anjali = a gesture of reverence, benediction, salutation (from anj, “to honor, celebrate”)
mudra = seal (The gesture “seals” energy in the body and “seals” your relationship with the Divine.)
This gesture is also known as Hrdayanjali Mudra (pronounced hri-DIE-ahn-jah-lee, hrd = heart), the Reverence to the Heart Seal, or Atmanjali Mudra (OT-mon-JAH-lee, atman = self, derived variously from an, “to breathe,” at, “to move,” or va, “to blow”), Reverence to the Self Seal
Step by Step
1. Sit comfortably in Siddhasana (as shown) or stand in Tadasana. Inhale and bring your palms together. Rest the thumbs lightly on your sternum.
2. Press the hands firmly but evenly against each other. Make sure that one hand (usually your right hand if you are right-handed, your left if left-handed) doesn’t dominate the other. If you find such imbalance, release the dominant hand slightly but don’t increase the pressure of the non-dominant hand.
3. Bow your head slightly, drawing the crease of the neck toward the center of your head. Lift your sternum into your thumbs and lengthen down along the back of the armpits, making the back elbows heavy.
4. Practicing Anjali Mudra is an excellent way to induce a meditative state of awareness. Start your practice sitting in meditation in Anjali Mudra for 5 minutes. You can also use this hand position in Tadasana prior to beginning the Sun Salutation sequence, contemplating the “sun” or light of awareness the yogis say is resident in your heart.