Author: Randeep Singh / go to all Techniques of Yoga articles
Prithvi Mudra, Hand gesture for confidence and sense of Grounding
Prithvi, a Sanskrit language term
means a “vast one”,
when translated to English language.
Since Sanskrit has the tradition of
multiple meanings of its terms,
Prithvi also signifies Earth,
one of the five gross elements (Panch Maha Bhutas – earth, water,
fire, air, and ether) which as per Samkhya evolve out of Prakriti and
of which the entire universe is made up of. Thus the name Prithvi Mudra.
Though there is a chain of evolutes between Mula Prakriti and the five gross elements, the immediate predecessor of the five gross elements are the five Tanmatras, or the subtle forms of these elements from which the condensation of the grosser forms takes place. Each tanmatra condenses into its corresponding element, the element earth (Prithvi) evolves (condenses) from the tanmatra known as Gandha, or smell.
Similar to all the other objects which constitutes the universe human body is also made up of these five gross elements, using up their different proportions to form each body part. The proportion of the element earth is greatest in the body as it helps construct the majority of its major structural frame or its bulk; bones, muscles, ligaments, nails, hair etc.
At the subtler level the element earth governs our confidence, physical and mental stamina, sense of stability or being firmly grounded. A healthy body needs to have a balance between the required proportions of all the five elements, any imbalance created between these elements (due to certain lifestyles) can lead to disease. Prithvi mudra is a hand gesture the regular practice of which helps one regain one’s balance of the earth element in one’s body.
How Prithvi Mudra Works on Body
As per the science of Mudra (hand gestures) the acupressure points located on the tips of all the five fingers of one’s hands have the ability to influence the proportion of the corresponding element (out of the five elements) within the body. The tip of the thumb is linked to the fire element, the tip of the index finger to the air element, the tip of the middle finger to the ether (space) element, the tip of the ring finger to the earth element, and the tip of the little finger to the water element.
The tip of the thumb when brought in contact with the tip of any one of the other four fingers works by firing up the augmentation of the corresponding element (depending on which finger tip is on contact with it) inside the body. Thus, in Prithvi mudra one brings the tip of the ring finger (representing the earth element) in contact with the tip of the thumb (representing the fire element) so that the proportion of the earth element can be balanced again by enhancing its proportion within the body.
In fact, Prithvi mudra helps balance both the elements – fire and earth – as it increases the element of earth and decreases the element of fire within the body. Since it enhances the proportion of the earth element it is also known as Prithvi Vardhak Mudra, where vardhak means increasing. Also, as it decreases the fire element in the body it is also known as Agni Shamak Mudra, where shamak means extinguisher. It is also known as the Earth Mudra or Gesture of the Earth.
The effect of Prithvi mudra in increasing the earth element inside the body is made possible by channelizing the flow of energy in a particular direction through the pathways for the flow of energy within the body by stimulating the acupressure points (by lightly pressing the tips of the ring fingers and the corresponding thumbs) located on these energy pathways.
As per Kundilini yoga the earth element is governed by Mooladhar chakra. Moola, means “root” or foundation and is associated with the qualities of stability, solidity, and strength. It is the solidity in the organs od the body that creates weight and density. Thus, over weight is caused by the increase in the earth element and underweight is the result of decrease in the proportion of earth element. It is also associated with the Apana prana, the downward moving energy that supports the functioning of excretory and reproductive systems.
How to Do Prithvi Mudra?
- Sit in any meditative asana like Padmasana, Sukhasana, or Vajrasana
- Place the hands on the respective thighs with the palms facing up
- Close the eyes and take deep breaths, focus on the movement of the breath so that the mind becomes calmer and steadier
- Now, touch the tip of the ring finger to the tip of the thumb for both the hands very softly
- Keep the other three fingers slightly extended straight
- Place both the hands formed in Prithvi mudra with the palms resting on the respective thighs
Duration and Time for practicing Earth Mudra
Begin with practicing this hand gesture for about a minimum of 10 minutes to 30 minutes every day in the morning or evening times as per one’s convenience. For therapeutic benefits one must practice Prithvi mudra for a minimum of 30-40 minutes per sitting every day.
