Pranamasana or Prayer Pose is a simple standing yoga posture that marks the beginning and end of a yoga practice. Because Pranamasana is a centering yoga posture, in sun salutation, it is practiced as a transitional yoga posture between standing yoga asanas.
Pranamasana comes from a Sanskrit word ‘Pranam’ meaning ‘to pay respect’ and ‘Asana’ meaning the ‘Pose’. In the Prayer Pose, we fold our hands in Namaste position to pay homage. The joining of the hands is referred to as Anjali Mudra in yoga science.
Anjali Mudra: Anjali from ‘Anj’ means to “honor,” and ‘Mudra’ equals to “seal”, the gesture seals your relationship with the divine. Practicing Anjali Mudra is an excellent way to awaken the spiritual energy in the body and to delve in a state of meditative awareness.
Guide to Practicing the Anjali Mudra:
● Stand in Tadasana or sit in Sukhasana
● Inhale, bring the palms together with thumbs at the sternum
● Make sure the hands are pressed together firmly and are balanced (one hand doesn’t dominate the other)
● Bow your head slightly and keep the eyes closed
● Stand in Tadasana on a yoga mat. Keep the feet together
● Roll down the shoulder blades and relax the body
● Press the hands in Anjali Mudra
● In the Mudra, allow the elbows to rest at the sides of the torso. Make the back elbows heavy by lifting the sternum into the thumbs and lengthening along the back of the armpits
● Slightly bow your head down and close the eyes
● When in the pose, keep breathing
Tips for the Prayer Pose and Anjali Mudra:
● Press a block in between the palms, Spread the skin of the palms and stretch the fingers out of the center of the palm. Make use of the yoga block to widen the sternum and collarbones. Then practice the same without the yoga block
● Keep the thumbs and skin of the palms soft. Create a ‘dome shape’ with your hands when folded together
● Individuals can also keep the hands folded in front of the forehead or slightly above and in front of the crown of the head
● Practitioners can also practice the pose in a sitting and squatting position. For seated Prayer pose (come into cross-legged position, join the hands in front of the heart and rest the elbows to the sides). For a squat Prayer pose, from standing position, separate the thighs hip-width apart, bend the knees, and sink the hip low towards the floor. Keep the hands in Anjali Mudra at the center of the chest
Reverse Pranamasana Instructions:
● Begin in Mountain Pose
● Relax the shoulders
● Take your arms backward from the sides
● Press the hands together in Anjali Mudra
● As you inhale, turn the fingers in an upward direction
● You can keep your knees slightly bent in the pose
● Upon exhalation, turn the fingers downward and release the pose
Health Benefits of Pranamasana:
1. Fosters Harmony: In the Pranamasana, the hands are folded in Anjali Mudra in front of the heart chakra. The gesture of two palms coming together completes an energy circle in the hands and the heart. The vibrations of the energy harmonize the two hemispheres of the brain.
2. The Stretch Effect: In the reverse Prayer pose, you fold your hands at the back in Anjali Mudra. So, the movement of taking the arms backward gives a stretch to shoulders and pectoral muscles. The stretching effect contributes to improved pecs (pectoral muscles) encouraging proper posture and chiseled muscles.
3. Strengthens Nervous System: The mental health benefits of Prayer pose are quite alluring. When you stand straight with hands folded and eyes closed, the Prayer Pose becomes a meditative asana that has a tranquil effect on the mind.
4. Amplifies Digestion: When the Pranamasana is done in a squat position, the health benefits of Prayer pose such as improved digestion and flexible hips are definite. The squat engages the abdominal muscles that help in amplifying the digestion process. And the manner in which you sit in the squat facilitate opening of the hips.
5. Postural Alignment: The upright stance and pressing of the hands together result in alignment and balance. The spine gets stretched that improves posture. The Anjali Mudra centers the body and mind. Therefore, body balancing is one of the prime health benefits of Pranamasana.
6. Opens the Heart Chakra: The Anahata Chakra (Heart Chakra) is the spiritual center of the body. The pressing of the hands together in front of the heart opens the Heart Chakra. Om is the mantra to chant for harmonizing the rhythms of the heart in the body.
7. Proper Prana Flow: Due to the elongation of the spine and stretching of the body muscles, the pose encourages an efficient flow of prana within the body.
Induce a state of harmony, tranquility and awareness with the Pranamasana.