Gyan means ‘Knowledge’ and mudra is the ‘symbolic gesture’ or ‘seal’.
Gyan mudra is a yoga hand gesture performed to focus the mind during meditation. It’s also known as ‘Mudra of knowledge’ as real knowledge comes only when the mind is steady and focused.
Yoga mudras are the hand positions in a specific pattern that directs energy in our body.
Contact of Index finger & thumb
Gyan Mudra is a mystic position of the thumb and index finger depicting a gesture of supreme knowledge.
Contact of index finger and thumb represents the union of the individual soul with the supreme soul, evolving wisdom over ignorance which leads to enlightenment.
In history, different supreme souls can be seen in this hand gesture imparting knowledge. Famous Buddhist hand gesture vitarka mudra is a similar variation of Gyan mudra shows the transmission of knowledge.
It is said during the war of Mahabharata, even Sri Krishna’s hands were in Gyan mudra while imparting the ultimate knowledge of Bhagavad Gita to the Arjuna who was in dilemma because of his ignorance.
How to Do Gyan Mudra
- Come into a comfortable in a meditative posture like Padmasana, Sukhasana, or sit on a chair keeping the spine straight.
- Bring your hands on the knees, open your palm facing upward and stretch your finger gently.
- Now relax your fingers. Then bend index finger towards the thumb, joining both fingertips forming a uniform circle.
- Keep the other three fingers relaxed or slightly stretched.
- Now close your eyes and concentrate on breathing. Watch your breath entering and exiting through nostrils then slowly shift your focus to the third eye chakra.
It should be noted, when you join index and thumb fingertips in Gyan mudra, try not to bend the thumb. The index finger should approach toward the thumb tip, not the thumb bending towards the index fingertip. It’s so because the thumb is the representation of universal consciousness while the index finger represents individual consciousness. By bending the index finger towards to thumb, individual consciousness is surrendered to universal consciousness.
Some modified ways to do Gyan Mudra are;
- Index finger touching inside the root of the thumb and then keep palm facing up on knees – Known as Jnana Mudra.
- Make Jnana mudra like hand gesture and the keep palm facing down on knees – Known as Chin Mudra.
- Make Gyan mudra with both hands. Keep the left hand on the left knee and lift the right hand in front of the chest. it’s Purna Gyan Mudra.
- Instead of placing hands on the knees, place hands on thighs in Gyan Mudra. It’s known as Gyan Vairagya Mudra.
Ideal Time & Duration
According to research, to bring forth therapeutic benefits of a mudra, the hand gesture must be practice for at least 45 minutes.
So practice Gyan mudra for at least 45 minutes each day. If it’s difficult to hold the fingers for a longer duration, you can also do this mudra in 3 shifts of 15 minutes. However, it becomes much easier to keep fingers in Gyan mudra for an extended period when practiced during pranayama breathing exercises like kapalbhati and Ujjayi.
Morning time is considered best to practice Gyan mudra, followed by Prana Mudra for 15 minutes.
Science of Gyan Mudra
According to Panch tatva theory, five fingers of our hand holds the quality of five elements i.e fire, air, ether, earth, and water.
In Gyan mudra, air and fire elements are combined when we bring the index fingertip in contact with the thumb. The calming and focusing effects of Gyan mudra is all because of the fusion of these two elements.
The air element is responsible for the working of the entire nervous system and facilitates impulse movements in our nerves and thoughts. Gyan mudra increases the air (Vaayu) element, hence known as Vaayu Vardhak Mudra. An increase in air element also boosts memory.
The role of the fire element in Gyan mudra is to stabilize the unsteady movements in the air (or our thoughts). Basically, it’s meant to balance our thinking process while maintaining the sufficiency of creative thoughts. Ultimately, this combination of fire and air elements causes a positive effect on our minds which leads to better focus.
Moreover, in Gyan mudra, when the thumb tip gets pressed by the index fingertip, it stimulates the corresponding acupressure points on the thumb.
The thumb tip contains acupressure points of the Pituitary and Pineal gland which take care of the major bodily function and regulate endocrine glands hormone. Besides, in the yogic language Pineal gland is said to the center of psychic powers. In this way, Gyan mudra helps the practitioner attaining true knowledge and wisdom.
Gyan Mudra Benefits
Gyan mudra is beneficial in anger management, depression, and intoxication. It directly affects the master gland of the body, which makes it the best healing yoga mudra. Besides,
- Gyan mudra enhances comprehension ability, memory, and creative thinking by empowering the air element.
- It gives a sense of security & groundedness, takes away the fear that balances the root chakra.
- The muscular system gets strengthened when we hold fingers in this mudra. Gyan mudra ensures proper bodily movement, breathing, and digestion.
