anjali mudra prayer gesture

In this guide, we will look at the Anjali mudra position, it’s benefits and meaning This is the same hand gesture used to say “namaste” and in prayer.

If you have ever wondered why people hold their hands in prayer, it is because of Anjali Mudra, a hand gestures with a specific position, meaning and benefits.

The hand gesture didn’t actually originate with prayer. It began with Hinduism and the use of different hand positions to create specific health benefits by utilising the acupressure points in the hands and the science of body language. Amazingly, this position isn’t only used by humans. If you take a look at various nature documentaries, you may even stop animals such as chimps using this hands position naturally.

Thousands of readers have been loving THE DAILY MEDITATION’s guide to mudras.

In the guide, we revealed the history and evolution of these hand gestures, and we shared 60 mudras that all enlightened people should know.

Arguably the single most crucial hand mudra is Anjali, which is one of the most popular types of yoga mudra [READ: The Best Yoga Mudras]

Anjali Mudra In Yoga (Namaste)

If you take yoga classes you’ve probably seen the Anjali mudra before, when your yoga teacher enters the room, just before they say “Namaste.” In physical yoga workouts, the namaste hands position is often combined with different asanas, such as the Sun Salutation and Tadasana.

It’s popular outside yoga too.

For starters, it is the exact same hand position that used in prayer by Christians. Sertainly if you visit a church you will also have seen people making this gesture when performing prayer.

And it is used in  Buddhism, Hinduism and many other religions.

It is even used by non-spiritual people–who doesn’t hold their hands together when they’re asking for a miracle?

There is a reason why this hand gesture is so popular. It is massively beneficial as we’ll see in a minute.

anjali mudra prayer hands

Anjali Mudra Meaning

The Anjali mudra is omnipresent through society.

Seriously.

Even chimps hold their hands together in this gesture.

And because it is so commonplace, it has a lot of different meanings.

In Christianity, the Anjali mudra means something totally different to what it means in yoga. “Prayer hands” actually means repentance and dedication to God.

In yoga, it means “Namaste” [1]. It is a greeting. It says,  “I see the divine in you”.

In Hinduism, it is a greeting commonly used in Southeast Asia that means Namaste (often pronounced “Namaskar”).

It is a popular way of saying hello and farewell, but the hand positions certainly mean much more than just a greeting. The connection of the palms of both hands is said to connect the right and left brain hemispheres and represents unification. It represents the unification of all things. Hence when we make this position to another person it honours both the individual and the person they are making the gesture to.

The Hand Gesture

This hand gesture is seen in many different world religions and cultures, and the position always stays the same.

And it is a really easy hand gesture too.

Simply bring the hands together at the palms with the fingers reaching upwards. Now place your hands in front of your heart. The position may also be made with the hands in front of the Crown Chakra (above the head).  When using the sign as a greeting or a show of respect it is often complemented with a slight forward bend.

The Anjali Mudra (Namaste mudra) may be combined with the following yoga poses during physical exercise:

anjali mudra prayer hands (1)
anjali mudra prayer hands (1)

Anjali Mudra Benefits

It isn’t used for just prayer or for saying “Namaste”. The joining together of the palms increases communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which produces a feeling of being centred and aids in focus and concentration.

The benefits of Anjali mudra include:

Conclusion

The anjali mudra or prayer gesture is without doubt one of the most important hand gestures in the world.

It has been used for centuries. And we all know how important it is in various religions.

But did you know about the benefits we looked at above?

The next time you are in yoga class performing your asanas, remember to use the Namaste mudra anytime you need a quick boost or focus and concentration. You might also like to make it at times when you feel stressed because it provides a quick sense of relaxation.

Say “Namaste” to me. Leave a comment and remember to subscribe to our newsletter below.

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One Response

  1. Namaste Paul, ?

    Thank you for this post, I have a couple of question please.

    I will be sending an email to a Shaolin training organisation and would like to use an appropriate and respectful greeting and would appreciate your guidance.

    I am considering using this emoticon ? followed by “Namaste” to open and close my email, is that appropriate?

    Is Anjali or Anjali mudra spoken or written as part of a greeting e.g can one use ? “Anjali” instead of ? “Namaste”?

    Would emoticons likely be considered inappropriate or childish to a Shaolin monk? Should I just use English?

    Kind regards.

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