Mudra means “seal” in Sanskrit. It’s a symbolic or ritual gesture using primarily the hands. Each position is believed to have a specific effect. Specific positions can lead to specific states of consciousness symbolized by the hand positions. For example, if a person frequently and with feeling does a position of fearlessness, they will also be freed from fearfulness in time. Mudras are said to engage areas of the brain and/or soul influencing them, sometimes physically, by their use—not unlike an affirmation, or reflexology for that matter.

Since this month’s chakra focus is on the sacral chakra associated with the element of water, creativity and flow, I’ve chosen Varuna Mudra. “Varuna” means “water” in Sanskrit. This mudra helps maintain the balance of water in your body.

In addition to enhancing beauty and restoring moisture and suppleness to dry skin, this mudra is done when you’ve got a cold, cough, asthma, or other sinus issues. It also alleviates cramps. Mucous congestion is always related to over stimulated nerves, inner tensions and unrest, triggered by overstraining, being pressed for time, being aggravated, or experiencing fear. Mudras, Yoga in your hands, Gertrud Hirschi.

Gertrud Hirschi suggests that when we have a cold, we are also in a rut in other areas. So reduce your workload and obligations, as well as practice this mudra as needed or three times a day for 45 minutes. Then, make a new life plan—those who suffer from mucous congestion are often too conscious of responsibility, feel everything depends on them, and/or that they must do everything alone.

How to: Bend the little finger of your right hand until the tip touches the ball of your right thumb. Place the thumb of your right hand on it. Press the little finger and thumb slightly with your left thumb, and at the same time, your left hand encircles the right hand lightly from below. The remaining three fingers of the right hand remain comfortably straight. (FYI, some references leave out the left hand completely, instructing to simply place the right thumb down on the little finger.)

Sources: Mudras, Yoga in your hands, Gertrud Hirschi,