- Therapeutically, Gyan mudra is beneficial in insomnia, diabetes, Alzheimer, and condition like hypopituitarism because It directly affects the pituitary gland and the working of the nervous system.
- It helps to come out of the drug addiction.
- Gyan mudra is most beneficial for persons with Vata deficiency. Vata deficiency happens in the body when the air element decreased, Gyan mudra balance it by increasing the air element.
- Sometimes conditions like high BP and excess retention of water in the body arise due to hormone changes. In this case, Gyan mudra stimulates the Pineal gland which regulates the endocrine glands.
Side Effects & Precautions
Gyan mudra mainly increases air element in our body. Therefore, if you are facing gas problems in the stomach or difficulty in food digestion, this mudra might show some ill effects.
Here are some precautions you should take care while doing this mudra:
- Wear comfortable clothes while practising this mudra. Uneasy cloths might disturb you in concentration.
- In Vata dosha, the air element is already present. This mudra increases the quantity of air element in the body. Therefore, if you have Vata dosha, perform this mudra moderately.
I wonder if this information is in book form anywhere? Very good explanations!
Hi, I saw your website this is very useful to everyone about yoga asana’s, Thanks to you, is there any way to get a Height increase using yoga asana, right now I am 25 years if possible please let me know
Yes, you can check out this article on “Yoga for height increase.“
Is there any Mudra to control the B.P. and to get rid of taking tablets gradually.
Yes, these three mudras will keep B.P in control: Vyana Mudra, Akash Mudra, and Apana Vayu Mudra .
Vyana Mudra – Join the tip of the index and middle finger to the thumb tip – rest two fingers extended straight.
I am seeing that Gyan Mudra and Chin Mudra are interchanged or meant to be same according to this article.
The similarity in both cases the Index finger and Thumb touch the tip. In Gyan Mudra palm is facing up and used while meditating. In Chin Mudra palm is facing down and is used during Pranayama. Am I mistaken? Thanks.
You’re right about the difference in the chin and Gyan mudra. But as the formation of chin mudra is similar to Gyan mudra, sometimes it’s called as its synonym mudra, though, for a deeper understanding, you clearly mentioned its difference. Thank you 🙂
Hi Hemanth and Ashish, very well explained article. I have a question. The air element stimulates the nervous system and that helps the brain is what I understood from the article. But what happens to the fire element?
Hey Srini, the fire element is complementary in Gyan Mudra to enhance the power of the air element, yet it’s important in another way. In fact, this is the key point in all mudras; one strong element combines with others to complement it or to balance the minor one.
Understand the fire element in Gyan mudra like this; what happens when you combine air and fire, the fire becomes sharper, right? The deeper your meditation practice is, the sharper will become the fire element. While doing Gyan mudra, this is the radiance of the fire element itself that visible to us as a positive aura around enlightened yogis.
Very well explained. Thank you so much Ashish. Appreciate the help.
I read the article with great interest. In some places, you have mentioned the Mudra balances Air element; in some places, you say the Mudra increased Vayu. Which one is correct? Pl guide.
Both statements are correct. By means of saying Gyan mudra balances air element, it includes both – The excess of air element will be reduced down to the normal level and if there is a deficiency in the air element, it will also fulfill its deficiency.
I would like to practice this mudra because I have lost a lot concentration, but I have gas problems abd bloating, Is there a way to practice it a little bit?
In your case, first, do a few rounds of Wind-Relieving Pose (Pawanmuktasana) then sit in a cross-legged posture for Gyan mudra. This way you won’t face any problem and can do Gyan mudra without any physical disturbance.
Is there any “Mudra or yoga therapy” for allergically sneezing, which is chronic for patient?
Yes, there are many yoga practices which can help chronic patient relief the symptoms to allergic sneezing. The best mudra for this is Bhramara Mudra and Shankha Mudra. We will email you a detailed article on mudra therapy for allergic sneezing once we prepare it.
Sir how many days we can achieve a good result? actually, I have mentally weak how many days need to get wisdom from this mudra
The way it’s described around chakras, it becomes easier to understand that logic. Thanks for the explanation.
Is there any logic behind circular shape that formed by thumb & index finger in gyan mudra? I heard from a yoga teacher, this circular shape represents motion of prana in our body but didn’t understand what exactly it means.
There are two things you must know about prana: Prana is the root source of all energy manifests in & out of the body & mind. In the yogic tradition, the energy that generates via some means within the body always moves in a circular motion. For example chakras
Now come to Gyan mudra. The circular shape formed in Gyan mudra denotes we are giving our prana a path to move in a circular motion, within the body rather than dissipating it in the outer world.
And in another way, we can relate this circular shape with a long-lasting connection between our individual soul (represents by index finger) & universal soul (represents by thumb).