The hands are responsible for many things we do in our daily lives. For example, they help us eat, drink, write, lift our groceries, and use our computers and phones. But did you know that the way you form the fingers of your hands can help you obtain mental clarity? Yes, you read that right. I’m talking about the mrigi mudra.
What is Mrigi Mudra?
Mudras have been known and practiced for thousands of years. These symbolic gestures appear in different traditions and religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. In these traditions, they believe mudras bring healing.
Mrigi mudra comes from the Sanskrit words mrigi, which means deer, and mudra, which means seal. It resembles a deer, thus the name.
Mrigi mudra is known for another name, Vishnu mudra. It is practiced in honor of Lord Vishnu, the lord in Hinduism who balances everything. It is a hasta (hand) mudra, which means you practice it using your hands.
Mrigi mudra or Vishnu mudra is usually practiced during ujjayi pranayama, kapalbhati pranayama and anulom vilom. It is believed to heal headaches and clear clouded thoughts, which helps in achieving mental clarity. Furthermore, it may balance strength and peace of mind to the person practicing it.
Benefits of Mrigi Mudra
Mrigi or Vishnu mudra comes with benefits. While these benefits are not scientifically proven yet, you don’t have anything to lose. So, it’s still good to try practicing the mudra when meditating or practicing pranayama. These benefits are:
Practicing any pranayama with breath retention while doing the mrigi mudra helps in clearing out the nadis. In yoga, nadis are channels that transport prana or life force. When these channels are clear, the prana can flow freely into the body and help open chakras.
In western psychology, you can compare nadis to your left and right brain hemisphere. So, the mrigi mudra can help in balancing the two hemispheres of the brain. Ultimately, it helps in bringing clarity in all areas of your life.
Helps You to Focus More
In my yoga classes, I make students who have trouble focusing on their breath during pranayama use their hands to do a Vishnu mudra. Moving the fingers helps them to focus more on the breath than to focus more on staying still.
Deep breathing is a part of yoga. Mrigi mudra is practiced not as a standalone gesture but together with a breathing exercise. It helps you to focus more on your breath, which reduces stress and relieves anxiety.
It Helps People with Anemia
According to a study, the hemoglobin count in people with anemia increased when they practiced Anulom Viloma (Kapalbhati Pranayama) with mrigi mudra. The practice of this breathing exercise and mudra improves the function of the circulatory system by increasing blood circulation.
Step-by-Step Guide to Doing Mrigi Mudra
Here’s how you can practice the mrigi mudra:
- Sit in your most comfortable seated position. Keep the spine tall and erect with your hands on your thighs.
- Start noticing each part of your body. Then relax the face and the shoulders.
- Start shifting your attention to your breath. Notice how your breath is flowing in and out through the nose.
- Turn your palms to face up and bring the awareness to the right hand. Fold the index and middle fingers.
- Now you are doing the Mrigi or Vishnu mudra.
Note: The mrigi mudra is practiced with pranayama, usually the kapalabhati pranayama or Alternate Nostril Breathing.
Practicing Kapalbhati Pranayama with Mrigi Mudra
- Bring the mrigi mudra close to your face. Cover the right nostril with your thumb and inhale through the left nostril. Hold the breath and uncover the right nostril. Cover the left nostril with the ring finger and exhale through the right nostril.
- Inhale through the right nostril. Hold your breath and uncover the left nostril. Cover the right nostril with your thumb. Exhale through the left nostril.
- Repeat for ten or more rounds.
Note: If you are still a beginner in kapalbhati pranayama, avoid holding your breath for too long. Furthermore, one round always ends with an exhale through the left nostril.
Should I Use My Right Hand?
Not everyone is right-handed. Some people are left-handed. There is a theory why we use the right hand when practicing mudras, such as the mrigi mudra. They believe that the right hand is for giving while the left hand is for receiving. But if you feel more comfortable using your left hand, do so.
Is It Safe?
There is no risk in making a hand gesture such as the mrigi mudra. But because it is practiced with breath alternate nostril breathing, which may include breath retention, you should be cautious if you feel out of breath and dizzy. Stop doing it immediately if you have these symptoms.
You should also stop practicing this breathing exercise if it triggers feelings of agitation or any physical and mental symptoms.
The mrigi mudra is a hand gesture that, along with a breathing exercise, works to help us focus, clear our head, and relieve stress. Practice it and see for yourself the effects of this seal.