• Ruth Steel

Apana Mudra - Powerful Mudras & the Benefits

December 14, 2019 | RUTH STEEL

International Yoga Teacher - Ruth Steel

It is believed in Yoga philosophy that we all have thousands of subtle energy pathways running through our bodies. These are called Nadis. Many of these Nadis end in our hands and fingertips which is why hand mudras/gestures are so powerful!

When we hold our fingers, thumbs and palms together in different positions we can begin to create new pathways of energy. The Mudra acts as a bond between two or more energy paths. If a Mudra is practiced consistently over a period of time the new pathway of energy will begin to develop & strengthen.

There are many Mudras to practice, feel free to check out the previous weeks consisting of, Gyan Mudra & Lotus Mudra.

Each hand gesture focuses on a different quality or health benefit to intentionally deepen your Yoga practice & help you self-heal. You can search for your most beneficial Mudra depending on your energy levels, personality or health condition, give it a go.

This week I would like to introduce Apana Mudra, or cleansing energy gesture.

The Sankskrit word Apana refers to a cleansing form of subtle energy that moves down and outwards in our bodies.


Come into a comfortable seated position or lie down. I like to hold the hand gesture whilst walking sometimes, incorporate it into Asana flow & even whilst on the toilet, the possibilities are endless!

Using both hands bring the tips of your middle and ring fingers to the tip of your thumb, keep your other fingers extended. (Sort of like Rock Music groupies but then relax those fingers.) This Mudra can be held for up to 45 minutes a day, the time could be broken down into 10 -15 minute sections. To feel the benefits it would be helpful to hold the position for at least 10 minutes a day.


As mentioned, the Apana energy enables us to cleanse & eliminate physical waste products. e.g. Urine, stale air, solid waste, sweat, toxins and impurities in all forms. It also helps us to release & process difficult emotions, keeping us grounded.

Apana Mudra is especially beneficial to women, helping regulate the menstrual cycle and is even said to ease childbirth. It strengthens the immune system on all levels, detoxifies the body and balances the elements of space and earth within.

Apana Mudra also improves digestion and is said to help clear the skin.

If you're reading this Blog, you may already be aware that each finger and thumb represent an individual element. In Apana Mudra, the middle and ring finger join to the thumb. The middle finger represents ether (Akash - outward moving energy carries the energy of stability & strength) and the ring finger represents earth, (downward moving energy of the solar plexus, assists in governing personal power.) The thumb represents fire which ignites the qualities in the joining fingers and is a symbol of divine energy that has risen above the ego and the material works, representing universal consciousness.

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On a personal level I find this Mudra helpful for grounding myself and processing fear and/or anger. When I feel those emotions building inside, I go for a mindful walk or put on some healing music and begin to free flow, holding Apana Mudra and breathing deeply. I locate the fear/anger in my body and allow it to sink down through me into my stomach and sacrum. Finally I intentionally send the energy down & out through my legs, into the ground. I find this practice to be both effective and empowering. Instead of freezing with fear, distracting myself from anger or offloading it onto someone else, I am able to use it to build my internal fire & am continually learning to send it down to ground, stabilise & centre myself.

Apana Mudra helps me to focus, find peace & direct the movement of the energy.

We are incredibly lucky to have access to such wonderful ancient wisdom! I am very thankful to all of my teachers and ancient Yogis passed, who devoted their lives to exploring such mysteries. To be sharing them with you now, is truly fabulous!

I hope many mudras enrich your life too and assist you in being your higher, connected self.

All My Love



More Mudras;

Gyan Mudra

Lotus Mudra