Gyan Mudra: Benefits, Meaning, Science & Practice

“Gyan Mudra (Mudra of Knowledge) is a yoga that focuses on connecting you to the wisdom of knowing your soul.”

Peace, serenity and contentment are the precious entities we all seek for. And, no doubt, the ancient practices and scriptures are loaded with a huge collection of various remedies that bring us overall growth in all aspects – health, wealth and spirituality. And, among them all, is yog mudras. Let’s specifically dwell into one of the most practised mudras (gesture) – Gyan Mudra.

What is Gyan Mudra Meaning?

In Sanskrit – Gyan means wisdom, and mudra is a seal or a symbolic gesture. It is a yoga hand gesture that is performed to concentrate the mind during meditation. Gyan Mudra & Meditation thus go hand-in-hand. This mudra of knowledge emphasises that knowledge comes when the mind is steady and focused.

Looking in the past, Gyan Mudra is a power-packed mudra that is practised for hundreds and thousands of years by yogis and sadhus to attain peace, tranquillity and spiritual aspect. You can find that numerous spiritual gurus such as Guru Nanak, Jesus Christ, Gautum Buddha and Mahavir have regularly practised this hand gesture. Not just limited to spiritual benefits, Gyan Mudra also brings you the league of various health benefits, turning it out to be the most practised yoga mudra among all.

Scientific Analysis of Gyan Mudra

Basically, our body is made up of five elements – air, water, fire, ether and earth. And according to theory, the five fingers represent and hold the quality of these five elements.

When it comes to Gyan Mudra, the air and the fire elements are combined as we bring the index fingertip in contact with the thumb. Literally, the focusing and calming effects of Gyan mudra are all because of these two elements’ culmination.

The air element aids in the entire nervous system’s work process and parallelly facilitates the refractive movements in our nerves and thoughts. Also, the Gyan Mudra enables the easy flow of air element. Therefore, it is also known as Vaayu Vardhak Mudra. Moreover, as the inflow of air increases, it boosts memory.

The other element – fire in Gyan Mudra is to stabilise the unsteady movements in the air or your thoughts. Primarily, it means to balance your thought process while maintaining the supply of creative thoughts. Finally, the fusion of the two elements – air and fire develop a positive effect on your mind which ultimately leads to increased focus.

How to Do Gyan Mudra Yoga?

Step 1: Sit in a comfortable position in a meditative posture. You can sit on the mat spread on the floor in either of the two Gyan mudra asanas,  padmasana or sukhasana, or sit on the chair with your spine straight.

Step 2: calming yourself; bring your hands on the knees, and rest them with your palms open facing upward and stretch your fingers gently.

Step 3: Now, slowly relax your fingers. Then bring your index finger towards your thumb, joining both fingertips forming a circle.

Step 4: Keep the other three fingers stretched out and relaxed.

Step 5: Pressure between the forefinger and the thumb should be light.

Step 6: Now, slowly close your eyes and concentrate on breathing. Focus and watch your breathing – inhaling and exhaling through the nostrils. Now, gradually shift your focus to the third eye chakra.

Ideal Time and Duration to Practice Gyan Mudra

Anything that is done at the proper timing can bring in a horde of benefits as well as can be done quite easily, and the same applies to GYAN MUDRA. Moreover, according to the studies, to leverage the therapeutic benefits of a mudra, the hand gesture should be practised at least for a period of 45 minutes.

Therefore, it is helpful to practice Gyan Mudra for a minimum of 45 minutes each day. Although it is quite difficult to hold the fingers for such a long period, practice makes it happen. At the initial stages, you can perform this mudra in 3 shifts of 15 minutes. Gradually, it will be easier for you to keep fingers in Gyan Mudra for an extended span of time when practised along with PRANAYAMA breathing exercises like kapalbhati and Ujjayi. 

Ideally, morning time is considered as the best period to practice GYAN MUDRA, which needs to be followed by PRANA MUDRA for 15 minutes.

Things NOT To Do

When you are performing gyan yog mudra, please ensure that you join your index finger and thumb, do not bend the thumb. The index finger should move towards the thumb tip, not vice versa, where the thumb is bending towards the index fingertip. This has to be taken care of because the thumb represents the universal self while, on the other hand, the index finger represents the individual self.

Following the above simple steps, you can easily practice Gyan mudra and garner huge benefits.

Gyan (Jnana) Mudra Benefits

Harbouring the expansiveness of the universe, Gyan Mudra brings in a bundle of benefits to the yogi/individual practising this yoga mudra.

  • Seamlessly connects you to your higher self.
  • Calms the mind and dissolves all the disturbing thoughts
  • Brightens the overall mood
  • Transforms the dull energy into the radiating energy
  • Creates a more receptive state
  • Improves memory, creative thinking and comprehensive ability
  • Provides the sense of security and groundedness
  • Removes fear and balances root chakra
  • Strengthens muscles, especially of fingers
  • Helps to maintain proper body posture
  • Improves breathing and digestion
  • Helps to ease the symptoms of insomnia, diabetes, and Alzheimer
  • Aids in the process of drug rehabilitation
  • Increases the ratio of the air element, hence beneficial for individuals with Vata deficiency
  • Stimulates Pineal gland, which regulates the endocrine glands

Purna Gyan Mudra

A variation to Gyan Mudra, Purna Gyan Mudra is a part of hand gestures or hast mudras. As the name suggests, it is about complete awareness and knowledge. The effects of Purna Gyan Mudra are a little different than the benefits of Gyan Mudra. It helps you with therapeutic benefits, wisdom, and knowledge.

In Purna Gyan Mudra, you bend your index finger to meet your thumb at the tip. Leave the other fingers extended normally. The other hand stays on the knee, while the hand with mudra will stay close to your chest, palm facing forward. Hold this position the whole time.

This will help you relax muscles and declutter the brain. If you have a temper issue, this will help it. It will also help you spiritually.

Side Effects and Precautions

Primarily, Gyan Mudra increases the air element in your body. So, if you are suffering from gastric problems, then it is better to avoid Gyan Mudra as it might cause some ill effects.

Therefore, it is important to take some precautionary measures.

  • While practising Gyan Mudra, always wear comfortable clothes. Uneasy and too tight clothes may disturb your concentration and likely cause irritation.
  • In Vata dosha, the air element is already in excess. And, this Jnana mudra increases the ratio of air element in the body. Therefore, if you are already dealing with Vata dosha prakruti, it should be done in a moderate way.

Interesting Fact to Know:

It is quite surprising to know that the index finger represents your individual consciousness and the thumb represents the universal consciousness. The individual self – the index finger has a limited perspective, whereas the thumb – the universal self has the limitless expanded perception. And, when the two join, the limited self is connected and merged into the spaciousness of the universal self.