Yoga: A mudra a day keeps the doctor away

Popularly known as Surya mudra, this mudra increases the Agni (fire) element within the body. It can, therefore, be called Agni-vardhak mudra, too. At the same time, this mudra decreases the Prithvi (earth) element within the body.

Method: This mudra is formed by first placing the tip of the ring finger on the base of the thumb and then bringing gentle pressure of the thumb upon this finger. This amounts to suppression of element earth (residing in the ring finger) by element fire (residing in the thumb). The earth element thus suppressed, fire is able to rage unopposed

Effects: Prithvi-shaamak or Agni-vardhak mudra increases the Agni (fire) element within the body but subdues the Prithvi (earth) element. The element Agni (fire) is associated with body-temperature and metabolism. Practice of Prithvi-shaamak or Surya mudra helps to maintain the body-temperature and keeps the metabolism going. The element Agni is also connected with vision. Hence, regular practice of Surya mudra helps to strengthen weak eyes and improve vision. Agni is also a component of bodily humor Pitta. Practice of Prithvi-shaamak or Surya mudra increases the Pitta humor within the body. Therefore, this mudra can be used to overcome disorders caused by Pitta deficiency. However, it should be used only in moderation by people having an excess of Pitta. Prithvi-shaamak mudra decreases the element Prithvi (earth) within the body. It is, therefore, excellent for people having an excess of element Prithvi in their bodies. The element earth is also a component of bodily humor kapha. Therefore, Prithvi-shaamak mudra is an excellent mudra for people with a pronounced kapha constitution. They can regularly practise this mudra to prevent illness.

Benefits of  Prithvi-shaamak (Agni-vardhak; Surya) mudra:
Abnormally low body-temperature
Coldness of skin, body, limbs, hands, feet, etc.
Intolerance to cold, shivering
Underactivity of the thyroid gland causing slow metabolism
Obesity, progressive weight-gain
Loss of appetite, indigestion, constipation
Absence of sweating, 8. Certain vision/eye problems, especially cataract.

Duration :
30 to 45 minutes every day either at one stretch or in 3 parts (i.e., for 10 to 15 minutes, thrice a day).
Ideal time :
Though this mudra can be performed any time.
Precaution :
Over-performance of this mudra may cause undue heating of the body.