Chin vs. Jnana Mudra

Mudras are powerful tools for healing and they’re often overlooked by both yoga instructors and yoga students, myself included.

This is the first of hopefully many posts about mudras. My hope is that every other Monday I will offer a different mudra and offer ways to incorporate it into your practice, perhaps in asana, meditation or in combination with a mantra.

In this post we’ll explore the difference between chin and jnana mudra. These two mudras are often used interchangeably and honestly they’re almost identical, so it makes sense that there is a bit of confusion.


Chin Mudra

Chin Mudra is one of the most common mudras… even non-yogis have seen this mudra in contemporary art and culture. Chin means consciousness in Sanskrit. In this mudra we unite the individual soul (index finger) with the supreme soul (thumb).

To practice chin mudra while seated guide the tip of your index finger to the pad of your thumb, turn the palms up and rest the backs of your hands on your knees. Chin mudra can also be practiced in asana. I enjoy practicing chin mudra in dancer’s pose, reverse warrior and others.

Benefits of Chin Mudra

  • Creates a Pranic circuit, which maintains and redirects the “Prana” within your body
  • Increased concentration
  • Increased energy and stamina
  • Better sleep patterns
  • Relieves stress and tension (Source: YogaWiz)


Jnana Mudra (Gyan Mudra)

Jnana means wisdom or knowledge in Sanskrit and mudra means seal or gesture. The thumb represents the supreme soul and the index finger the individual soul. This mudra respresents the wisdom of knowing the individual soul is one with supreme soul. The three extended fingers represent the three gunas which must be overcome: sattva (middle finger), rajas (ring finger) and tamas (little finger).

Jnana Mudra is nearly identical to chin mudra except the palms are turned down. Jnana mudra is typically performed in meditation due to it’s calming and grounding nature

Benefits of Jnana Mudra

  • Creates a Pranic circuit, which maintains and redirects the “Prana” within your body
  • Calms and stabilizes the mind
  • This mudra has a grounding energy
  • “Jnana Mudra symbolizes destruction of ego, as the index finger is held down and conquered by the thumb.” (Source: Yoga Wiz)
  • Creates mental peace and alleviates nervous tension
  • Boosts memory

Incorporate these hand mudras into your practice and let me know how it goes.

Love and Light,


Autumn Adams
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Autumn Adams

Owner, Founder, & Retreat Leader at Ambuja Yoga
Autumn founded Ambuja Yoga in 2014 to share her love of adventure, yoga, and travel with her fellow yogis. Ambuja Yoga has morphed into more than she could have ever dreamed and she is thrilled to have a "job" she loves. She is forever grateful for the opportunity to facilitate personal growth and self love through yoga while taking yogis to off-the-beaten-path destinations worldwide. Follow Autumn on Instagram @autumnadamsyoga.
Autumn Adams
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