Vayu (air,wind) + mudra (gesture)
Ayurvedic Element – Air
One of the main functions of mudras is to balance the main 5 elements within our bodies, to help us improve our physical and mental well-being.
Vayu mudra literally translates to wind or air gesture, and as the name implies, its purpose is to harmonize the air element in your body.
Specifically, it aids by guiding the flow of prana, and allowing it to reach the areas where the air element may be blocked. It aims to rid our bodies of accumulated air and gases to help this vital energy reach all parts of our bodies.
The balancing nature of the mudra also means it may help those who need to increase the air energy. That’s common in people who are Kapha dominant.
The mudra involves bending the index finder and touching the base of the thumb, then pressing the thumb over it. The index finger represents air, and the thumb represents fire, and with this gesture, the fire element overpowers and balances the air element.
Vayu mudra is often done in meditation, as it allows fresh energy to reach the body, which calms the nervous system. This newfound peace can aid the practitioners to enter a deeper state of awareness.
Ayurvedic Element- Air
Since the air element is related to many aspects of our being and the Vata (air) is often called the king of doshas, Vayu mudra has many benefits.
Air impacts the function of the lungs, circulatory system, and the colon. Vayu mudra is often practiced to aid with digestion, lung function, and painful or swelling joints.
Air element is also connected to mental health, particularly the emotions of sadness, grief, and depression.
Vayu mudra aids in releasing these trapped emotions, which could otherwise lead to greater mental or physical health issues. That’s particularly true when the mudra is held for longer and paired with conscious breathing.
Chakras- Heart Chakra
This mudra relates to the Air element, which is represented by the Anahata or Heart Chakra.
By balancing this element, it may also reduce blocks from the heart center and bring it to balance. A healthy heart chakra allows you to feel joy, unconditional love, and compassion towards both yourself and others.
Meridians- Large Intestine Meridian
If we look at the Vayu mudra from the perspective of Chinese medicine, we would relate it to the large intestine meridian, which begins at the tip of the index finger. It is responsible for digestion and emotions.
If the energy flow through this meridian is smooth, we are more capable to rid ourselves of everything we no longer want to hold, which includes both physical and emotional build-ups.
Vayu Mudra Benefits
- Balances the air element of our bodies, which may aid in releasing constipation, bloating, and indigestion.
- Free movement of air will also reduce fear, anxiety, laziness, and insomnia, and increase your energy.
- Stimulates the function of the large intestine and the lungs, boosting the natural detoxification process in the body.
- Helps to release pent-up or unprocessed emotions, particularly sadness, grief, and depression. Mental health benefits are even more pronounced when the mudra is paired with conscious breathing and meditation.
- May aid with arthritis and osteoporosis – these conditions are related to the air element in Ayurvedic medicine. It may also reduce joint pain.
- Traditionally, it is said Vayu mudra can help ease symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.
It is recommended to avoid Vayu Mudra while you are going through a fever, cold, or flu. It is also not recommended for those suffering from severe stress or sleep deprivation. Finally, refrain from practicing if you have an injury in the wrists, arms, or fingers.
How-To Perform Vayu Mudra
1. Sit in any seated asana you like – you can use the same pose you would choose for meditation.
2. Place your hands on your thighs with palms facing up. Close your eyes and become aware of your breath.
3. Now fold your index finger and try to touch the base of the thumb.
4. Bend the thumb over the index finger to hold it in place.
5. Keep all other fingers extended.
6. Hold for as long as comfortable. You can begin with 5 minutes and repeat the practice up to 3 times per day.
If you can, practice the mudra with both hands. If it’s difficult to place the fingers in the correct position, you can practice with one hand and use the other to gently press the fingers in place.
When to use Vayu mudra
- This mudra is often done in meditation, and you can pair it with any type of meditation you like.
- Can be performed in seated positions like Lotus and Easy Pose, but it can also be done while standing, sitting in a chair or lying on your back.
- The mudra is traditionally paired with calm breathing and Om chanting. You can chant both out loud and silently, repeating the mantra in your mind.
- You can also keep your fingers in Vayu mudra when you’re practicing pranayamas.
Where & When
- Perform the Vayu Mudra in a well-ventilated place, which allows you to focus on the air element and your breath.
- Traditionally, it is recommended to practice Vayu Mudra for 10 to 15 minutes 2 to 3 times per day, and no longer than 45 minutes daily – but feel free to practice as long as your schedule allows.
- 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.