Anjali Mudra

Mudras can be loosely described as positions which we adopt to bring about a certain subtle result. Anjali mudra is a gesture of peace and respect. It is performed simply by bringing the palms together at the heart.

This mudra is found in the practice of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism and usually represents devotion to the Higher Power with obedience, sincerity, repentance and respect.

On a physical level the left and right sides of the brain and body are united with this mudra. Nerve receptors from the hands and fingers make up a large area of the brain’s cerebral cortex. Your right hand activates the left side of the brain which is said to be the more analytical hemisphere, and your left hand stimulates the right side which is said to be the creative intuitive side of your brain. Therefore, when you touch your hands together both sides of the brain are stimulated simultaneously, which is said to integrate the brain to function as a whole and enhance our concentration and assimilation.

In our yoga classes we often embrace this mudra at the beginning of a class as a humble greeting. It is also a way of centering our mind and body so that we can step away from all the busy-ness of what has gone by and what is to come. At the end of a class, it becomes a way of saying goodbye along with the word namaste, in fact this mudra is sometimes called the namaste mudra. It is a very nice way to signify our respect for each other and the Supreme Soul who resides within each of our hearts.  

Anjali mudra is often adopted in Mountain Pose and at the beginning of Sun Salutations but it may also be of assistance  in standing balancing poses like Tree Pose, Chair Pose and Yogi Squats. When used in variations of Anjaneyasana and Warrior Poses this mudra can add to the grounding calming effect of these poses.

Anjali mudra can be taken a step further from this as is wonderfully described by Sri Krishnamacarya:

“This gesture signifies the potential for an intention to progress to greatest spiritual awakening. When done properly the palms are not flat against each other; the knuckles at the base of the fingers are bent a little, creating space between the palms and fingers of the two hands resembling a flower yet to open, symbolizing the opening of our hearts.”

In a yoga pose this mudra may gently remind us of the spiritual purpose of our life. The cleansing of the heart and mind and saturating ourselves with spiritual love and compassion.


By Vrndavan Dasi
Founder and Principal of Veda Yoga Teacher Training