Updated: Jul 7, 2020
In my January newsletter, I shared a recipe and a mudra for supporting the nutritional foundation of Hydration. I’ve decided to belatedly share the Varuna Water Mudra here on my blog, because I’d like it to be available for anyone reading my posts. I personally find mudras to be fascinating and I hope others will be interested as well.
I intend to share a specific mudra for each of the 6 Foundations of Nutrition: Hydration, Digestion, Mineral Balance, Blood Sugar Regulation, Essential Fatty Acids, and a Properly Prepared Nutrient Dense Diet. The month of January 2020 was focused on Hydration. We humans need a good intake of water to survive and thrive. Water is Life = Life is Water!
We can improve our hydration not only through what we drink and eat, but also by practicing this simple Varuna Water Mudra:
But first, you may ask, What is a Mudra?
Let's start with the basics: For English-speakers who have never heard the word before, the first syllable looks like “mud”, as in wet sticky earth formed into a mud-pie, but the word mudra comes from the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit and is pronounced “moo-dra”.
I think of a mudra as a yoga posture for the hands, but the effect of a mudra goes beyond the hands...it stimulates the brain and affects the whole body. In yoga philosophy, it is believed that we have thousands of subtle energy channels running through out bodies and some of these channels end at our fingertips. When we hold our hands in different positions with awareness, we are able to tap into this energy. The word mudra can be translated as “seal” and we can think of mudra practice as a way of sealing the energy within our bodies. With regular practice, we can begin to encourage and redirect the flow of energy in our subtle system. This can have a positive effect on our physical and emotional well-being. The specific hand positions of mudras relate to different element and organs within the body (2).
The best time to practice mudras is in the morning. Avoid practicing most mudras 30-60 minutes after meals so that the body can focus on digestion. Mudras can be practiced from as little a few minutes up to 15-20 minutes per sitting, 2-3 times a day. Or a longer single sitting up to 30-45 minutes. (3) Obviously the longer one practices a specific mudra, the greater effect it will have. But don’t let this deter you from practicing for shorter periods. Even a minute of slowing down and tuning into the body is beneficial!
Before we study the details about Varuna Mudra, let’s take a look at the energetic characteristics of water because these qualities are being stimulated by this mudra. Water is one of the 5 Elements in traditional Chinese medicine. Water represents adaptability, sensitivity, repose and the storage of life energies. Water is linked to the season of winter, the meridians of the kidneys and bladder, the ears and the bones. Its form is wavy and irregular, the taste is salty and it is associated with blue/black colors (when it is held by the earth and within the body). The emotions associated with water are contentment, a sense of security, mercy and adaptation. The factors that weaken the water element are lack of sleep, irregular lifestyle, continual stress, noise, too many lights and excesses. The practices that support the water element are the right amount of activity and rest, a healthy diet, and silent joy (1).
One powerful way that I have found to cultivate silent joy is to practice mudras. Slowing down and holding a mudra for a few moments to a few minutes helps me to relax my body and mind and cultivate a sense of inner peace and joy.
About Varuna Water Mudra:
The Varuna Mudra is named after Varuna, the guardian of water and rains in Indian mythology. When the thumbs and small fingers are placed together it is meant to symbolize and encourage openness and fluid communication. It helps to balance the water element in the body. It activates the salivary glands and moistens dry eyes and skin. It helps to improve skin luster and softness. It is known as the “seal of mental clarity”.
Each of the fingers is connected to one of the five elements. In Varuna Mudra, we focus on the little finger which is associated with the water element. The thumb relates to the fire element and when joined to a fingertip it stimulates that finger’s corresponding element. Water represents fluidity and movement and when we focus on strengthening this element we can learn to “go with the flow”. Considering that our world is in a constant state of change, learning to accept and adapt is important for our well-being. These skills can make us more open-minded and flexible and help us to find peace with how things really are. (2)
How to practice the Varuna Mudra:
Simply touch the tip of the thumbs with the little fingers, first slightly and then with some pressure to feel the difference. Ease into a comfortable amount of pressure. Keep the other fingers extended but relaxed. Rest your hands on your thighs if sitting or cross-legged, or by your sides if you prefer to lie down. You can close the eyes to turn your attention inward to the sensations in your fingers. Hold for as long as feels comfortable, building up to 15 minutes as able.
May the practice of this Varuna Mudra provide you with a sense of ease and flow, like smooth water...
1) Hirschi, G. (2000) Mudras: Yoga In Your Hands. (pp 86-87). York Beach, ME. Red Wheel/Weiser.
2) Furler, K. (June 13, 2018). Mudra of the month: Varuna Mudra. Balancegarden.co.uk/blog/varuna-mudra
3) Dr. Bhat, S. (July 7, 2018) Varuna Mudra Method, Benefits. Easyavurveda.com