Anjali Mudra: The Complete Guide

Yoga students sitting with their hands in anjali mudra.
Yoga students sitting with their hands in anjali mudra
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Do you want to learn about a commonly used mudra called anjali mudra? This is a great mudra that can help you improve your concentration and focus. It is also known to help relieve stress and tension. In this blog post, I will discuss the benefits of practicing anjali mudra, as well as how to perform the pose correctly. I will also provide a step-by-step guide so that you can try it out for yourself!

What does Anjali Mudra represent?

Anjali Mudra, known as atmanjali mudra, namaste gesture or namaste mudra, is a common hand gesture in yoga. The placement of the hands at the heart center (heart chakra) symbolizes offering up one’s innermost self to the divine. It can also represent gratitude, humility, and receptiveness to guidance and wisdom.

Anjali is a Sanskrit word that means “divine offering”.

Bringing the hands in the anjali mudra hand gesture helps connect the left and right hemispheres and may also express the union of any type of duality, such as left and right, male and female. It can be a reminder that opposites exist in all of us and that our yoga practice can be a way to bring balance to our lives.

By consciously placing one’s attention on the heart and offering love and gratitude whilst using sacred hand gestures, we open ourselves up to receiving grace and blessings from the universe.

What are the benefits of Anjali Mudra?

One of the many benefits of anjali mudra is emotional balance. When you bring your hands together in front of your heart, you are physically closing off the energy in your chest and encouraging emotional stability. It can also improve concentration and focus by quietly drawing attention inward.

The prayer Position symbolizes unity. You are connecting the right and left hemispheres of your brain and are bringing all things into balance. You become Centered.

Additionally, Anjali Mudra activates the muscles of the arms, shoulders, neck, and upper back to release tension and improve posture.

As an added bonus, practicing this mudra regularly can help maintain joint health in the hands and wrists.

Prenatal yoga students sitting with their hands in anjali mudra

How to do Anjali Mudra

To perform anjali mudra, bring your palms together in front of the chest (heart chakra) in a comfortable sitting position. Make sure your fingers point upward, gently touch your sternum and keep your chin slightly tucked. With your chest open soften your gaze and take a few deep breaths, feeling the energy flow from one hand to the other.

This mudra helps us cultivate gratitude and connection with ourselves and those around us. It can also be used during meditation or throughout the day as a reminder to pause and come back to the present moment.

In a Yoga Journal article titled Memories of a Master, Krishnamacharya, the father of modern yoga, gave this beautiful explanation of how to perform anjali mudra:

“In Anjali Mudra, the palms are not flat against each other; the knuckles at the base of the fingers are bent a little, creating a space between the palms and fingers of the two hands. When done properly, the shape of the Anjali Mudra resembles a flower bud that is yet to open, symbolizing the opening of our heart. This signifies the potential for and intention to progress toward greater spiritual awakening.”

Hand Positions When Performing Anjali Mudra

The Anjali Mudra is a gesture of reverence and honor. In yoga, it is practiced regularly at the beginning and end of a practice as a way to set intentions and give thanks. The hands come to touch at the heart center, symbolizing the joining of the individual self with the universal self.

However, there are many variations of this mudra that can bring additional meaning to your practice.

Hands high above your head

Performing anjali mudra with the hands high above the head is a kundalini mudra (known as kailash mudra). Here, the tips of the thumbs and index fingers touch while extending all other fingers straight up toward the sky. This mudra represents the awakening of cosmic energy within us.

Hands right above our head

Another variation of anjali mudra is having the hands just above the head. This mudra is said bridge the energies within your body and outside and can symbolize enlightenment.

Hands in front of your forehead

Anjali mudra with hands in front of your forehead, which is the location of the third eye chakra (ajna chakra).

Bringing the anjali mudra in your third eye brings your attention to your intuition.

Hands at the center of your chest

Anjali mudra with hands to the center of the chest is perhaps the most commonly used method for practicing this mudra, which is also known as hrdayanjali mudra with the hand position in front of the heart.

The center of the chest symbolised the heart chakra (anahata chakra), and so anjali mudra in this position is considered to represent emotion.

The most commonly used yoga postures we use anjali mudra in is at the start and end of the yoga class when chanting namaste, and when practicing tree pose.

Behind your back (Reverse Anjali mudra)

Reverse anjali mudra is practiced in Ashtanga yoga. More specifically it is practiced in Parvottanasana, one of the standing postures. One key benefit of this variation of anjali mudra is that it can help to open up the chest.

