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 1, 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 2 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 3.
- 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.
- mudra time duration https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5934951/
- The ‘Magic’ Touch– The Simple Guide to Acupressure from Your Own Home https://www.longdom.org/open-access/the-magic-touch-the-simple-guide-to-acupressure-from-your-own-home-2157-7595.1000177.pdf
- Air Element: Too Much or Too Little https://www.liveabout.com/air-element-too-much-too-little-206670