The Apan mudra or Apana Mudra is a hasta mudra (hand gesture) in yoga.

It is perhaps the best mudra for detoxification because it stimulates the flow of Apana Vata. 

Apana Vata is the second of the five pranas. It is situated between the naval and perineum (area between anus and scrotum).

Apana Vata is responsible for elimination, such as the elimination of toxins. Because of this, most of the benefits of Apan mudra are for the large intestines, urinary system, and reproductive system.     

In my Hand mudras list I revealed 60 of the most important hand gestures in the world. The Apan mudra is one of the absolute best mudras for weight loss.

For thousands of years, this hand gesture has been used to clear out toxins in the body and to create inner peace.

Like the Maha mudra, it produces positive energy while creating inner peace [READ: Meditation For Inner Peace].

It is also the best mudra for detoxifying the body.

Detox is highly beneficial for health and wellbeing. A great majority of diseases these days are caused by toxins that enter our bodies because of our lifestyles. Cancer is perhaps the worst of all.  A study by Columbia University revealed that 95% of cancer is caused by toxins. Given that the average person has between 400 and 800 chemicals in their body, clearing them out is vital.

Thankfully we can detoxify with Apan mudra, which is one of the best yoga hand gestures.

Apan Mudra Steps

Here are the proper Apan mudra steps:

  1. Sit in one of the proper meditation positions (Sukhasana, Padmasana & Siddhasana). Make sure that you sit with good posture and a straight spine. Your knees should not be locked.
  2. Gently close your eyes and begin to breathe through your nose. Take a few relaxing breaths to calm the mind and to concentrate.
  3. Curl your middle-finger and ring-finger inwards towards the palm and place the tips of these fingers on the tip of your thumb. The thumb should be lightly curled inward.
  4. The rest of your fingers should be held straight but relaxed.
  5. With both of your hands in the position described above, place your hands over your kneecap with the palms facing up.
  6. Maintain this position while you meditate. 

Many people like to practise Apana Mudra in the morning or after eating to aid digestion. I recommend practising the Apan mudra steps above for around 40 minutes per day, in a series of 10 to 15-minute sessions.

There has been scientific research into the effects of Apana mudra. by Kotikalapudi Shiva Kumar et. al at the Department of Bioenergy, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana.

The research shows that in order to gain the benefits of Apan mudra, we need to hold it for more than 20 minutes. Less than 5 minutes of practice was not sufficient enough to produce changes in EPI parameters, but 20 minutes was plenty. So, to go the benefits of Apan mudra, practice for around 20 minutes.


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Apan Mudra Benefits

There are both spiritual and health benefits of Apan mudra. Spiritually speaking, the hand gesture helps to balance the root chakra, which helps with grounding and is also important for awakening Kundalini energy. [read: Kundalini Meditation] Technique].

Hindu mythology states that Apana mudra is a way of offering naivedyam (food) to the gods.

The gesture unites the physical, pranic, and mental bodies by linking the koshas (annamaya kosha, pranamaya kosha, and manomaya kosha).

The Apana mudra is also one of the best healing mudras for health. Here’s why.

The Apan mudras can be used to influence the elements in the body.

As explained by yogic lifestyle expert and holistic health specialist Rima J Pundir, hand gestures are considered so very important because it is said that our hands are full of our karmic energy, while our fingers are like plugs that help exchange energy between our pranic force (life energy) and the universal cosmic energy.

Hand gestures, thus, can influence the pranic energy – further branching out into emotional, mental, physical and spiritual energies. (SOURCE  

To understand how Apana mudra works, we need to take a look at the role of the fingers and thumb.

Thumb – Energy of Fire

Index Finger – Energy of Air

Middle Finger – Ether energy

Ring Finger – Earth energy

Little Finger – Water energy

When we position our fingers and thumbs in a yoga hand gesture, it creates a loop that allows chi / prana in the hands to be sustained and moulded in certain ways.

The energy in the loop is directed in various ways depending on the mudra that we use, and that same energy journeys back into the body to create various health benefits.

When it comes to eliminating toxins in the body, the two most important elements are earth and ether. Apan mudra detoxifies because it connects the fire element of the thumb to the earth and ether elements of the ring-finger and middle-finger. The fire element balances the earth and ether, which in turn enhance the process of elimination, flushing toxin from the body. 

The Apan mudra is the Energy Mudra. It promotes the wood element and creates energy in the gallbladder and liver. Because of this, the Apan mudra helps with all the health benefits that are associated with the wood element. In Chinese philosophy, the wood element (Xu Xing) is the most yang of the five elements. It corresponds with spring and the planet Jupiter. 

The wood element is an element of strength and flexibility. When the wood element is strong in the body it promotes warm feelings, idealism, and cooperation. It also makes us more social and expansive. Because Apan mudra benefits the wood element it helps the gallbladder and liver.

Apan Mudra Side Effects

We’ve now looked at the procedure and the benefits, but there are also some cautions for apana mudra, side effects you should be aware of.

  1. Apana mudra for diabetes

Written by Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

4 Responses

  1. Is there any specific number of days we need to do or do we need to do this mudra through out our life?.

    Can we do this mudra in the evening time?

  2. I am doing Shunya Mudra for Tinnitus problem ; can I practise Apan mudra ? Because my doubt is , I fold the middle finger in Shunya mudra whereas in Apana mudra I hv to keep the middle finger straight. Will it affect the effect of Shunya mudra ? Pl guide me.

    1. Dear Sir, you may do both since in Apan mudra practice – we balance the elements – which means that if a particular element is more or less – let this be balanced. This implies that that the regular practice of Apan mudra may also be helpful in curing the tinnitus – which is caused due to the excess of space element.
      However – if the space element has been increased much more, than practicing Shunya mudra too becomes a necessity for getting the cure.
      But, one question – why do you need Apan mudra practice?
      You may practice – Pushsn mudra immediately after having meals instead for getting benefits of apan n vyan mudras both!
      Regards 🙏🏻

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