This month as we continue to move up the Chakras, we’ll arrive at the 6th Chakra, the Ajna Chakra. Often called the Third Eye because it is located between and slightly above the eyebrows and is associated with our sense of perception. Ajna translates into English as “command” or “to perceive” so it’s kind of like our all-seeing, all-knowing command centre. The qualities of this Chakra include a good sense of intuition, mental clarity, intelligence, spirituality, learning, and wisdom. Its often described as our sixth sense, those moments when you’re not quite sure how you knew something was about to happen or had already happened, you just sensed it. It could be as simple as looking up from your phone before bumping into someone or you might have had that eerie feeling while visiting the site of the World Trade Centres after 9/11 or the concentration camps. On a more subtle level, this Chakra gives you clarity of thought and deep inner knowledge where you simply trust yourself more and move in a direction that fulfills you.
The element of the 6th Chakra is light. We can think of this Chakra as illuminating the path before us and that light is coming from inside you, radiating out from the 3rd Eye Centre without the tarnished filter of judgment, free from the pain of the past and/or our expectations of the future. It is also said that the wisdom and light that comes from this Chakra helps to bring life and balance to all the other Chakra’s.
The colour of the Ajna Chakra is indigo, the deep purple-blue tone of indigo is associated with wisdom and deep knowing. The beauty of the wisdom and knowledge that this Chakra brings is the ability to notice your thoughts, thought patterns, or/and your natural reaction to something and then be able to question it with curiosity rather than annoyance or judgment of yourself. Simply asking yourself “Why did I feel that way?”, or “Why did I react the way that I did?” These simple questions can be quite powerful for you to understand yourself better or simply to get yourself out of a bad mood quickly. Just the other day while doing my weekly shop one of the staff said “Excuse me can I get past you please?”, he had a big store trolley with him. I felt so annoyed because I had to move my trolley forward and to the side. Thankfully almost immediately I laughed at myself, asking “Why did you get annoyed, he didn’t bang into you, he was polite and said excuse me?!”. I just wanted a leisurely shop and figure out what to have for dinner over the next week without having to move for anyone, how ridiculous is that? Because I questioned my poor initial reaction, I didn’t get into a bad mood, however, I believe if I hadn’t questioned myself I could have easily been in a bad mood for the rest of the day. So know that although this Chakra has the ability to bring us closer to enlightenment if that is your goal, enlightenment doesn’t have to be your goal, you could simply wish to live a life guided by your inner knowledge, trusting yourself, and laughing at your silly reactions and humanness.
Signs that the Ajna Chakra is out of Balance
Here are some of the mental or emotional feelings that you may experience when the 6th (Ajna) Chakra is blocked.
- You may feel lost or adrift
- You can lose connection with your inner wisdom
- You may feel stuck in day to day life
- Unable to look beyond immediate problems or your own opinions
- Find it difficult to see the bigger picture
- Mentally foggy, anxious or depressed
- Your mind may constantly be in overdrive
- Increased impatience
- Lack of focus and purpose
- Struggle to reach goals due to self doubt or narrow mindedness
Physically an imbalance may show up as:
- Eye Strain
- Headaches / Migraines
- Clogged Sinus
- Hearing issues
- Hormanol imbalance
- Memory issues
Most often imbalances of the Ajna Chakra come from the Chakra being underactive or blocked. It is rare to see an overactive 3rd eye due to the pressures of modern daily life, although it can happen. People who experience an overactive 6th Chakra might experience hallucinations or increased paranormal experiences and are completely disconnected from the real world. This is one of many reasons why we work with the 3 lower physical Chakras first to ensure that we are grounded.
How Can We Help Keep The Ajna Chakra in Harmony
Patience is a great virtue to have when trying to heal the 3rd eye because it requires a great deal of self-awareness, and self-awareness requires patience and kindness. Self-awareness is important for the Ajna Chakra so that we can more easily listen to our inner wisdom without our untamed thoughts clouding our vision with self-limitations and negativity. Journaling our thoughts and thought patterns can be helpful for this purpose.
Another way to help maintain equilibrium in the Ajna Chakra is when you are making life decisions – be mindful to make them with equal parts emotion and logic by tuning into your intuition.
Meditation is a great way to help maintain balance in this Chakra, like all the spiritual chakras.
Mantras are a simple but effective way to help re-wire the thoughts running through your mind.
Yoga asana practice can help to quieten the niggles in the physical body so you feel more comfortable in mediation and of course, mantras or affirmations can be filtered throughout the practice.
