Third Eye Chakra: I SEE
The Third Eye, or Ajna Chakra is the sixth of the seven main chakras that we will be exploring on our Journey through the Chakras . It is located in the space between the eyebrows, above the physical eyes on the centre of the forehead, on account of which it is also known as the Brow Chakra. It governs the eyes, ears, nose, mind, brain, pituitary glands (hormones) and pineal glands (moods and sleep). The word Ajna comes from the Sanskrit meaning “command” or “perception” and this chakra is regarded as the perception or command centre that controls all higher mental activities.
Light is the element most associated with the Ajna chakra, but some references say it is Time and others consider it to be all elements combined.
This chakra is a spiritual chakra, which means “beyond wisdom,”. It will lead you to an inner knowledge that will guide you if you let it. The Third Eye is about seeing beyond the physical, governing elements such as intuition, dreaming, imagination, visualisation, concentration and focus. It holds the gift of seeing both inner and outer worlds. The energy of this chakra allows us to access our inner guidance that comes from the depths of our being. It allows us to use intuition and insight instead of judgement based solely on our physical senses. It is about reconnecting to the wisdom that is available to us from within. Connecting with our inner selves and opening the gateway to creativity.
The Third Eye chakra is symbolised by the colour Indigo (a blue-purple colour) and is represented by a lotus flower with two large (often depicted as white) lotus petals.
When your Third Eye Chakra is in balance, you are able to concentrate and focus as needed. You can imagine something and bring that idea into reality, and you have a strong sense of intuition. When your third eye is open, you not only see but you also understand. An open sixth chakra can enable clairvoyance, telepathy, lucid dreaming, expanded imagination, and visualisation.
If your Third Eye Chakra is out of balance, this can result in judgement issues, confusion, lack of concentration or discipline, and lack of touch with reality. When this chakra is not balanced you may feel non-assertive, afraid of success, or go the opposite way and be egotistical. Physical symptoms may include headaches, nightmares, eyestrain & eye problems generally, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, poor ability to visualise and depression.
So how can yoga help?
When we address the chakras in our yoga classes this manifests in a number of ways: the use of mudras that relate to the individual chakras which will be included when we sit in breath focus or meditation, through the inclusion of physical postures, or asanas, that specifically target the chakra in question and through the use of positive affirmations, visualisations and mantras again all focused on the individual chakra.
As this is a spiritual chakra, the third eye chakra can be opened and brought into greater balance through meditation as a first point of reference but also through physical postures.
Mudras for the Third Eye Chakra
A key mudra that works to activate and open the Third Eye Chakra is Gyan mudra, the mudra of wisdom and knowledge that cultivates a sense of clarity and insight and works to open and balance this chakra. To form this mudra, bring the tips of the thumb and first finger to touch as in the image above. To use this in a breath focus, try to keep your mind focused on the mid-eye point. Try to empty your mind and just notice the breath. If you are able to visualise colours then allow the colour indigo to fill your body with each breath.
Another mudra for the Third Eye Chakra is Hakini Mudra. This is linked to the third eye chakra, to imagination and intuition. To form bring the fingertips of the left and right hands to touch, resting into your lap, eyes closed turning the gaze gently to the area around the third eye. This mudra works to connect the left and right sides of brain and is good for memory, concentration, creates a sense of calm and promotes clearer thinking. As you inhale place tongue on the roof of the mouth, as you exhale allow the tongue to relax.
Physical postures (asanas) for the Third Eye Chakra
A yoga class themed around opening up this chakra would involve any postures that allow our energy to flow down towards the third eye, for example, forward bends create pressure in the area of the third eye and inversions allow our energy to flow down towards the third eye/head. In addition, balances are very beneficial for this chakra as they require focus and concentration. Here are a few key asanas that will help to open and activate the third eye chakra:
Garudasana (Eagle Pose):
As a balance this posture is beneficial for opening the Third Eye as it requires focus and concentration. You can also bring the thumbs to the brow centre to bring more awareness to the third eye.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog):
This yoga pose is an inversion allowing for increased blood flow to your head. Concentrate on your third eye as you hold this position.
Balasana (Child’s Pose):
This gentle restorative pose activates the third eye chakra through applying light pressure to the brow centre either by resting the forehead on the floor or by resting the head on fists. As a forward fold it allows energy to flow to the third eye.
Affirmations for the Third Eye Chakra
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Allow your awareness to settle around the space between the eyes. Just by bringing your focus and attention here your energy will flow here and help to open and balance this chakra.
Begin to imagine the eyes feeling heavy and soft with each breath. Breathing slowly and deeply, with each breath begin to feel your eyes becoming heavier and more relaxed. Imagine an indigo light around this space, with each inhale let the light fill the space between your eyes and with each exhale let this light spread throughout the rest of the body. Continue to focus on a soft indigo energy flowing in and out of the body with the breath.
Notice how relaxed the eyes, brows and face seem to be as you continue to deepen the breath. Try to free your mind from all distractions and incoming thoughts as you go deeper into relaxation.
Continue with this visualisation for as long as is comfortable and then when you are ready slowly bring your awareness back to the present moment. Take a few deep breaths, wiggle your fingers and toes and slowly open your eyes.
Each chakra has its own seed, or Bija, mantra which are one-syllable sounds that when said aloud activate the energy of the chakras. These Bija mantras have been universally used in meditative practice to harmonise one’s energy and purify and balance the mind and body. When you speak, or chant, the bija mantras aloud you resonate with the energy of the associated chakra.
The mantra associated with the Third Eye Chakra is AUM (pronounced HUM). Chanting this mantra will work to remove any impurities that may be stored up in the third eye and to clear any blocked energy that is being prevented from moving through to the other main chakras.
I hope you enjoyed this insight into the Third Eye Chakra, next and final stop on our Journey Through the Chakras will be the Crown, or Sahasrara, Chakra. Previous chakras include the Root Chakra, Sacral Chakra, Solar Plexus Chakra, Heart Chakra and the Throat Chakra.