The Sanskrit word yoga needless to say means union’; and a mudra is a ‘mental or physical expression of an inner feeling’ or ‘attitude’.

Furthermore, it is not only an expression of a feeling, but it is also a means, if properly used, of invoking inner power and realization. There are far, far more implications, but this is not the place to discuss them. This asana is so called because it is said to unite the practitioner with his inner being.

In English, this asana is usually called the ‘symbol of yoga’ or the ‘psychic union pose’. These are in fact inadequate translations, for the two words ‘yoga mudrasana’ convey far more and have vast implications. We much prefer the Sanskrit name.

Loosening up exercises

Before sitting in padmasana and doing yoga mudrasana the legs should be loosened up. This also applies to people who have no difficulty sitting in padmasana, for the legs quickly stiffen up. Stiffness can be most effectively removed from the legs by doing the following simple exercises: (i) half butterfly (ii) hip rotation, together with other useful exercises previously described3, you can choose any that you wish to practise, though we recommend the above two. Of course, if your legs are not stiff, it is not necessary to practise these preliminary exercises.

Position of hands

During the performance of yoga mudrasana the hands can be held in a variety of positions. You should experiment to find the hand position that you prefer.

1. Arms behind the back, with the fingers of both hands interlocked.

2. Arms behind the back, with the left hand holding the right wrist.

3. Same as 2 but with the right hand doing jnana mudrasana. Any other suitable hand mudrasana can also be utilized.

4. Hands in front of the body. Fold your fingers and place both fists on your lap, with the wrists facing upwards and the thumb slightly out and downwards. The fists should be held in contact with the soft part of the abdomen, just below the ribs. This hand position will apply extra massage to the abdomen.