Vishnu (a Hindu God) + mudra (gesture)
Ayurvedic Element – All Elements
Vishnu mudra is one of the hasta or sacred hand gestures, created as a way to work with prana or essential life energy.
This particular mudra is also known as the “gesture of universal balance” and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
While many mudras are done with both hands, Vishnu mudra is always done with the right hand as a symbol of receiving energy.
If you’ve done yogic breathing exercises before, it’s likely you’ve performed this mudra as it’s a part of the nadi shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing exercise.
It is believed using this mudra during pranayama boosts its benefits, and helps one reach a calm and meditative state of mind. This type of breathing also balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain and both sides of the body.
If you would like to connect with Vishnu, who inspired the name of this mudra, have in mind that he is one of the three principal deities in Hinduism.
His role is to protect, sustain, and balance all living things, so you can connect to his energy whenever you feel a lack of balance or security in your own life.
Ayurvedic Element- All elements
When researching the effects of this mudra on the elements in the body, we found two different explanations – but they don’t contradict each other.
On one hand, you can look at the extended fingers. The ring finger which represents the earth element, the little finger which represents water, and the thumb which represents fire are all straight and pointed to the sky.
In a way, this encourages the flow of prana to these elements, to increase their activity in the body.
On the other hand, we can look at the bent fingers, which are the index and middle finger, representing air and ether.
By bowing them, we are suppressing these elements, which may help if they are already overactive and if we want to feel more grounded.
Chakras- Root, Sacral and Solar Plexus Chakra
It is believed this mudra works on the 3 lower chakras – Root, Sacral & Solar Plexus.
That makes it ideal to have it in your toolkit whenever you feel a lack of grounding in your life.
These energy centers will give you a sense of stability and security, allow you to feel enjoyment, work on your relationships and build your confidence and willpower.
Energy Channels – Solar and Lunar Channel
Sometimes we discuss how mudras affect specific meridians in Chinese Medicine, but this time we want to touch on the Ayurvedic energy channels.
If you are planning to practice Vishnu mudra along with the breathing exercises, this info may help you set an intention for your practice. You could also visualize these channels during meditation.
The nostrils represent two main energy channels in the body – the right nostril represents solar, hot energy of Pingala. The left nostril represents the cool, lunar energy of Ida.
By closing and opening the two nostrils, we are balancing these channels – which is crucial as most people breathe only through one nostril most of the time.
By balancing these two nadis or energy channels, we are also directing the flow of prana into the central nadi or Sushumna.
Vishnu Mudra Benefits
- Balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
- Balances the flow of energy in the body, which leads to better health overall.
- Calms the nervous system, and reduces stress and anxiety.
- Improves concentration and helps prepare the mind for meditation.
- Stimulates the function of the heart and lungs, and boosts blood circulation.
- Combination with pranayama may help encourage deeper breathing and combat respiratory problems like asthma.
Avoid Vishnu mudra if you’ve recently had surgery or an injury on the wrists, hands, or fingers.
How-To Perform Vishnu Mudra
1.Sit in a comfortable position of your choice, which allows you to keep the spine upright.
2. Close your eyes and place your hands on your thighs, palms facing up.
3. Fold the index and the middle finger of the right hand, so the tips are touching the base.
4. Relax all the other fingers – they should be extended but still soft.
5. Release after a couple of minutes, then repeat if you’d like.
To reap the benefits we talked about before, combine the Vishnu mudra with alternate nostril breathing exercises.
When to use Vishnu Mudra
- It’s best to perform the mudra in a meditation posture like Easy Pose or Lotus Pose, but you can also sit in a chair if that is unavailable to you.
- It is believed the combination of the Vishnu mudra and breathing exercises can help one reach their Higher Self, and is therefore a good preparation for meditation.
- Although there is no specific mantra related to this mudra, you can use the time of practice to repeat your favorite positive affirmations and intentions.
- This muda is traditionally performed with single nostril pranayamas such as Surya Bhedna, Chandra Bhedana, and Nadi Shodhana.
- To perform nadi shodhana you will use the thumb to close the right nostril, and the ring and pinky finger to close the left nostril. Then you will inhale through the left nostril, close it, exhale to the right, then inhale on the right, close it and exhale to the left. You can continue alternating like this for 5 minutes or as long as comfortable.
Where & When
- It is usually recommended to perform mudras in the morning, as it is easier to concentrate.
- However, if you find it easier to find time for meditation later in the day, you can also do that, just make sure you can find a quiet spot where you will not be disturbed.
- Mudras are traditionally practiced for at least 40 minutes per day, but you can begin with shorter sessions to build continuity.
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.