Our third eye chakra (or Ajna chakra) is arguably one of the most important energy centers in our body because of its innate power of intuition and psychic ability. The Sanskrit word Ajna means “to perceive,” and when this chakra is open we have keener sense of perception and a sharper intellect. The intersection between the two energy channels, Ida and Pingala, and the center channel, Sushumna, create higher mental activity and ability. Our concentration and imagination are stronger and our dreams become more vivid. We can become so deeply connected to our consciousness and the world through this inner vision, that it is possible to receive messages from the past and from the future. Our observation and intuition are so heightened when the third eye chakra is open and in balance, that we become more awakened to our inner selves and the world around us.
The third eye chakra is represented by an indigo lotus flower with two petals. Physiologically speaking, these two petals represent the pineal and pituitary glands, which are activated when this chakra is in balance and open. When this chakra is out of balance, we can experience nightmares, depression, headaches and eyestrain.
Below is a sequence of yoga poses you can do daily to help become more connected to your inner vision and stimulate this powerful energy center.
The third eye chakra is located at the center of the brow, between the eyebrows. Because this chakra is often associated with the color indigo, either wear this color or practice on an indigo mat, which can help ignite this flow of energy. And because of this chakra’s element of light, it is helpful to practice outside when the sun is at its brightest, or at night near a window where you can gaze upon the moon. You can also experiment with closing your eyes during this whole sequence to become more connected to the vision inside of yourself, instead of outside. Light a jasmine or lavender (these senses stimulate this energy center) candle or incense stick or use essential jasmine or lavender oils, and take in the sweet aroma as you practice your yoga.
Begin in Child’s pose. Kneel and sit back on your feet. Lean your torso forward and stretch your arms out. Press your forehead to the ground. Close your eyes and breathe in and out here for up to 10 breaths.
Come out of Child’s pose and into Downward Facing Dog. Press up onto your heels and stretch your hips back. Breathe here for five breaths.
From here jump your feet to your hands for Standing Forward Bend. Pressing your hands to the ground, inhale and lengthen your torso. Bend your knees or rest your hands on blocks if your muscles are tight.
After a few breaths in Standing Forward Bend, inhale and lift your body up. Come into Eagle pose by bending your knees and lifting your right foot over and crossing your right thigh over your left. Hook your right foot around your left calf. Cross your left arm over your right arm with your elbows bent in front of your torso. Stay here between five to ten breaths. Repeat on the other side. The concentration and balance required in this pose will help open the third eye chakra.
When you’ve come out of Eagle pose, release into Standing Forward Bend again and then back into Downward Facing Dog. After a few breaths in each pose, release down onto your back for Shoulder Stand.
Lying on your back, extend your legs up toward the ceiling and then over your head into plow pose. Place palms on lower back and move your elbows closer in. Lift your legs up and support lower back with palms. Do not put pressure on your neck. Instead use the “tripod” of shoulders, elbows and head for support in this pose. Hold for 10 breaths and release back into plow pose and then slowly release your body onto the mat.
Come into Fish pose with your legs extended on the mat and feet on the floor, inhale and lift your pelvis off the floor and rest your buttocks over the backs of your hands. With your forearms and elbows placed near your torso and pressed into the floor, inhale and lift your upper torso and head. With your chest lifted, release your head back to the floor. Do not put too much weight onto your head as it will hurt your neck. Stay here for five breaths and then exhale as you release your torso and head to the floor.
Finish this sequence with Savasana or corpse pose, lying on your back with your legs extended out. Or sit cross-legged with your hands resting on your knees. Focus your gaze on an object such as a candle flame to improve your concentration and eye strength. After gazing for a moment, close your eyes and focus on the image you see inside your mind. Concentrate on that image for as long as you can.
When you’ve come out of meditation, chant the third eye chakra’s mantra, “Aum,” three times. Take in a deep breath and on the exhale release with this sound.
Also see: Therapeutic Yoga Poses for Menstruation
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Photo: Jessica Renae