I became a yoga instructor to bring awareness to the holistic benefits of yoga because yoga is more than a series of physical exercises (asanas).
But did you know that practice of yoga also consists of an ancient mudra science? Mudras are hand postures that connect certain energy flows to the mind and body system. In yoga, these symbolic hand gestures are known as a “seal.”
In this article, we’re diving into Prithvi Mudra, one of the most recognized mudras.
Yoga mudras promote healing within the body. The fingers create different shapes to guide the flow of life and energy.
The five fingers represent five elements. The thumb (fire element), index finger (air element), middle (sky element), ring finger represents (earth element), and pinky finger (water element).
Performing different mudras can help bring back elemental balance to the body.
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What is Prithvi Mudra
Prithvi is a Sanskrit term. It means “the vast one.” In yoga, this sacred mudra is used to promote spiritual balance.
In Ayurveda, this term is connected to the earth element. Therefore, this yogic mudra is known as the Earth Mudra. It is used to bring balance to the earth element that resides in our body tissues, skin, hair, and bones.
The sacred hand gesture has been depicted in Buddhist, Hindu, and Christian works of art for centuries. For example, Jesus Christ has been painted many times holding this gesture with his right hand. His thumb and ring finger are joined together as a sign of “Benediction or Blessing.”
Mudras are an age-old practice used for the betterment of the physical and spiritual body. Hand mudras have been used throughout history in yogic traditions and many cultures.
The physical form of this mudra can be easily recognized. The tip of the ring finger joins the tip of the thumb in each hand. The other fingers remain extended straight. This helps cultivate a sense of grounding, self-confidence, and balance in the body. For example, if your fire element is overpowering, practicing mudras can help. Let’s explore some more benefits below.
How to pronounce Prithvi Mudra
The phonetic spelling for the correct pronunciation is as follows: [p r ih th – v ee] [muh druh]
Sanskrit is a scientific and logical language. There is a common misconception that Sanskrit is difficult. However, with interest and time, it can be quite easy to learn.
Take a listen to this audio on how to pronounce the Sanskrit word.
What this yogi hand gesture does
The practice of this yogic mudra stimulates the Root Chakra (Muladhara). This chakra governs your sense of stability and security.
The practice of Prithvi Mudra is a powerful one. When practiced consistently, it is capable of healing many ailments. Some include chronic fatigue, weight loss, bone or muscle disease, and nail, hair, or skin issues.
In Ayurveda, it is believed that the physical body is made up of five elements. They include the earth element, air element, fire element, water element, and the sky element.
When there is an imbalance in any of these elements, it is noted to cause illness and disease in the body. Treatment of ailments focuses on bringing the element back into balance and alignment.
When the Earth Element is balanced and aligned, you are mentally and physically strong. You cultivate a sense of confidence and rootedness.
There are also many positive effects on the cognitive brain. This hand mudra helps to improve your concentration and keep your mind stable.
This Earth mudra also helps prana to flow better through the spine and body. Prana is your breath and the source of life energy. When your breath flows better through your spine, the body feels more energetic.
How to do this hand mudra
Performing Prithvi Mudra is simple. You’ve probably even seen yogis practicing it before. As a 200-hour certified yoga teacher, I am going to break down how to position your ring finger and thumb.
How to practice Prithvi Mudra:
- Begin by settling into a comfortable seat on the floor. I suggest sitting in Sukhasana. It is an easy cross-legged seat. Sitting on the floor can help you feel more connected to the grounding energy cultivated in your root chakra.
- Gently place your hands on top of your thighs or knees with your palms facing up. Extend the crown of your head upward to ensure a straight spine.
- Bring the tip of your index finger and the tip of your thumb to touch in both the hands. Gently apply pressure.
- Keep the remaining fingers relaxed and extended out straight.
- Gently close your eyes. Bring your attention to the sensation of your fingertips.
- Direct your awareness to your breath. Fill up your lungs with air (Prana) and exhale. Continue to take deep breaths slowly and gently.
- Begin to witness the grounding energy.
During your practice, do not press too hard on your fingertips. This is a common mistake that causes difficulty in concentrating.
When and how to use the mudra
The best time to perform Prithvi Mudra is in the morning. Your mind is at its most alert state during the morning time. For optimal results, and to get the best benefits, practice between 4 am and 6 am.
It is recommended that you practice for 30 to 45 minutes per day. However, you can practice as many times as you wish. This is a simple, yet effective mudra that can even be practiced sitting in a chair.
Mudras are traditionally practiced in an Easy-Seated Pose (Sukhasana). However, it can also be performed in Lotus Pose (Padmasana). I like to incorporate the mudra into Mountain Pose (Tadasana).
I firmly plant my feet into the Earth and stand tall. With my arms extended by my side, I face my palms forward. Then, I bring the tip of my ring finger to join the tip of my thumb in each hand.
The meditation practice can be combined with any breathing technique (pranayama exercise). Incorporate the Three-Part Breath (Dirga Swasam Pranayama) to increase its effects.
First, fill up your lungs with air, then expand into your lower belly, ribcage, and upper chest. Then as you exhale, slowly feel your upper chest, ribcage, and lower belly soften.
How long to practice Prithvi Mudra
This simple mudra is easily accessible to beginners. Start with five to ten minutes per day. Gradually build your practice to at least 20 minutes for optimal benefits.
This is a practice that requires deep focus. Be sure to practice in quiet areas for minimal disruptions.
It is always important to listen to your body. Create healthy habits to adjust and adapt your practice to your ability and comfort. Stop immediately if you experience stress or pain at any time during your mudra practice.
Practitioners with shoulder, arm, or hand injuries should be mindful of their limitations and maybe even avoid this mudra altogether. Pregnant women or women who are lactating should take precautions. It is encouraged that you practice under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher.
Spiritual benefits of Prithvi Mudra
This is a powerful practice that benefits the body in many ways, including stimulating healing ailments, stimulating the Muladhara Chakra, and spiritual development.
4 spiritual benefits of Prithvi Mudra:
- Prana- Life energy flows easily from the base of the spine and throughout your body. Your nerves are stimulated and balance is cultivated. The energy level within your body increases.
- Power- When your body is energized, your endurance improves. With an increase in endurance, you have the power to effectively think. You cultivate the power to think right, do the right things, and speak the right things into the universe.
- Grounding- The Muladhara Chakra is located at the base of the spine. This chakra governs our ability to feel grounded, confident, secure, safe, flexible, and humble. When this chakra is stimulated, it encourages you to be grounded and to accept yourself as you are.
- Spiritual Development- The yogic mudra promotes healing and brings balance into your body. When the body is free from aches and pains, it becomes easier to maintain a consistent meditation practice. You will feel more relaxed and energized to practice for longer durations. A longer practice can teach you to draw inward. A deep meditation can lead you to spiritual experiences.
Takeaway on Prithvi Mudra
The Prithvi Mudra is an easy and accessible hand gesture with a profound impact on your health and helps awaken the Earth Element in your body.
Some benefits include improved stamina and concentration, boosted growth of tissue, and hair regrowth. The spiritual development from a regular practice increases your vitality.
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