Mudras and Meditation: Agni Mudra

After your face, no part of your body is quite as expressive as your hands. With the flexibility to make a wide range of gestures and subtle movements, your hands can convey complicated thoughts and profound feelings, helping you to communicate and connect with other people. Moving different parts of your hands activates different areas of your brain. Since ancient times, Indian philosophy has taught that how the fingers move and touch each other influences the flow of prana, the life-giving energy within the body and yogis have used precise hand and finger gestures – mudras – to channel prana for physical and mental healing and spiritual enlightenment.

In the Indian tradition, each finger relates to the energy of one of the five elements. The thumb to fire (matter in radiant form) the index finger to air (matter in gaseous form) the middle finger to ether (space) the ring finger to earth (solid matter) and the little finger to water (liquids). The palm of the hand relates to the mind. 


Regular practice of mudras can help to:

• ensure prana (subtle energy) moves freely to keep your body and mind well balanced and healthy increase flexibility and mobility of your hands, wrists, arms and shoulders improve technique if you play an instrument or hand-intensive sport
• boost mental acuity and concentration
• ease symptoms of common ailments
• overcome emotional difficulties, from anger to grief
• purge your sub-conscious mind of negativity
• develop a regular meditation practice
• encourage inner peace and a sense of oneness with the universe.

The next several weeks we’ll focus on the thumb (fire element). It’s related to the solar plexus chakra and physically associated with our digestive system, muscles and sense of sight. Emotionally it’s associated with our inner strength, willpower, self-esteem, courage and ambition.

This past Sunday we started with Agni Mudra.

Agni Mudra helps to balance the heat within your body, and enhances your willpower and self -confidence. In the yoga tradition, it is valued for meditation, centering your energy while filling you with enthusiasm and vitality. You may recognize this as the thumbs-up gesture used in the West as a sign something is a good idea or much liked. Its origins are said to lie in the Roman era when crowds at gladiator battles voted with their thumbs on whether the winning gladiator should kill his opponent, thumbs-up signified continued life.


Come into a sitting position. Each hand does something different:
• Right hand – make a fist with the thumb pointing straight up.
• Left hand – open your hand, with the palm facing up.
• Place you right fist on your left palm and, maintaining this position, rest both rands in your lap. Hold as you sit quietly or meditate for 15mins. Repeat daily.


By freeing your thumbs from the other fingers, you free the fire element from influence of the four other elements. This strengthens the nourishing fiery energy yogis call samana vayu. Holding Agni Mudra can increase your sensations of vitality and energy.


“I offer my negative qualities to the fire of transformation.”

Fire Mudras bring awareness to the thumb. They relate to the elements fire and to the solar plexus chakra, which controls the energy that ‘fires up’ all the other chakras. In Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, the thumb is said to stimulate the pitta dosha, the energy that causes things to ripen and mature. Pitta’s energy is responsible for all forms of physical, mental and spirtual transformation. Because of this, fire mudras help to develop inner strength and transform your life into anything you want it to be. The qualities of the Fire element are energy, warmth, luminosity, radiance and the power of transformation. Fire has the quality of what is known in yogic terms as rajas, or activity and passion, this is what gives form and colour to life.