The wisdom of ancient Eastern philosophy is accessible and applicable to our everyday Western lives. We needn’t be living in an ashram or a monastery or have taken vows of silence to get the benefit of practicing meditation, yoga, or right livelihood.
As individuals living in a culture that rewards fierce independence with the promise of abundance but as a result often falls short on community connection, many of us struggle with feeling isolated.
This type of conditioning also results in social anxiety and depression.
One way to bring in an Eastern practice into our Western world is through the wisdom of mantras and mudras. Another way is to utilize the practice of deep relaxation.
Deep relaxation is the most effective internal environment in which to facilitate emotional equilibrium. – Carolyn Daitch
One mudra in particular that is easily translatable to our Western culture is called Chin or Jnana mudra. This is when we take the tip of out first/pointer finger and the tip of our thumb and press then gently together. This creates a circle or tear-drop shape from these two fingers. The rest of the fingers stay outstretched or curl slightly inward. We commonly know this as the ‘OK’ symbol.
Chin/Jnana Mudra is known for calming the mind, connecting us to a higher internal state of receptivity and energy. It can also lighten our mood. The sanskrit word “chin” translates to “consciousness.”
According to Yoga Journal, in Chin Mudra:
The index finger represents the limited perspective of self and the thumb is the expanded perspective of Self. When the two join, the limited self is connected to the spacious Universal Self.
When we practice relaxation using this mudra, it can be one way to mitigate social anxiety and remind us that we can be calm and we are capable of connecting; that things really are ‘ok.’
Try it for 5-10 minutes and note any subtle or profound changes in your thoughts, feelings or body sensations. Let me know how it goes!