Añjali Mudra or Pranamasana is a hand gesture which is practiced throughout Asia. It is used as a sign of respect and a greeting in India and amongst yoga practitioners and adherents of similar traditions. The gesture is incorporated into many yoga asanas.
Etymology and pronunciation
Anjali is Sanskrit for "offering", "a gesture of reverence", "benediction", "salutation", and is derived from anj, meaning "to honour or celebrate".
Mudra means "seal" or "sign". The meaning of the phase is thus "salutation seal".
It is pronounced Un-j'lee Mu-drah.
The gesture is also known as hrdayanjali mudra meaning "reverence to the heart seal" (from hrd, meaning "heart) and atmanjali mudra meaning "reverence to the self seal" (from atman, meaning "self").
Anatomy of the pose
Anjali mudra is performed by pressing the palms of the hands together. The fingers are together with fingertips pointing up. The hands are pressed together firmly and evenly.
In the most common form of anjali mudra, the hands are held at the Anahata (heart chakra) with thumbs resting lightly against the sternum. The gesture may also be performed at the Ajna (brow chakra) with thumb tips resting against the "third eye" or at the Sahasrara (crown chakra) (above the head). In some yoga postures, the hands are placed in anjali mudra position to one side of the body or behind the back.
Anjali mudra is normally accompanied by a slight bowing of the head.
Anjali mudra has the same meaning as the Sanskrit greeting Namaste and can be performed while saying Namaste or Pranam, or in place of vocalizing the word.
The gesture is used for both greetings and farewells, but carries a deeper significance than a simple "hello" or "goodbye". The joining together of the palms is said to provide connection between the right and left hemispheres of the brain and represents unification or "yoking". This yoking is symbolic of the practitioner's connection with the divine in all things. Hence, performing anjali mudra is an honouring of both the self and the other as the gesture acknowledges the divinity of both practitioner and recipient.
Anjali mudra is performed as part of a physical yoga practice with an aim to achieving several benefits. It is a centering pose which helps to alleviate mental stress and anxiety and is therefore used to assist the practitioner in achieving focus and coming into a meditative state.
The physical execution of the pose helps to promote flexibility in the hands, wrists, fingers and arms.
- More information is available at [ Wikipedia:Anjali_Mudra ]
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