Definition - What does Jnana Mudra mean?
Jnana mudra is a sacred hand gesture or ‘seal,’ used during yoga and meditation practice as a means of channeling the flow of vital life force energy known as prana. Known as the gesture of consciousness, jnana mudra is one of the most widely used, particularly during meditation practice.
The name is derived from the Sanskrit jnana, meaning “wisdom” or "knowledge" and mudra, meaning "gesture." It is a hasta mudra, which means it is performed using the hands.
To practice this mudra, the index finger is tucked under the tip of the thumb to form a circle, with the remaining three fingers extended. The back of the hands can rest on the thighs or knees, with palms facing upward. Although jnana mudra can be practiced in any yoga asana, it is most commonly used in a stable seated position such as sukhasana (easy pose) or padmasana (lotus pose). A variation of this gesture is to touch the tip of the index finger and thumb together, thereby forming a full circle.
For maximum benefits, this mudra should be practiced during meditation for at least 15 minutes, 2-3 times per day. Whilst practicing jnana mudra, the body should be alert but relaxed, with little to no strain in the arms or extended fingers.
This mudra may also be called chin mudra.
Yogapedia explains Jnana Mudra
Jnana mudra is ancient and highly symbolic, practiced across various religious and spiritual traditions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and yoga. The thumb is believed to symbolize Brahman, or universal consciousness, whereas the index finger symbolizes jivatma or the individual self.
The connection of the thumb and index finger in jnana mudra, therefore, represents the union of the supreme and inner realities. The remaining three fingers represent the three qualities, or gunas, of nature: sattva, raja and tamas (balance, action and inaction).
According to Ayurveda, jnana mudra can be used to balance the elements of agni (fire) and vayu (wind) within the body. Practicing this mudra during meditation helps to still and stabilize the mind, in turn promoting concentration and deeper states of meditation.
It is believed that the connection of the index finger and thumb allows prana to circulate freely, rather than dissipating into the environment. By directing energy inward, jnana mudra allows practitioners to sit in meditation for longer periods of time.
In addition to sharpening concentration, jnana mudra is believed to have a wide variety of benefits for overall health and wellbeing, including:
Restoring peace of mind.
Enhancing connection to spirituality and the higher self.
Lifting dull energy and brightening mood.
In addition to its use in meditation, jnana mudra may be used to help enhance the effects of mantra chanting and asana practice.
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