Yoga’s Contribution to a Healthy 3rd Eye Centre
To help bring or maintain balance into the Ajna Chakra there are a few things that we can consider:
The location of the Chakra, which in this case is the forehead and the eyes, so we want to think about how we can stimulate this area. We can physically touch and massage around the point either by using our hands, the floor, or a block. Applying gentle pressure is not only a great way to stimulate the 6th Chakra but it can also be a focal point for the mind. Here are some poses where we can apply some physical stimulation:
- Balasana – Childs Pose. We can use the floor to apply gentle pressure, however of the floor is too far away you can use your hands or a block. Once you are comfortable and your head is supported you can gentle rock your head side to side.
- Gardusana – Eagle Pose. You can do the full pose or just the arms in any leg position you chose. Normally in Eagle arms I encourage gently drawing your forearms and hands away from the face to open up the upper back and shoulders. However in an Ajna Chakra practice I would recommend bringing your hands towards your third eye as you gently bow the head until they connect, if you’re stable closing the eyes can have an even more effective impact.
- Janu Sirasana – Head to Knee Pose. If you have the hamstring flexibility your forehead can make contact with the shin or knee but for most of us mere mortals thats simply not happening, however it is possible to place blocks or bolsters on the leg until we can easily rest the forehead on those.
Inversions (poses where the head is lower than the heart) are another wonderful way to stimulate the Ajna Chakra because it helps to increase blood flow and circulation. Here are some of the most popular inversions in a third eye practice:
- Shirshasana – Headstand. You can do it in the middle of the room or against a wall, imagining as if you were looking out from the 3rd eye. The gentle contact that the head has with the floor and your hands also help to keep balance in this Chakra.
- Makarasana – Dolphin Pose. Similar to headstand but without the balance. To stimulate the Ajna Chakra, look towards your fingers and allow the thumbs to create a gentle pressure or massage to the 3rd eye centre.
- Prasarita Padontanasana – Standing Wide Legged Forward Fold. This is a more calm, cooling pose that also helps to stimulate the 6th Chakra, in addition to the extra blood flow you could also place a block under your head if it doesn’t make contact with the floor.
There are many other asanas that you could use, it’s more about the way you use them and the intention behind them more than the pose themselves.
Mantras and affirmations are a wonderful way to bring your intention alive. Here are some that I like:
- I trust my inner wisdom
- My intuition guides me on the right path
- I feel balanced and aware
- I allow my higher self to be my daily self
The Bija seed mantra for this Chakra is “OM” or “AUM” pronounced (AH – OH – M). This seed mantra can be done at the beginning of or/and at the end of practice.
It’s nice to start the class with a little seated mediation, allowing your inner awareness to rest on the 3rd eye centre, if you like you could add in one of the affirmations however it’s not necessary and you can see how you feel when you sit down to practice, allowing yourself to be guided by your intuition and inner wisdom as you practice.
Pose Focus for the Ajna Chakra
Garudasana – Eagle Pose
Garudasana is an interesting, fun, and challenging pose to play with, in an Ajna Chakra practice and I think it works beautifully, even if you can’t wrap your ankles or wrists. By bringing the thumbs into contact with the 3rd Eye Centre, we bring awareness to this energy centre. The shape of the legs (whether the ankles are wrapped or not) challenges the balance which requires focus and moving inward, blocking out the negative chatter. Honing in on our breath and inner guidance system helps us to balance here… very often we overthink, and lose trust in ourselves. Therefore less thinking more embodiment and self-trust is what I hope this pose brings you in your practice and if you’re feeling extra feisty you could always try closing your eyes!
Mental and Emotional Benefits
- Improves focus and concentration
- Balances the 2nd (Sacral) Chakra and the 6th (3rd Eye) Chakra
- Stretches the outer hips
- Strengthens the core, spinal muslces and inner thighs
- Helps to open the shoulders and upper back
- Strengthens and stretches the ankles and calves
- Promotes deep breathing
- Improves balance and co-ordination
- Low backache
Cautions and Contrainidcations
- Knee or ankle injuries – Rather than wrapping the knees you could be more in a chair pose stance
- Shoulder wrist injuries – Give yourself a hug instead!
Hints and Tips
- Start by bending both knees before crossing one leg on top of the other. This gives you more balance and freedom to move.
- Whatever knee is on top, that arm will be underneath. For example if your right knee is on top of the left knee, your right elbow will be underneath the left elbow.
- As best you can, try and point your elbows and knees forward.
- Try to steady your eye gaze and tune into the breath.
- Have a look at the pictures below for and leg variations.