Mudras are symbolic gestures made by the body, and more specifically in this case, by the hands. Each mudra has a specific purpose and is commonly used in yoga and meditation practices to focus and direct energy in the subtle body. Mudra is defined as a "seal, "mark," or "gesture." Most of these symbols come from ancient Hindu and Buddhist traditions and are meant to deepen one's connection by facilitating the flow of energy throughout the body, freeing up prana (energy) and directing it to other areas for healing.
In yoga its believed that:
we have a subtle (energetic) body
our bodies are composed of energy centers and pathways
our bodies, and the entire world, are composed of the 5 elements
the hands have an very strong relationship to the mind (somatosensory system)
each finger represents a specific element
pressure to different areas of the hand or fingers correspond to, and stimulates, specific areas of the brain
increasing or depressing the mudras can activate the elements, change energy patterns, and regulate the flow of prana in the body
Our hands are thought to hold power, energy, and vibrancy. By harnessing energy in the hands, along with intention and conscious action, mudras have the ability to channel one's internal energy, balance the chakras, and increase self awareness. Practicing yoga, meditation, and pranayama with mudras as an instrument can help improve one's connection to body & mind.
"Classification of Electrophotonic Images of Yogic Practice of Mudra through Neural Networks"
Prana Mudra is meant to produce vibration and heat in the body. Prana stands for "life force," "life energy" or "vital principles." This mudra is a symbol for energy, strength, and immunity.
Buddhi Mudra is the seal of mental clarity. It means "higher mind," "intellect," and "perception." This mudra is a symbol of access to one's inner knowledge and fluid communication.
Gyan (Chin) Mudra is the seal of knowledge, comprehension, and wisdom. It is used in practice to relax the mind, increase mental concentration and build spiritual power. It is recognized as a symbol for the spiritual awakening of one's inner self.
Anjali Mudra is one of the more common mudras used in yoga. It's typically used as a salutation at the start & end of a yoga class along with the expression "namaste." It symbolizes honor, respect, and devotion.
Padma (Lotus) Mudra is a symbol for purity, as well as a symbol of light and beauty emerging from darkness. It serves as a reminder of staying connected to one's roots and opening up one's self and heart to the light beyond.
Ganesha Mudra is a symbol of compassion, courage, and openness to love. Ganesha is one of the more well-known and worshipped deities, known as the remover of obstacles.