Hakini Mudra is the mudra of the brain—it is said to enhance memory and concentration.
- Sit any way that is comfortable for you; kneeling or cross-legged is fine. Bring hands together in front of you, fingers spread.
- Reach the palms of the hands away from one another until just the fingertips of all five fingers are touching their right and left counterpart.
- Close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths, concentrating on how your right fingertips feel touching your left and vice versa.
Tree Pose with Hakini Mudra
Balancing postures requiring focus, but adding hakini mudra to tree pose requires all of your brain to be in the present, leaving no time for it to stray.
- Begin standing in mountain pose. Transfer weight to right foot, bending the left knee so the hip opens up.
- Keeping hip open, place the bottom of your left foot on the inside of your right thigh or shin (not the knee).
- Bring hands together at the chest in a prayer, then slowly reach the palms of your hands away from one another until just the fingertips of all five fingers are touching for hakini mudra.
- Keep your core tight and draw shoulders down and together on your back.
- Breathe here for at least 5 deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Unless you want to fall flat on your face, these dancer dips will require all of your focus.
- Start standing with feet together; shift weight onto right leg.
- Bend left knee and grab the inside of left ankle with left hand.
- Gently lift left leg, pressing your ankle into your hand to open the back. Reach right arm straight up to form dancer pose.
- Keeping left leg as is, reach right fingertips to the ground. Return to dancer pose. That’s one rep.
- Do 5 reps, then repeat on other side.
Crouching Eagle Pose
Eagle pose is said to improve balance, concentration, and focus. This crouching variation requires even more focus as you make your body extremely compact and, if you like, place your thumb on your third eye which is known to be the home of intuition.
- Start standing, hugging the right knee to your chest and allowing a bend in the left knee.
- Wrap right leg around left leg, hooking right foot on the side of your left leg.
- Wrap right arm under left arm and press palms together, fingertips facing up to form eagle pose.
- Sit down low while keeping hips square, and lift up through the elbows and fingertips.
- Hinge forward at waist and reach elbows in front of knees. Forearms should be parallel to the ground and fingertips reach away from your face. If possible, connect at least one thumb to your third eye center.
- Hold for 5 deep breaths. Slowly unwind and repeat on other side.
Stay on your toes to keep your mind as sharp as your body.
- Begin standing, balancing your weight on the right leg and lifting left foot into right hip crease.
- Reach left knee toward ground. Hold here for 2-3 breaths.
- Keeping left foot where it is, soften your leg and fold forward.
- Place fingertips on the ground and start to bend through your right leg, coming high onto the ball of your right foot and balancing on your right heel.
- One at a time, take hands to center of chest and try to balance. Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat on other side.
Nothing says “be in the here and now” quite like a handstand practice. Whatever variation you are working on (at the wall, split leg, straight up), you will need to breathe and be focused on your body so that your brain has no chance to be elsewhere. (Not quite there? Here’s 9 yoga poses to help.)
- From a forward fold, press palms firmly into the ground, about a foot and a half in front of feet, shoulder-distance apart.
- Lift left leg toward the ceiling, coming high onto the ball of right foot.
- Using left leg to lift you, transfer weight onto hands or take little hops off right foot until you are upside down or against the wall, keeping legs split.
- Engage shoulder blades down and together on your back, and press into fingertips.
- Internally rotate thighs toward one another, and lift legs to meet one another in the air. Hold for 3-5 deep breaths.
- Pro tip: Point your toes once in full handstand position, as keeping energy in your toes will help you stay balanced.