. Briefly, she is the goddess of time, creation and destruction, and transformation. She is the goddess to call on when you have a battle to fight, whether it is internal or external. Kali is also called on when we’re ready to make big changes in our lives, when we’re ready to release what no longer serves us, and when we’re ready to step into our power, unapologetically.
How to practice Yoni Mudra
Bring the tips of your index fingers to touch. Next, form a diamond shape by also bringing the tips of your thumbs to touch. Then interlace the middle fingers, ring fingers and pinky fingers. Bring your hands in front of your pelvis, svadisthana chakra, and point your index fingers down toward the earth. Sit quietly and take a moment to witness your breath. Experience your breath in your lower abdomen, your womb and your pelvis. Become aware of the ancient womb wisdom that resides within. This wisdom is passed down from generation to generation.
Although this mudra is typically practiced by women, men will benefit from its practice too and can benefit from tapping into the energy of the divine feminine and the wisdom of all mothers.
Shakti Mudra for Svadisthana Chakra “Gesture of the Divine Feminine” also known as the “Gesture of Power”
Shakti Mudra, much like other Svadisthana Chakra practices, brings awareness and wellbeing to the region of the pelvis and lower back by directing prana known as life-force energy. When Swadisthana chakra is balanced we know our self-worth and we feel creative in both artistic endeavors and in problem solving. We are adaptable, empowered, and trust our inner wisdom. Shakti Mudra helps us access our innate power and strength and connects us to the energy of the Hindu goddess Durga.
This mudra is thought to assist the flow of apana, the down and outward flowing energy of the abdomen and pelvis. It helps in the processes of digestion and elimination and it helps relieve menstrual discomfort.
One of the major benefits of Shakti Mudra is its ability to calm the body and mind. Shakti Mudra helps relieve stress and anxiety and promotes a good night’s sleep. For better sleep, practice shakti mudra before bed and combine it with a gentle pranayama that lengthens your exhale breath.
How to Practice Shakti Mudra
Bring your hands in front of your heart space. Tuck your thumbs into the palm of your hands, fold your index finger, and middle finger over the top of your thumbs. Then bring the tips of your ring fingers and the tips of your little fingers to touch. The fingernails of your middle finger and ring finger will be touching the respective fingernail on the opposite hand. The base of your palms may or may not be touching. Hold the mudra in front of your heart space. If your arms become tired you can release your hands down toward your abdomen or pelvis.
Hold for up to 30 minutes or the duration of your meditation practice. If 30 minutes feels too long and you end up feeling lethargic, try shortening your practice down to 12 minutes and practice one to three 12 minute sessions per day.
Ksepana Mudra for Swadisthana Chakra “Gesture of Surrender”
Ksepana Mudra is one of my all time favorite mudras, simply because the effect is palpable and immediate. This mudra helps install the water element in the second chakra and helps us release negativity, stress, and tension. As I’m sure you have experienced, it is hard to be creative when we’re feeling stuck or stressed and this mudra gets things moving and flowing. Hop over to this blog post if you would like to learn more about Ksepana Mudra.
How to Practice Ksepana Mudra
To begin, bring the palms of your hands to touch, interlace your fingers, and then release your index fingers. Next, bring your hands to rest in front of your pelvis and turn your index fingers to point downward. If you are drawn to moving meditations or visualization practices, check out this Ksepana Mudra practice shared in this post.
As you continue on your journey of self-exploration, I hope that you find these mudras for Svadisthana Chakra helpful. Deepen and expand your practice by joining an upcoming yoga retreat. As always, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
I haven’t been writing much recently. Primarily because I’ve been weighed down by the collective pain and sadness of living in this time of Covid, systemic racism and injustice, and a struggling economy. I’ve simply grown weary. My natural reaction is to run away, to hide, to escape, but I’m making the conscious decision to sit with the pain, the trauma and the fear.
As I sit, I am reminded by the words of a fellow yoga teacher, wise beyond her years, to “love for love’s sake.” And so today, I sit, I use my tools, and I choose to love for love’s sake. Here I will share one of my favorite mudras, the shape of it is stunning, but even more importantly, it is a mudra for a fearless heart and a mudra for love in all its forms.
If you’re just beginning a mudra practice, make sure to check out all the mudras on my website (there are tons). The Chopra website also has a great roundup of beginner mudras.
What Does Abhaya Hridaya Mudra Mean?
Abhaya: without fear
Hridaya: spiritual heart
If you look at the roots of hridaya, the meaning goes even deeper. Hri “to give”, da “to take”, ya “balance” and can be translated as “that which gives and takes in perfect balance”. A perfect balance of giving and receiving, of mutual balance, respect, and reciprocity. Have we forgotten how to love through the uncomfortable and the ugly. Let’s relearn love and put love into action.
