“In the land of the blind the third eyed man is king.” ~ Dean Cavanagh
The sixth chakra or third eye chakra is the seat of consciousness and as well as our “sixth” sense, often referred to as the psychic chakra. Controlling the mental activities of the lower brain (cerebellum) and the nervous system, sixth chakra is also known as Ajna Chakra, meaning ‘to perceive’ in Sanskrit.
The two energy channels – Ida and Pingala – merge with the central channel Sushumna, signifying the end of duality.
A balanced Ajna chakra is the reason why sages and saints enjoy increased wisdom, clairvoyant abilities, precognition and perception beyond duality.
The Ajna chakra is symbolized by a violet lotus with two petals. A powerful and balanced third eye chakra provides a strong psychic ability, spiritual awareness and the desire to excel further towards the cosmic union. A person with a strong Ajna Chakra has greater intuition, a strong sense of identity, and the ability to self-reflect.
When this chakra is clear we gain the ability to see ourselves and others as spiritually interconnected beings.
Yogi Bhajan said, “Going through life without intuition is like driving a car which has no side mirror and no rearview mirror. All you can see is just straight ahead”
Here is a quick guide to the Third eye chakra:
Glands/Organs: Pituitary gland, pineal gland, left eye, nose and ears
Gems/Minerals affecting it: Lapis lazuli, Azurite, Sodalite, Quartz crystal, Sapphire
Foods: Blue or Purple Fruits and Vegetables
Located at the centre of the eyebrows, the Third Eye Chakra is simulated with inversion, semi inversions, forward bends or specific meditation that are directed towards it. Wearing indigo colour clothes and stones, consuming indigo colour fruits and using indigo colour decor can be beneficial as well. The yoga sequence mentioned below, will activate, balance and harmonize the Ajna chakra.
Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend
How to: Stand in Mountain pose (Tadasana), inhale and raise your arms upwards. As you exhale, bent forward from the hips, bring hands to the sides and palms facing the floor. Keep lowering the torso and back flat, to gain extra length in the spine. Aim to touch the forehead on the shins, it is okay if in the beginning you are unable to reach there, but the intention should be clear from the outset.
Bending forward, grasp the back of the ankles and interlace your fingers for stability. Try to straighten the knee as much as possible. The head would rest on the knee or shin. Take a deep breath and slowly come back up.
Why to: Again, the tapping of the third eye, awakens the energy stored in the vortex and cleanses it. The pose further accentuates the feeling of relaxation, works deeply on the hamstring and works on the spine as well. The flow of blood is directed towards third eye chakra in this pose.
Janu Sirsasana or Head-to-Knee Pose
How to: Be seated in Dandasana (Staff pose), now separate the legs wide. Bend the right knee, draw the feet towards the groin and place the right heel to the perineum. Rest your right foot sole lightly against your inner left thigh.
Inhale and raise your hands up to gain length in the spine. Exhale forward towards the left foot, with an intention to place the forehead on the shin. The foot is flexed, pointing towards the ceiling and left thigh muscle contracted while you are going down. If you can reach the foot, grab it/ interlock the fingers behind the foot/ just hold the shin initially. Without hunching the back, stay here for 5 to 7 breaths and release gently.
Why to: The Ajna chakra is highly stimulated by the forward bending movement and tapping of the eyebrow centre. This pose offers the same benefit of increasing flow of the blood to the face, relaxing and activating the third eye. Other advantages are stretching the spine, hamstring, stimulating the digestion and cutting the flab on the waist.
Makarasana or Dolphin pose
How to: Start with the downward facing dog pose. Now, rest the elbow and the whole forearm area down on the floor. The elbow should be in line with the shoulders. Feet should be about hip-width apart. Firm your shoulder blades into the ribs and lift the shoulders away from the ears to free your neck. Press the pelvis down, so that you can fix the heels on the floor. Keep your gaze either at your feet, or in between your arms. Spend 5 to 7 breaths here bringing all of your attention to the third eye chakra.
Why to: Stretching the hamstrings, back, shoulders and arms, this is a restorative pose. Dolphine pose creates a sense of balance, as it partially reverses the flow of the blood, thereby increasing circulation to the face and brain. Relieving headache, eyesight issues, hearing issues, it is a great stress busting pose.
Balasana or Child’s pose
How to: Be Seated in Vajrasana or Thunderbolt pose or simply kneel down. Bring the hips to touch the heels in Vajrasana, inhale and lift your arms straight up. Gaining length from the raised arms, exhale and with a straight back, go down. The hips must be pressed on the heels at all times. The palm and forehead rests on the floor. Stay here for 5 to 7 breaths and release. Let the gentle pressure on the third eye sink you deeper into a meditative state. This pose can be practiced in the middle of a session and at the end, to relax and catch your breath.
Why to: The movement of touching the forehead on the floor is the key. When we touch the eyebrow centre on the floor, we ground all negativity from this chakra and tap into the positivity. This semi-inverted pose increases the flow of the blood in the brain, and restores balance in the sixth chakra.
Trataka or Candle Gazing
The flame should be at the level of the eyes so that it can be seen straight without being uncomfortable. Ensure there are no distractions in terms of external noises. Now take a deep breath and bring your awareness to the flame of the candle. Keep gazing at it.
If thoughts arise, do not fight them just simply let them be. Gradually they will disappear. Your eyes will water from time to time, blink and even close. When they close, concentrate on the after image, and hold it for as long as possible. Open your eyes and follow the process again. Continue as long as you can and gradually increase the time.
Why to: Trataka helps to improve the function of the eyes, increases awareness, focus and concentration. It activates the third eye chakra, develop psychic abilities and stimulates the pineal gland.
For those who wish to go deeper into yoga poses to energize the third eye chakra and are advance level practitioners, these poses and meditation practices can be helpful: Pincha Mayurasana or Elbow Stand, Hand stand, Garudasana or Eagle pose, Ek Pada Galvasana or Flying pigeon and Yog Nidra etc.
Seed Mantra Meditation
How to: AUM is the seed or the beej mantra of the Third Eye Chakra. Sit comfortably in an easy pose, preferably away from any support. Start by taking deep breaths and bring all the attention to the eyebrow centre. Chant ‘AUM’ loudly, and feel the chakra opening and the energy flowing in a horizontal direction, merging with infinity.
Then Chant ‘OM’ loudly, with the energy vibrating vertically from head to toe and into the earth. Repeat the verbal chant two more times. Now, repeat the set of alternate chant of AUM and OM mentally three times. Continue to chant first verbally then mentally as long as you wish.
Why to: The seed invocation is a form of a charged mantra. The sound when chanted resonates and reaches directly to the centre of the third eye chakra and immediately activates it. The beej meditation will increase the circumference of the chakra and balance it. Third Eye chakra is a gateway to higher realization. When it is tapped into, fear, anxiety, stress and lack of focus disappears.
The practitioner starts receiving the future signals and is able to listen to other’s thought and intentions beforehand. A powerful chakra those who realise its true potential are the ones most peaceful, devoted, and away from all dualities.