Mudra is a physical state of breathing, body alignment, hand and finger position, face expression, or all together, that is associated with specific awareness and activity.
While some disciplines refer to the entire body, most focus on the position of the hands and fingers.
Video - Background of the use of Mudra and Kamae for warriors
History of hand and body positions
The name Mudra is a word that has several meanings in Sanskrit, it means a seal, a body position or a gesture. Mudras, whose origin is probably in the Indian subcontinent, have a similar role (channeling and changing the body-awareness-emotion state) in all those countries that were influenced by the philosophy and religions that originated in India. In India, besides being a tool for practice it appears in the iconography and the spiritual practice of Indian religions, many forms of Indian dance and Yoga. The variety of Mudra used in each practice (and religion) is different, but with a certain overlap. In addition, many of the mudra originating in India have been used outside of South Asia, and have developed various local forms elsewhere.
The use of a specific hand and body positions to create control and awareness is common in many cultures. These range from means of a non-verbal communication to religious practice, even in contemporary religions.
In Judaism, certain hand positions are reserved only for the descendants of temple priests.
In Hatha Yoga, modalities are used in combination with pranayama (yogic breathing exercises), usually during a sitting position, to stimulate various parts of the body involved in breathing and to influence the flow of prana and bindu. In contrast to Tantric practice, yoga practice is usually an internal action, involving the pelvic floor, diaphragm, throat, eyes, tongue, anus, genitals, abdomen and other parts of the body.
In AKBAN, Mudra are used to regulate the emotional state, especially, but only, in moments of emergency.