Apana (reffering to Apana Vayu) + mudra (gesture)
Apana mudra is one of the hasta mudras developed to direct the energy in the body and balance the elements.
This gesture in particular is connected with the Apana Vayu channel, which is responsible for the downward flow of energy, detoxification, and elimination. For this reason, this hand gesture is also known as Purification Mudra.
Apana Vayu regulates the abdominal and pelvic areas, and besides digestion, it also governs the reproductive system, in both men and women.
Being able to eliminate toxins physically is also linked to mental detoxification in yoga, and it is believed strong digestion also aids in clearing thoughts.
Ayurvedic Element – Earth, Ether, and Fire
In this mudra we are connecting the middle finger which is connected to space or ether, the ring finger which relates to earth, and the thumb which governs the fire energy.
It is used to balance the earth and space elements by connecting them with fire. Just like the Apana Vayu, this action also encourages a downward flow of energy. That can aid with all issues in the region of the lower abdomen and pelvis, including constipation, menstrual issues, diarrhea, and impotence.
The balancing of the space element in particular is believed to aid with ailments related to the heart, lungs, throat, and ears. A harmonized earth element helps overcome nutrient deficiencies.
Chakras- Root Chakra
Apana Mudra is connected to the Root Chakra and is used in Kundalini Yoga to activate the Kundalini energy, which “sleeps” in this energy channel.
Stimulating the Root Chakra will also make you feel more grounded, stable, and secure.
Meridians- Small Intestine, Bladder, Large Intestine
As the mudra governs the downward flow of energy, it is also related to the meridians of the lower abdomen and the pelvic floor, including the Small intestine, Bladder, and Large Intestine meridians.Balancing these meridians aids in elimination and detoxification, but also helps in purging negative emotions such as fear, frustration, uncertainty, anxiety, and worry.
Stimulating these meridians may also aid with incontinence, menstruation, and erectile dysfunctions just like the Apana Vayu channel, and will boost energy, making the student feel less sluggish.
Apana Mudra Benefits
- The main benefit of this mudra is detoxification – it removes waste materials from the organs.
- Boosts the immune system by eliminating the free radicals which may deteriorate immunity.
- Improves digestion, aiding with constipation, diarrhea, and other issues related to the digestive system.
- Helps regulate the menstrual cycle, and may relieve cramps.
- Promotes the release of negative emotions and brings a greater sense of calm and security.
This mudra is not recommended to pregnant women in the first 8 months of pregnancy due to the strong downward flow of energy, but is encouraged in the 9th month to aid with childbirth. It is also not recommended for those who have osteoarthritis or an injury in the hands and wrists.
How-To Perform Apana Mudra
1. Begin sitting in a comfortable position such as Easy Pose, and keep your spine straight.
2. Close your eyes and take a moment to turn your attention inwards.
3. Join the tip of the thumb with the tips of the middle and ring finger. Perform this on both hands.
4. Relax all other fingers.
5. Place your hands on your thighs, palms facing up, and hold the mudra for as long as comfortable, at least 5 minutes.
After releasing the mudra, take one big exhale to empty your lungs. Before you stand up and continue with your day – remain seated for a moment with your eyes closed to soak up the benefits of the practice.
When to use Apana mudra
- This mudra may aid with meditation as it helps to release overthinking and mental clutter.
- If you would like to increase the focus on activating the Root Chakra, you can chant the mantra “LAM”, in your mind or out loud.
- To enhance the action of elimination, prolong your exhalations. Don’t force this – only exhale for as long as you can while still feeling relaxed and comfortable.
Where & When
- Since this mudra stimulates digestion, it is recommended to be practiced around 2 hours after a meal. Traditionally, it is done for 45 minutes a day, but you can adapt the practice to your own needs.
- The best time to practice Vayu mudra is in the morning, on an empty stomach.
For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Mudra Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga mudra to deepen your yoga knowledge.
Each mudra page features high-quality photos and illustrations, insights into the meridian, chakra, and ayurvedic element systems, as well as tips on how, why, and when to practice each mudra.