Bringing prayer hands behind your back can be challenging for most beginners. And so one variation is to hold opposite elbows and encourage the chest to open. This can help keep your chest open and may help keep your shoulder blades from protruding.

The History Behind the Anjali Mudra

In ancient India, anjali mudra symbolized paying respects to a deity or teacher. It was also a way to express gratitude and humility before engaging in ritualistic practices. As Buddhism spread throughout Asian cultures, Anjali mudra took on similar meanings of reverence and veneration.

Today, it continues to be used as a physical manifestation of our inner intentions – whether it be offering prayers or simply taking a moment to pause and reflect on the present moment.

When to do Anjali Mudra In a Yoga Class

Anjali mudra is often used at the beginning and end of a yoga practice as a way to pay respect and set intentions. It can also be used during meditation or any time you want to bring focus to the present moment.

There are certain poses that may include anjali mudra in asana practice. For example, it can be used during balancing poses such as eagle pose or chair pose to help find focus and stability.

In standing poses like mountain pose and tree pose, bring the hands together at the heart center to cultivate a feeling of reverence and gratitude.

Other yoga asanas where we practice anjali mudra are:

  • Tadasana (Mountain Pose at the start of sun salutations-surya namaskar)
  • Vrkasana (Tree Pose or any other challenging balancing posture)
  • Malasana (Garland Pose)
  • Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose)
  • Anjaneyasana (Crescent Lunge)
  • Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I with hands high above the head)
Yoga students sitting with their hands in anjali mudra whilst practicing tree pose

What is Anjali in Buddhism?

When practicing Buddhism, anjali refers to the act of putting your palms together in a prayer-like gesture. This symbolic gesture is often used as a sign of humility, respect, and gratitude. In Buddhist rituals, anjali is often performed while bowing before a deity or spiritual figure.

It can also be used during meditation, as a way to bring attention to the present moment and center oneself before beginning the practice.


Give Anjali Mudra a try the next time you are feeling stressed or anxious. This yoga pose is known to help improve concentration and focus, as well as relieve stress and tension.

What does mudra symbolize?

Each mudra represents a different concept or emotion, such as relaxation, prosperity, or clarity. When used correctly, mudras can deepen one’s spiritual practice and bring about feelings of peace and well-being.

Some mudras involve touching specific fingers to each other to activate specific energy pathways in the body. Others involve holding hands up in a certain way to symbolize various deities or Hindu gods.

Therefore, it is important to understand the symbolism behind each mudra before incorporating them into your own practice.

What does each finger represent in mudras?

Each finger typically represents a different element or principle. The thumb represents fire or spirit, the index finger represents air or consciousness, the middle finger represents space or wisdom, the ring finger represents water or pleasure, and the pinky represents earth or material reality. 

By bringing these elements together through mudras, practitioners aim to create balance and harmonize their physical and energetic bodies. Additionally, mudras can be used as visual aids in storytelling and artistic performances.

What do mudras mean spiritually?

Spiritually, each mudra represents a different aspect of the self, with some focusing on energy pathways or chakras and others representing specific deities or principles. By using mudras during meditation, we can align ourselves with these spiritual concepts and deepen our practice. 

They can also be used throughout the day as reminders of the energetic principles we are trying to embody.

What is the spiritual meaning of Namaste?

The word Namaste translates to “the divine light in me honors the divine light in you.” This recognition of the divine within each individual is at the heart of the spiritual principles behind Namaste. At its essence, Namaste acknowledges our interconnectedness and inherent divinity.

By using this greeting, we honor not only the person in front of us, but also their unique path and journey. The true spirit of Namaste can also extend beyond words to encompass compassionate actions and thoughts toward others.

Which mudra is for happiness?

One popular mudra for achieving happiness is the Gyan Mudra. This mudra involves touching the index finger to the thumb, leaving the other three fingers extended. Practicing this mudra helps to increase the flow of energy in the meridian associated with knowledge and wisdom.

Another mudra known for increasing feelings of joy and contentment is the Shunya Mudra. This mudra involves touching your thumb to your middle finger, with the remaining fingers extended.

Why are mudras so powerful?

Mudras are powerful because our body and mind are interconnected, and certain movements can activate specific energy centers within us. This is the basis of mudras that are commonly used in yoga. Each mudra has a specific purpose, such as promoting relaxation or increasing concentration.

What makes mudras so powerful is that they activate both our physical and energetic bodies. By physically moving our hands in certain ways, we also direct the flow of energy within us, balancing and harmonizing the mind, body, and spirit.

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