A mudra is a symbolic, ritualistic gesture used in yoga, Buddhism and Hinduism. The word is Sanskrit meaning “gesture,” “mark” or “seal.” Mudra is commonly known as hand positions in yoga and meditation, which are believed to affect the flow of energy in the body and unblock chakras.
There are 28 root mudras in Bharatanatyam, 24 in Kathakali and 20 in Odissi. These root mudras are combined in different ways, like one hand, two hands, arm movements, body and facial expressions. Each type is thought to have a specific effect on the body and mind by clearing the psychic centers and energy channels. Although hand (hasta) mudras are the most common in yoga, there are also body (kaya) and consciousness (citta) mudras.