How to Practice Abhaya Hridaya, A Mudra for Love
With your wrists crossed, bring the backs of your hands to touch in front of your heart space. Interlace your pinky, ring and middle fingers. Then bring the tips of your index finger and thumb to touch and create a circle shape.
Benefits of Abhaya Hridaya Mudra
This mudra helps work with the third and fourth chakras, Manipura and Anahata, respectively. The list of benefits of this mudra goes on and on. It helps us
love fearlessly through the uncomfortable and messy
cultivate the courage to stand up for what is right
heal from past trauma and balance strong emotions, so we can see clearly
embrace our inner truth
bring clarity to our values
invite love into all parts of our being
see the unity and interconnection of all beings
A Meditation to Practice With This Mudra For Love
I would like to share a meditation based on a meditation practice from my book, The Little Book of Mudra Meditations. I simply call it the Fearless Love Meditation. It is loosely based on Metta meditation or loving-kindness meditation.
To begin, find a comfortable space to sit quietly. Make sure that it is a space you feel safe and supported in, whether that’s your patio, your bedroom, or perhaps your bathroom. I like to practice this meditation in an upright seat, but feel free to practice it lying down or in any other posture that feels nurturing (and non-distracting).
Once you find your meditation posture, soften your gaze or close down your eyes and take a few cleansing, clearing breaths by breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. With each exhale breath, see if you can let go of any worry or stress from your day.
Bring your hands into Abhaya Hridaya Mudra. If at any point your shoulders, arms or hands feel fatigued, release the mudra and come back into it when you feel ready.
Opening to love
Now, “imagine someone who radiates love, who loves you unconditionally, sitting right in front of you. This person could be a parent, friend, child, pet, teacher, or guru” or god/deity. “Now imagine a bright white light flowing from their heart to your heart. This radiant light fills your heart with unconditional love. Your heart is filled with love that knows no bounds. Release any resistance to receiving this love. You are worthy of love.”
“Feel a weight lifted off your shoulders.” Feel unconditional love pour into every cell of your being. Feel tension release from your face — your brows, your jaw, your tongue. Now bring your awareness to the luminous cavern of your heart space and feel your heart soften as it is bathed in luminous, radiant love.
We cannot pour from an empty cup, fearless love begins with loving yourself first and the inner knowing that you are worthy of love, so again release any resistance you may be holding on to.
Abundant love for all
With your eyes still closed, hold the vision of another in front of you, this person again could be a loved one, a person who challenges you, a group of people, there is no limit. Hold their image steady in your awareness.
Now see the luminous light of fearless love flowing from your heart space right into theirs. As the cavern of their heart space fills with this radiant white light, witness stress, worry and fear release from their face, their neck, their shoulders. See their shoulders soften as the weight of sorrow, anger, and fear is lifted. Witness the space of their heart soften. Listen quietly as peace fills every fiber of their being. Witness them soften into love.
Hold the images of these light, love-filled beings in your heart space. Practice for as long as you would like. When you’re ready, open your eyes and begin the mindful transition out of your meditation practice.
This post meditative space is fertile ground for journaling and putting love into action.
Hey beautiful yogis! I’m so ridiculously excited to announce that my book The Little Book of Mudra Meditations: 30 hand Gestures for Healing is finally available for presale on Amazon. It still feels surreal to have a book available for sale on Amazon. It’s still sinking in.
This book was written for you. The writing is honest and real, without too much “woo”. It’s meant for anyone seeking more wellness in their life, not just yoga teachers and yogis. That being said, yoga teachers will love having the mudras and meditations already paired… it makes prep time for class, so much faster!
Nowadays I always practice meditation with a hand mudra, I just can’t imagine it any other way. The mudra meditations in this book are actual meditation practices that I practice and teach.
I would love to share an excerpt from the book and one of my favorite mudras with you. Sukham Mudra is so good for stress relief. If you’re like me and juggling multiple projects and trying to maintain a healthy, easeful, joyful life… give this mudra a try!
“In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Patanjali says, “Sthira-sukham asanam,” or “Our seat should be both steady and easeful.” This sutra, however, applies not only to our meditation practice, but also life as a whole. For many of us, we’re overscheduled, overtasked, overstimulated, exhausted, burned out, stressed out, and no longer connected to the cycles and rhythms of nature.
Sukham is all about creating ease, happiness, harmony, flow, and joy. It’s about creating time to slow down and get present with our essence, with our truth.”
Take this mudra outdoors, sit and breathe and be still. With each cycle of breath allow your body to soften and release the tension, stress, and worry of the day.