In order to reap maximum benefits from practicing Earth Mudra one must practice it in the early morning between 4 am to 6 am. Since meditative postures must be practice on an empty stomach, keep a gap of at least 4 hours between your last meal and the time of practice of this mudra.
Contraindications and Precautions – Prithvi Mudra
- Practice Prithvi Mudra only with the proper understanding of the subtle difference its technique has with another mudra called Agni mudra
- Do not press the tips of the ring finger and the thumb strongly onto to each other, this will not allow the mind to calm down, the tips of the ring finger and the thumb must be in soft contact with each other
- Persons suffering from Asthma or any other breathing issues must practice this mudra under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher
- Keep the arms and the hands relaxed in order to allow the proper flow of energy through them while doing Prithvi Mudra
- Since Practicing Prithvi Mudra can enhance the body weight, persons suffering from obesity must practice it only after consulting a knowledgeable yoga expert
- Persons who have excess of kapha in their body must avoid practicing Prithvi Mudra as this mudra enhances the Kapha Dosha in the body
- Gently extend the other three fingers straight without any over stretching
- Wear comfortably loose cloths
- Remove any jewellery or watch from the arms before practicing Prithvi Mudra
- Try to practice this hand gesture in a quiet place in order to facilitate easy concentration of the mind
- Make sure your phone along with any sound producing gadget remains turned off while you practice this mudra
- Pregnant women must avoid doing Prithvi Mudra as changes in the proportions of the five elements are not good for them
- Prithvi Mudra can be combined with the pranayama practice for better results and can also be done in standing position or while sitting in a chair.
Benefits of Earth Mudra
- Regular practice of Prithvi Mudra benefit by removing weakness, lack of stamina and energy or fatigue
- It is very useful in the period during which one is convalescing or suffering from paralysis
- It helps build and invigorate bones, flesh, nails, skin, muscles, and hair
- Since it balances the earth element in the body it is significant for the proper utilization of the all the essential vitamins as vital minerals are a part of earth
- As the earth element is connected to the sense of smell practicing Earth Mudra can help one cure nasal issues and is an essential include in the yoga for treating nasal issues
- As per Ayurveda Prithvi Mudra practice can enhance the kapha humor in the body
- As this mudra helps extinguish the fire (agni) element in the body it can benefit by alleviating the ailments related to the excess of it like inflammation, fever, and anorexia
- It benefits by reducing the pitta humor in the body
- It benefits the hair by inducing growth and helping prevent hair fall along with improving the overall quality of hair
- It contributes to the strength and sheen of the hair along with preventing the occurrence of premature greying of hair
- It can help one gain weight because increase in earth element means increase in the overall mass of the body tissue (muscles, flesh, bones) which is in turn the result of improved metabolism, it is good for people looking for yoga techniques for healthy metabolism
- Prithvi Mudra benefits by helping one maintain one’s ideal weight; increase or decrease it as the case may be
- It helps reduce cholesterol and maintain healthy digestion
- Since it reduces the element of fire within the body it helps one get rid of ulcers, burning in the eye, and acidity
- It adds to the strength and firmness of the body
- As the earth element gets balanced with the practice of Earth Mudra it provides a stimulation to the activation of the prana energy trapped within the Mooladhara Chakra as Kundilini in the base of the spine and helps it rise above the into the vertebral column, this increases the vitality of the body (know more on tis with my Kundilini awakening journal).
- Practicing Prithvi Mudra daily can boost one’s confidence and the quality of humbleness in one’s personality, both the traits re linked to the activated Mooladhara Chakra
- Since Prithvi Mudra benefits by enhancing the sense of security and stability the mind can easily calm down facilitating and deepening the meditation process, thus helping uplift the spiritual experience
- It helps improve the immunity of the body
- The increase in the earth element tightens, and smoothens the look and feel of the skin
- It helps balance an overactive thyroid
- Prithvi Mudra helps heal cuts and wounds, bone fractures, brittle nails faster
- It benefits by increasing the density of the bones thus helping one prevent and cure osteoporosis of the bones and must be included in the curriculum for yoga for healthy bones
- At a subtle level Prithvi Mudra can restore equilibrium and trust