Keeping the centre of the palms soft, touch the pads of the thumb and index (first) finger together, keeping the other fingers long but gently curving. With the palms facing up this is jnana mudra (gesture of consciousness), when the palm is turned down it becomes chin mudra (gesture of knowledge).
In Mudras, Gertrud Hirschi says:
‘The closed circle of the index finger and thumb depict the actual goal of yoga – the unification of Atman, the individual soul, with Brahman, the world soul.’
Lying supine, either with knees bent or legs long, bringing the hands into jnana mudra with the backs of the hands resting on the floor, can help with maintaining focused awareness.
Used in a standing balance, jnana mudra can help bring focus to the mind and stability to the body. In natarajasana I bring the mudra to the breastbone (a) and then up towards the ceiling (b). Tilting forwards, bring the palm upwards as if offering a gift (c).
Start in jnana mudra with the backs of the hands resting on the thighs; follow with chin mudra, turning the palms downwards. At times the hand position is in the foreground of attention, and at other times the breath becomes the central point of focus, but the contact of thumb and index finger remains a constant presence.
With thanks to Dominique Moorsom for her inspiring teaching.