Varuna Mudra

Varuna Mudra 

Varun (a Hindu god, rain) + mudra (gesture)

Ayurvedic Element – Water

an illustration of a hand in varuna mudra against a blue circle background

Fundamentals

Hasta mudras are yogic hand gestures primarily developed to balance one of the five elements in the body. Today, we will discuss Varuna mudra, which activates the water element.

This mudra is quite simple and involves pressing the thumb and middle finger together, while other fingers remain extended.

The name of the mudra has two meanings. Varun can be translated into “rain” in Sanskrit, which directly relates to its water-balancing properties. Meanwhile, the mudra is believed to have been named after Varun, a Hindu god and guardian of water and the ruler of water animals.

The mudra is also known by the name “jal-vardhak”, where “jal” means water and “vardhak” translates to enhance.

The connection to the water element also connects Varuna mudra to the Kapha Dosha.

Since the mudra increases this element, it may help those who have deficient Kapha Dosha, and/or excess in Vata (air dosha). Both of these increase dryness in the body, which may lead to overall weakness, and make it difficult to sleep.

Ayurvedic Element- Water

Varuna is believed to enhance the water element in the body, which can benefit the practitioner both on a physical and mental level.

Water mudras are believed to help with blood circulation, issues in the liver and kidneys, and dehydration.

On a deeper level, they may help us to learn to “go with the flow” and enjoy things in life without feeling guilty. Water’s nature of fluidity and movement may also teach us how to cope with and accept change.

Working with this element can support us whenever we need to process emotions, face transformation, and go through periods of life which require us to be open-minded and adaptable.

Chakras- Sacral Chakra

This mudra is connected to Sacral or Svadisthana chakra, which also relates to enjoying life. Balancing this chakra will open us up for pleasure and allow us to enhance and utilize our creative powers.

Like water, it makes us more flexible when it comes to our thoughts and emotions, and gives us the strength to welcome change in our lives. This in turn may also bring deeper and healthier relationships with others.

a woman's hand in varuna mudra

Meridians- Small Intestine Meridian and Heart Meridian

Varuna Mudra involves pressing the pinky fingers, which are connected to two meridians – the Small Intestine and the Heart.

The Small Intestine Meridian is responsible for “sorting out” everything that goes through our digestive systems. It is where it’s decided which nutrients will be absorbed into the blood, and what should go to waste.

It is believed this task of the small intestine meridian to divide the useful from the unuseful also works on the emotional and energetic levels. It may help us determine which information, people, and experiences serve us – and which don’t, to help us make healthier decisions for our well-being.

The Heart Meridian, is seen as the king of all organs in Chinese Medicine. As one would expect, it governs the feeling of love, warmth, and joy.

It is also believed it is responsible for sleep, as well as wisdom, insight, and compassion.

When unhealthy, it may lead to increased feelings of guilt, craving, and hate. Finally, it houses our spirit, or Shen in Chinese, and a strong heart may keep our reactions in tune with our True Selves.

Varuna Mudra Benefits

  • The many physical benefits of this mudra relate to the fact that we are around 70% water. Increasing this element in the body may help with psoriasis, dry eczema, and any other issue related to the dryness in the skin and hair.
  • Enhancing the water element may also help with hormonal issues, anemia, constipation, and dry or weak joints.
  • By boosting digestion and detoxification, the mudra may aid in reducing cholesterol and purifying the blood. 
  •  May help release negative emotions we store in the mind. 
  • Increases concentration and mental clarity, and may aid in communication and confidence.

Contraindications

Like with all mudras, this gesture shouldn’t be practiced by those with an injury in their hands and fingers. Traditionally, it is also not recommended for those with excess Kapha dosha in the body.

an annotated image of a hand in varuna mudra

How-To Perform Varuna Mudra

1.  Sit in any yoga pose you prefer for meditation.

2. Close your eyes and take a moment to breathe and relax.

3. Place your palms on your thighs.

4.  Press your thumb and little finger together, forming a small circle between your fingers.

5. Extend all other fingers.

6. Hold for as long as you’d like.

Bonus Tip:

Although the fingers which are not active in this mudra should be straight, don’t force extending them – keep them relaxed.

When to use Varuna mudra

Meditation

  • To reap the biggest benefit from this mudra, pair it with conscious breathing or any other meditation you like. 
  • Besides traditional seated positions, you can also practice the mudra while sitting in a chair, walking, or lying in Corpse Pose.

Mantra

  • This mudra is often practiced along with chanting the “Om” mantra. You can chant both internally and out loud.

Pranayama

  • This mudra is not related to any particular breathing exercise, but focusing on breathing consciously may help you reduce overthinking and feel a greater effect of your practice. 

Where & When

  • Traditionally, mudras are practiced for 45 minutes a day, which can be done in one or several shorter sessions. However, you can also use your feeling and practice until you begin to notice the effect of the gesture.
  • Practice in a calm and quiet setting, where you will not be disturbed. If you have water nearby, like a river or the sea, you can also practice in these outdoor locations to connect more with the water element.
  • The best time to practice Varuna mudra is in the morning, on an empty stomach.
yogajala break 1000 × 40 px 1

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.

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