If you would like to learn more about mudras, you can snag your copy on Amazon now. It’s available for presale! If you bring it on retreat or to a teacher training, I’ll even sign it for you! 😉
Mudra is a term with many meanings. It is used to signify a hand gesture, a mystic position of the hands, a seal, or even a symbol. However, there are eye positions, body postures and breathing techniques that are also called mudras. These symbolic gestures are said to have some influence on your body’s energy or mood. For example, a person who consistently does the gesture of fearlessness, which can often be seen in the depiction of Indian deities, will lose their fearfulness over time. Gertrud Herschi, author of Mudras: Yoga in Your Hands, says, “Mudras engage certain areas of the brain and/or soul and exercise corresponding influence on them.” Essentially, mudras allow you to influence your body and mind by bending, crossing, extending or touching the fingers with other fingers.
In Hatha Yoga, there are 25 mudras. In addition to hand gestures, these also include eye and body positions and bandhas. In Kundalini yoga, the hand mudras are used during the body postures to intensify their effect.
Vajrapradama mudra is a mudra for trust.
The Origin of the Mudras
The specific origin of the mudras is a mystery. Mudras are found and used throughout the entire world. In India, mudras are an established component of all religious activities. Various mudras and arm poses are significant in the depiction of the Hindu gods. Mudras also represent distinguishing characteristics of the deities.
Mudras are also common in Indian dance. The hands, eyes and body movements act out the entire song without words, almost like a sign language.
Mudras are also practiced in Tantric rituals. They play a large role in Buddhism. In the pictorial depictions of Gautama Buddha, six mudras are present. These mudras are closely related to his teachings and his life.
How are Mudras Practiced?
Form your hands and place your fingers as they are shown in the various illustrations. The pressure of the fingers should be very light and your hands should be relaxed. Some mudras may be difficult to do at first because of the placement of the fingers. With practice, they’ll become easier. If you do the mudra as best as possible, you should still experience the effects.
Mudras can be done while seated, lying down, standing or walking. Be sure that your body position is symmetrical and centered and that you are as relaxed as possible. If you sit on a chair while doing them, your back should be straight and your feet should have good contact with the floor. You can also do them lying down on your back. It is important to remain comfortable and relaxed because any tension will hinder the inner flow of energy. If you do them while walking, make sure you move in an even, calm and rhythmic way. You can also do them standing or seated in meditation.
Meditation is the preferred way to use mudras because the effect is accelerated and intensifies. Observing the normal flow of the breath or influencing and directing the breath is a very important way of supporting the mudra. Visualizations and affirmations can also intensify the effect of the mudra.
You can practice mudras at any time and in any place. A good time to practice mudras is a few minutes before getting up and a few minutes before falling asleep, before or after meals, when you walk somewhere, while on public transportation or during breaks at work. Specifically, select one or two mudras to practice at a time.
There is some disagreement among researchers regarding the amount of time you should hold a mudra. Hirschi says, “Mudras that are used for acute complaints — such as respiratory and circulation problems, flatulence, exhaustion, or inner restlessness — should be discontinued when the appropriate effect is achieved. Other mudras can be practices for three to thirty minutes, two to four times a day.”
The effects of the mudra may occur immediately, over several days, weeks or even months. The person performing the mudra may start to feel warm while the sense of pain or unwellness fades away. Their mood might improve. But exactly the opposite might occur first. They might become tired, or start to feel cold and shiver. This is also a positive sign of the effects.
Breathing to Enhance Mudras
The effect of a mudra can be intensified with the breath. They can also be enhanced by affirmations and visualizations. Here are a few tips on how to use breath to enhance mudras:
Exhale vigorously several times at the beginning of the mudra. This is said to make room for what you want to achieve.
Always lengthen the pause after inhaling and after exhaling by several seconds. Hirschi says, “The inner powers are developed during the pauses – on every level.”
When you practice a mudra to calm yourself slow your breathing.
When you practice a mudra to refresh yourself intensify your breathing.
Breath should be slow, deep, rhythmic and flowing
The Power of the Palm
Eastern sages and doctors say that the body, mind, and soul are inherent to every fingertip, finger joint, and each individual finger and even the entire hand.
In Gertrud’s mudra book she says, “There is a direct relationship between the hands and neck since the nerve paths run through the vertebral foramina in the arms, hands, and fingers. The flexibility of the hands always affects the flexibility of the neck. Moreover, spreading the ten fingers creates the thoracic vertebrae to spread out. This increases the tidal volume of the lungs. The hands and/or fingers no longer properly stretch their fingers. This shows tension in the heart area, which often indicates the prelude to heart disease or a tendency toward osteoporosis.”
Ilse Middendorf, a leading expert in the field of respiratory therapy, has proved that a direct relationship between the individual fingers and the corresponding areas of the lungs. The index fingers and thumbs influence breathing in the upper area of the lungs, the middle finger in the middle area and the little finger in the lower lung region.
