Apan Mudra: Steps, Benefits, & Side Effects

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

You can use this mudra for detoxification because it stimulates the flow of Apana Vata, the second of five pranas, 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.

Today everyone understands the importance of detoxifying. A detox reduces toxins in the body that are a primary cause of illness. For example, cancer. Columbia University research shows 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.

Plus, it is one of the absolute best mudras for weight loss. And like the Maha mudra, it produces positive energy and inner peace [READ: Meditation For Inner Peace].  

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Apan Mudra Steps

You might like to read my guide to mudras for beginners before you start.  

  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.

Scientific research shows that we can get the benefits of Apan mudra by using it for at least 20 minutes. Less than 5 minutes was not sufficient, but 20 minutes was plenty. [Kotikalapudi Shiva Kumar et. al at the Department of Bioenergy, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana.]

Therefore, to go the benefits of Apan mudra, practice for around 20 minutes.

 

Apan Mudra Benefits

There are both spiritual and health benefits of Apan mudra.


Spiritual benefits

Spiritually speaking, when we use the gesture, we balance the root chakra (mūlādhāra). And helps with grounding and 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).


Health Benefits

  • One of the most important benefits of the Apan mudra is detoxifying the body.
  •  Strengthens internal organs.
  • Helps regulate urine
  • Aids perspiration
  • If you’re feeling constipated, you can use it for that too. 
  • Reduces anger
  • Balances doshas
  • Improves dental health
  • Can prevent vomiting because it regulates digestion and helps the digestive system to relax. 
  • Strengthens digestion
  • Improves eyesight
  • Improves hearing
  • Balances vayus
  • Balances pachaka pitta,  udana vata, and avalambaka kapha 
  • Helps treat menstrual problems.
  • Helps with eyes, mouth, ears and nose problems. 

Use the Apan mudra to influence the elements

Yogic lifestyle expert and holistic health specialist Rima J Pundir says that the hand gesture releases karmic energy in the hands. The fingers are like plugs that help exchange energy between our pranic force (life energy) and the universal cosmic energy.

Thus, when we use hand gestures, we influence our pranic energy. In turn, this creates emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual benefits. (SOURCE   

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


Apan mudra works based on your 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. It stimulates the heart and ether elements for detoxification.  

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 flushes toxin from the body.


Energy

The Apan mudra is the Energy Mudra. It promotes the wood element and creates energy in the gallbladder and liver. 

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 creates strength and flexibility. When the wood element is strong it promotes warm feelings, idealism, and cooperation. Plus, it makes us more social and expansive. Finally, pan mudra benefits the gallbladder and liver.

Apan Mudra Side Effects

We’ve now looked at the procedure and the benefits. However, be aware of the following cautions for apana mudra. Side effects are real.

  • Apan gesture creates a strong pulling force that pulls downward. Therefore, f you are pregnant, do not practice in the first 8 months of term because in some instances it could cause a miscarriage. However, you can practice once you are in the ninth month of pregnancy. Then, you will find it beneficial for childbirth.
  • If you have cholera, colitis, diarrhea, or dysentery do not practise this mudra.
  • It should be avoided after meals for a minimum of two hours.  

References 

  1. Apana mudra for diabetes https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6145966/

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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 comments

  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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