Chinmaya (awareness) + mudra (gesture)
Ayurvedic Element – Fire and Air
Chinmaya mudra is an hasta mudra that is mainly used to help one reach a deeper state of meditation.
The name itself would be literally translated as a gesture of awareness, as the mudra helps the practitioner become more aware of their breath, which allows the energy to freely flow in the body.
For this reason, you may turn to Chinmaya mudra whenever you struggle to calm your thoughts and need additional help to turn your attention inward.
It will help you overcome overthinking, which will also make your body more balanced and relaxed.
By helping you turn inward and observe your own emotions and mental patterns, it may help you accept and overcome your worries and fears.
Becoming more conscious of yourself is one of the first steps towards greater spiritual knowledge and understanding.
By observing our own internal world, we are slowly able to combat the ego and find our true selves.
Ayurvedic Element – Fire and Air
Chinmaya mudra joins the index finger, which represents the air element in Ayurveda, with the thumb, which symbolizes fire. In this manner, it may help bring these two elements in balance.
Keeping our fire in balance may help boost our digestion and metabolism.
For those with excess fire, it may help combat emotions such as anger, restlessness, and frustration.
On the other hand, balancing fire for those who are deficient in this element may improve their willpower and confidence.
Balancing the air element may help calm hyperactivity and improve sleep in those who have it in excess, and overcome fatigue and boost energy in those who are deficient in this element.
Chakras – Throat
Although the practice of this mudra isn’t traditionally intended for chakras, some say it may release blockages from the throat chakra because it encourages deeper breathing in the upper part of the body.
Opening the throat chakra allows us to express ourselves freely, and promotes more open and honest communication.
On a deeper level, it allows you to discover your true desires and encourages you to honor and use your unique skills and talents.
Meridians – Large intestine meridian and Lung meridian
Although mudras are a practice from yoga and ayurveda, they is also related to Chinese meridian system since our fingers have acupressure points.
By applying pressure to these points, we could also stimulate the related meridian lines. In the case of Chinmaya mudra, these are the Large Intestine Meridian on the index finger, and the Lung Meridian on the thumb.
The large intestine deals with elimination – both physical and emotional. It may promote digestion, calm tense muscles and headaches, but also allows us to release emotions, which can improve our mood and make us more optimistic.
Both the large intestine and the lung meridians are responsible for our immune system, so it is traditionally recommended to work with them during fall, when we need a stronger immunity to combat seasonal colds or allergies.
Balancing the lung meridian may help you breathe more deeply and combat respiratory issues such as asthma or chronic coughing.
It is also where we hold the emotion of grief, and balancing this energy line helps release overwhelming emotions of sorrow or stress.
Chinmaya Mudra Benefits
- Traditionally, greater awareness is seen as the biggest benefit of this mudra. This awareness helps one attain deeper meditation and realize their true purpose.
- By becoming more aware of our internal world, we will also become calmer and learn to better manage stress and negative emotions.
- Stimulates the nervous system, which relaxes the body and influences other systems in the body.
- Promotes digestion and helps one overcome constipation.
- Helps in overcoming insomnia and improves sleep quality.
- When practiced for a longer time and continuously, the mudra may help increase one’s focus and memory.
The only thing you need to beware of when practicing this mudra is not to apply too much pressure with your fingers. Instead, only softly touch the tip of the index finger and thumb, keeping your hands relaxed.
How-To Perform Chinmaya Mudra
1. Begin in a seated position of your choice. You can either use a meditative posture such as Thunderbolt Pose or Lotus Pose, or sit on a chair.
2. Close both hands into fists, and place your hands on your thighs, facing up.
3. Open the thumb and the index finger, and touch their tips together. Keep other fingers bent.
4. Hold this mudra for the duration of your meditation.
Try to hold the Chinmaya mudra for at least ten minutes, and whether you’re doing it as a standalone practice or along with meditation, attempt to stay aware during your practice.
When to use Chinmaya mudra
- Since this mudra is believed to increase one’s awareness, it is a good addition to any type of meditation.
- It will help you calm your thoughts and become more aware of your breathing and body, which is the first step towards any meditation practice.
- On one level, the index finger represents the individual consciousness and the thumb represents the universal consciousness. Joining the two fingers represents uniting the individual with the Divine, so this mudra is sometimes practiced along with Om chanting which is believed to be the sound of Universal Consciousness.
- If you want to focus on working with one of the elements, you can chant “Ram” which is the seed mantra of the fire element, or “Yam” which is the seed mantra for the air element.
- This mudra encourages greater awareness of the breath so it may be helpful in any pranayama practice, including Anulom Viloma Pranayama and Kapalabhati Pranayama.
Where & When
- The same rule applies for most mudras, including this one – for the greatest benefit, practice 45 minutes in a day, in one session, or several shorter sittings.
- You can also practice Chinmaya mudra while standing, walking, or lying down.
- If you want to feel the biggest benefit of the mudra, maintain a continuous practice for at least two months.
For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Mudra Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga mudra to deepen your yoga knowledge.
Each mudra page features high-quality photos and illustrations, insights into the meridian, chakra, and ayurvedic element systems, as well as tips on how, why, and when to practice each mudra.