Also, the nerve paths of the hands and feet occupy a large area in the brain. This area is much bigger than that of the arms and legs.
Ayurveda practitioners believe that every illness is an imbalance in the human body and that healing can take place when the natural balance has been restored. They believe the universe is composed of Ether, Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. Therefore, human bodies are also composed of these five elements. Each finger represents an element. If there is too much or too little of one element, an imbalance occurs. The balance can be restored through mudras. The image below shows which element represents which finger.
The most common classification of the chakras in the fingers is listed below:
Pinky finger = Sacral Chakra
Ring Finger = Root Chakra
Middle Finger = Throat Chakra
Index Finger = Heart Chakra
Thumb = Solar Plexus Chakra
Acupressure is a Chinese healing method used throughout the world. Instead of using needles, like acupuncture, meridians are stimulated with the fingers. In the image below you can see the corresponding points. You simply press the point lightly with the thumb for several minutes to achieve the desired effect.
The hand reflex zones correspond to the foot reflex zones. Both of the images below show the reflex points or surfaces that are connected with the muscles and organs.
There are also places on the palm that corresponds to the meridians, the energy paths that run through the body and control its individual functions like circulation, respiration, digestion, and individual organs. Additionally, astrology and palmistry aspects can be found in the hands.
Different Types of Mudras
There are many different types of mudras including mudras to heal physical and emotional problems, mudras for recharging energy reserves, improving relationships, coming to terms with the past, solving everyday problems, building character, planning the future or connecting with the divine among many others. You can even create your own mudra with proper knowledge and experience.
Here are three examples of mudras:
1. Ganesha Mudra (The elephant, Ganesha, the deity who overcomes all obstacles)
Hold your left hand in front of your chest with the palm facing outward. Bend the fingers. Now grasp the left hand with the right hand, which has its back facing outward. Move the hands to the level of the heart, right in front of the chest. While exhaling, vigorously pull the hands apart without releasing the grip. The will tense the muscles of the upper arms and chest area. While inhaling, let go of all the tension. Repeat six times and then lovingly place both hands on the sternum in this position. Focus on the feeling in this part of your body. Then change the hand position: your right palm now faces outward. Repeat the exercise six times in this position. Afterward, remain in silence for a while.
Ganesha is the remover of obstacles. If you would like to learn more about the Ganesha mudra, hop on over to this blog post I wrote from Bali here.
2. Pran Mudra (Life mudra)
With each hand: place the tips of the thumb, ring finger and little finger together. The other fingers remain extended.
The Pran Mudra activates the root chakra in which the elemental force of a human being is found.
The Pran Mudra generally increases vitality, reduces fatigue and nervousness, and improves vision. It is also used against eye diseases. On the mental-emotion level, it increases our staying power and assertiveness, healthy self-confidence, gives us the courage to start something new, and the strength to see things through.
3. Garuda Mudra (Garuda, mystical bird)
Clasp your thumbs and place your right hand on top of the left hand, on your lower abdomen. Remain in this position for about ten breaths and then slide your hands up to your navel. Stay here for another ten breaths. Then place your hands on the pit of your stomach and remain again for ten breaths. In conclusion, place your left hand on your sternum, turn your hands in the direction of your shoulders and spread your fingers.
This mudra activates blood flow and circulation, invigorates the organs, and balances energy on both sides of the body. Whether in the pelvic or chest area, it invigorates and stimulates. It relaxes and relieves pain related to menstrual complaints, stomach upsets, and respiratory difficulties. It also helps people deal with exhaustion and mood fluctuations.
We have loads of mudras on our blog. Which ones have you experimented with? Let us know in the comments.
Autumn, founder of Ambuja Yoga, often incorporates mudras into her yoga classes and retreats. If you would like to learn more, check out one her upcoming yoga retreats. Mudras are an integral part of the Ambuja Yoga teacher trainings. If you’re ready to take the leap, we’re here for you!
Growing up in the mountainous town of Bend, Oregon Stacey spent her early years exploring unmarked paths, hidden lakes and dirt roads. Her love for storytelling and communication led her to the Journalism school at University of Oregon.
During her time at UO, she found yoga and it was love at first sight. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations she began her career at a marketing agency, where she worked with a variety of clients to develop creative campaigns and increase brand visibility.
Eventually, her love for mountains and dirt roads brought her back to Bend where she found herself in Elearning. She worked as a creative director to develop eLearning courses for thought leaders. Now, she continues to work in both eLearning and marketing as a freelance consultant. And of course, she still loves yoga and continues to strengthen her practice.
Stacey completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Ambuja Yoga and can be found teaching yoga at Snap Fitness in Bend, Oregon.
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