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The Anjali Mudra: The Best Mudra Hiding in Plain Sight

The Anjali Mudra is used much in the West, but is seldom recognized.

I thought I would begin the series on mudras with the anjali mudra. This one is actually familiar to many in the West, but not as a mudra. Many people use this mudra for prayer (and it is good for that) but there's much more that you can do with this technique.

The anjali mudra is associated with the term "namaste". You will see or hear this every now and then in spiritual circles, and you'll also see it associated with India. It's used both as a greeting and a parting, as "aloha" is used.

The term namaste doesn't translate well to English. It is a recognition of another person. Specifically, it honors the divine spark in the both of you and how it connects you. It is recognizing and respecting the divine heritage of the person you are addressing.

The anjali mudra is the nonverbal form of namaste. Often, they are combined into one with a small bow.

Day-to-Day Benefits

This is an excellent mudra to use to de-stress. It's vey calming and centering. If you can get a few moments to use it, you'll find renewed focus and less stress.

I find when I take the time and use this mudra, I feel a subtle sense of bliss wash over me. That smile in the picture isn't faked. I genuinely feel good. I'll sometimes use this when I chant Aums, although for that I'll often use the mandala mudra instead.

For those of you who use this mudra for prayer, don't think I've forgotten about you either. This mudra is typically done in two ways: With the thumbs touching the center of the chest, or with the thumbs touching the "third eye" center. These represent the heart and the mind. The two produce noticeably different effects. Try out using anjali mudra at your third eye. If that feels good, try it out next time you pray.

Consider this little footnote: Kids who pray at the side of the bed often go into this position by accident as they let their heads droop. Completely unintentional, but with added benefits!

Anjali Mudra and Energy Healing

One thing that I did reflexively when I started learning Reiki is that I would go into Anjali mudra before giving Reiki. It put my mind and spirit in the right zone. I could feel the Reiki energy dancing in my palms after even just a few seconds.

For this, I'll typically put my hands at the heart center instead of the third eye. You probably could use the third eye, but Reiki feels more "heart" to me and it also associates (for me) with the chest-center intelligence. Putting my hands at my third eye might sharpen my senses, but I think it might put me "in my head" too much. In the words of one of my favorite Jedi, Qui-gon Jinn: "Remember, concentrate on the moment. Feel, don't think. Use your instincts."

The real irony of the anjali mudra is that it may be the most heavily overlooked here in the West simply because it is so common. When you spend some time with it, you may find it's a better friend than you imagine.

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