CHIN OR JNANA MUDRA SHOULD BE ADOPTED WHENEVER PRACTISING MEDITATION.
The word jnana means 'wisdom' or 'knowledge', thus jnana mudra is the gesture of intuitive knowledge. Chin, on the other hand, is derived from the word chit or chitta which means 'consciousness'. Chin mudra, therefore, is the psychic gesture of consciousness.
Symbolically, the small, ring and middle fingers represent the three gunas or qualities of nature: tamas, inertia; rajas, activity and creativity; and sattwa, luminosity and harmony. In order for consciousness to pass from ignorance to knowledge these three states must be transcended. The index finger represents individual consciousness, the jivatma, while the thumb symbolises supreme consciousness. Injnana and chin mudras the individual (index finger) is bowing down to the supreme consciousness (the thumb), acknowledging its unsurpassed power. The index finger, however, is touching the thumb, symbolising the ultimate unity of the two experiences and the culmination of yoga.
One of these two mudras should be adopted whenever practising meditation, unless otherwise specified.
Jnana mudra and chin mudra are simple but important psycho-neural finger locks which make meditation asanas more powerful. The palms and fingers of the hands have many nerve root endings which constantly emit energy. When the finger touches the thumb, a circuit is produced which allows the energy that would normally dissipate into the environment to travel back into the body and up to the brain.
When the fingers and hands are placed on the knees, the knees are sensitised, creating another pranic circuit that maintains and redirects prana within the body. In addition, placing the hands on the knees stimulates a nadi which runs from the knees, up the inside of the thighs and into the perineum. This nadi is known as gupta or the hidden nadi. Sensitising this channel helps stimulate the energies at mooladhara chakra.
When the palms face upward in chin mudra, the chest area is opened up. The practitioner may experience this as a sense of lightness and receptivity which is absent in the practice of jnana mudra.
Jnana and chin mudras are often performed with the tip of the thumb and index finger touching and forming a circle. Beginners may find this variation less secure for prolonged periods of meditation as the thumb and index finger tend to separate more easily when body awareness is lost. Otherwise, this variation is as effective as the basic position.
The effect of chin or jnana mudras is very subtle and it requires great sensitivity on the part of the practitioner to perceive the change in consciousness established. With practice, however, the mind becomes conditioned to the mudra and when it is adopted the signal to enter a meditative state is transmitted.
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