Anjali Mudra Pose Guide With Meanings and Benefits

Karen Frazier
Anjali Mudra

Anjali Mudra is the perfect transitional pose from an active yoga practice into meditation. The position of Anjali Mudra has many meanings. The Sanskrit term mudra means to "seal," as to secure the energy of the divine and of your body. Anjali relates to honor or benediction, an offering. This asana is also called Atmanjali Mudra and Hrdayanjali Mudra.

Step Into Anjali Mudra

Anjali Mudra is simple to perform. It's also called prayer hands, and it's a mudra people often perform when they tell one another namaste, when they greet or acknowledge one another as Divine, or in sending distance energy healing to others. In the energy healing practice of Reiki, this mudra is referred to as gassho, and it's used as the standard meditation pose as well as to start the flow of Reiki in a practitioner's hands.

Step-by-Step Guide to the Pose

You will perform Anjali Mudra (AHN-jah-lee MOO-dra) in virtually every yoga session, typically at the end of the session when you arise from savasana (corpse pose) and as you chant Om at the end of a session. You may also start a session in Anjali Mudra.

  1. Sit cross-legged, back straight, your body evenly positioned on your sit bones (buttocks).
  2. Bring your hands together lightly at the fingertips, as if praying. There should not be any pressure in this movement, but you do want to feel the heat between the palms. Touch all finger tips and the outer part of your palms together while cupping each hand slightly.
  3. Hold your hands in front of your heart. To do this, draw your hands to your breastbone, elbows straight and parallel to the floor, thumbs against the chest.
  4. Keep your torso straight and upright, and draw your shoulder blades down into the back.
  5. Use this posture as your gateway to meditation by breathing fully, holding the position for up to five minutes.
  6. You can also bring the tips of your fingers, still holding Anjali Mudra, to align with your third eye, which is in the center of your forehead. Doing so can help to stimulate intuition and connect you to guidance from a higher power.

Tips for Beginners

There is an ease to this pose that is important to cultivate. Don't slam your hands together - bring them together gently. Maintain a slight opening between the palms and allow the heat to flow between your palms. If your arms get tired, simply lower your hands to your lap still holding the mudra.

Woman Meditating At Beach

For Intermediate Practitioners

If you are more limber, place your feet on top of your legs in lotus pose.

Anjali Mudra in Other Asanas

You may also hold Anjali Mudra in other yoga asanas. For example, often in mountain pose or tree pose, you hold Anjali Mudra as you move other parts of your body into a pose.

Benefits of Using Anjali Mudra

Anjali Mudra offers many benefits, and you can engage it in a number of practices.

Open Your Heart

Engage Anjali Mudra to open your heart purposefully.

  1. Breathe deeply until you feel relaxed.
  2. Form Anjali Mudra, bringing your hands to your heart.
  3. Visualize energy streaming down through the top of your head, into your arms, and then streaming from your prayer hands into your heart.

Return to Your Heart Center

Anjali Mudra can return you to your heart center when you're feeling out of sorts.

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. Take a few deep breaths and perform and hold the Anjali Mudra.
  3. Breathe deeply. If you need, visualize someone or something you love deeply. Feel the warmth of that fill your heart.
  4. Hold for as long as you need until you feel more heart centered.

Spark Intuition

If you are seeking intuitive guidance, then engage Anjali Mudra.

  1. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
  2. Form Anjali Mudra, bringing your hands first in front of your heart.
  3. Then, as you continue to breathe deeply, say, "Tell me what I need to know." Raise your hands so the tips of your fingertips, still holding the mudra, line up with the center of your forehead.
  4. Allow any information to come to you. It may come in images, thoughts, words, colors, or something else. Continue breathing deeply and allow anything to come to you that needs to.
  5. When you have received the information, lower your hands to your heart center again and express gratitude.

Seek Higher Guidance

If you wish to seek guidance from spirit guides or a higher power, then engage Anjali Mudra.

  1. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
  2. Form Anjali Mudra, holding your hands at your heart.
  3. Say "guide me" or something similar. Raise your hands, still in the mudra, above your head.
  4. Allow any information to come to you.
  5. When you are done, return your hands to your heart center and express gratitude.

Engage Anjali Mudra as a Meditation Practice

You can work with Anjali Mudra to calm and center your mind. In Reiki, practitioners learn to hold Gassho (gash-SHOW) at the heart center to move into a meditative state.

  1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Breathe deeply and evenly into your stomach.
  2. Form Anjali Mudra and hold your hands at your heart.
  3. Focus your attention on the tips of your middle fingers where they lightly touch.
  4. Whenever you feel your mind wander, return your focus to the touching tips of your middle fingers.
  5. Try this for five minutes to start and work your way up to 20 minutes or more.
woman doing yoga in the city

Calm Stress and Facilitate Relaxation

Engage Anjali Mudra for a quick reset any time you're feeling overly stressed.

  1. Stop what you're doing for a moment and focus on your breathing. Breathe deeply into your stomach.
  2. Form Anjali Mudra, bringing your hands to your heart as you do.
  3. Consider chanting a mantra in your mind with your breath, such as "Om", "peace", or "om shanti shanti shanti" (om peace, peace, peace).
  4. Do this for a few moments, until you feel more peaceful.

Foster Compassion

Anjali Mudra can also help foster compassion for others.

  1. Close your eyes and breathe deeply into your stomach.
  2. Visualize someone for whom you wish to feel compassion.
  3. Form Anjali Mudra, bringing your hands to your heart.
  4. Visualize that person between the palms of your hands and see the energy of love and compassion flowing from your heart and into the person (or people) to whom you are sending compassion.

Acknowledge Divinity in Yourself and Others

You can also engage Anjali Mudra as a means of recognizing the spark of Divinity that dwells within every living being.

  1. Take a deep, relaxing breath, breathing into your stomach.
  2. Look deeply into the eyes of the person you wish to acknowledge.
  3. Form Anjali Mudra, bringing your hands to your heart.
  4. Lightly bow your head forward as you speak the word namaste (nah-mah-stay), which is a Sanskrit word that means, "The Divine in me acknowledges the Divine in you," or "The light in me acknowledges the light in you."

Making the Most of Anjali Mudra

Working with Anjali Mudra helps generate feelings of love, peace, and compassion by recognizing the spark of Divinity that dwells within all conscious beings. It is a simple gesture but a powerful tool to intentionally bring peace into your life.

Anjali Mudra Pose Guide With Meanings and Benefits