Jnana (a Hindu Goddess, power) + mudra (gesture)
Ayurvedic Elements – Ether, Air, Fire
Hand mudras are gestures that are used to deepen your meditation and redirect the energy in the body. Each of our fingers is connected to a certain element and energy channel, and we can use them to receive a specific effect.
Today, we will talk about Jnana Mudra, also known as a mudra of knowledge. Its main purpose is to increase our wisdom, bring a sense of peace and help us communicate better.
When we’re talking about wisdom and knowledge in the case of mudras, we are referring to divine knowledge, the truth of our own being and the world around us.
Jnana mudra is similar to Chin Mudra – the shape is the same, but in the case of the Jnana Mudra the hands will face downwards while they are facing up in Chin Mudra.
This creates a small difference in their effect – Jnana Mudra is more grounding. Also, physically, it can be easier to hold for longer meditations.
Jnana Mudra is common in Buddhism, and is present in many depictions of Buddha. It is believed it can help one deepen their meditation and path toward spiritual enlightenment.
This mudra connects the index finger and the thumb – which symbolizes the individual submitting to the divine consciousness, or Brahman.
The other fingers represent the three gunas or attributes of nature, which are sattva, rajas, and tamas. These elements are something we need to overcome if we want to reach pure consciousness.
Ayurvedic Element- Ether, Air and Fire
Jnana Mudra activates the ether element. Balancing space within us allows us to become more spontaneous, honest, expressive, and true to our purpose.
The index finger represents air, and the thumb represents fire, so we’re also working with these elements.
By connecting them, we are able to clear any imbalances between the two, which will help us stabilize our minds, purify thoughts, and reach a deeper state of meditation.
Chakras- Third Eye and Root
Jnana Mudra is connected to Root and Third Eye chakras. It can activate these energy centers, as well as pull energy from the lower chakras to the Third Eye.
In this manner, we will feel rooted and stable, and then use that internal power to reach higher levels of consciousness, and gain deeper insight and wisdom.
Meridians- Pituitary and Pineal Glands
The Chinese Meridian System talks about acupressure points on the thumb, which are related to the Pineal and Pituitary glands.
By pressing the thumb, we can balance these glands and the levels of related hormones.
Chinese system teaches the pituitary gland is the main gland of the endocrine system. If it doesn’t function well, it leads people to become “evil” – to lie, bully and cheat. But if it is in balance, it can lead one to become more creative and clever.
The malfunction of the pineal gland, on the other hand, leads to weight gain as well as excessive sexual activity. When in balance, it can rejuvenate our bodies and improve our willpower and wisdom.
Jnana Mudra Benefits
- Traditionally, the main benefit of this mudra is that it helps students who are seeking truth and spiritual enlightenment.
- Strengthens memory and concentration with continuous practice.
- Helps the student clear their mind from overthinking.
- Leads to deeper sleep and combats insomnia.
- Balances the nervous system, which brings a sense of calm to the body and mind.
- With continuous practice, reduces anxiety, stress, anger, and laziness.
Avoid the mudra if you are struggling with any injury in the hands or wrists. Traditionally, the mudra is also not recommended to those who are feeling very anxious or jittery, and they are instructed to perform some yoga poses first.
How-To Perform Jnana Mudra
1. Begin sitting in your favorite pose for meditation.
2. Close your eyes and take a moment to slow down your breath and thoughts.
3. Now place your hands on the knees and open your fingers.
4. Press the front side of the index finger at the root of the thumb. You can also join the tips of these two fingers.
5. Keep all your fingers extended, but soft, and turn your palms downwards.
6. Hold the mudra and continue your meditation for as long as comfortable.
Before you open your eyes, rub your hands together to release tension and warm them up, and place them over your eyes. First, open your eyes into the palms, then slowly open the palms.
When to use Jnana mudra
- Jnana mudra was traditionally used in Buddhism to help one sit in meditation for longer, as it slows down the mind. You can also use it for this purpose.
- Sit in any meditative posture which allows you to stay still during your meditation.
- Since Om represents universal consciousness and is believed to be the sound of the universe, you can chant this mantra to get deeper into your meditation.
- There are no specific breathwork techniques related to Jnana mudra. Instead, strive to remain aware of your breath, and keep it slow and soft.
Where & When
- To reap the biggest benefit of this mudra, it’s recommended to practice it for at least 15 minutes at a time, if that’s available to you.
- You can repeat your practice several times a day.
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.