Exploring the Chakras: The Third Eye – Ajna Chakra
By: Steph Ball-Mitchell, E-RYT-500, RPYT, RCYT, YACEP
By: Steph Ball-Mitchell, E-RYT-500, RPYT, RCYT, YACEP, CAADC
As you dive deeper into yoga's more meditative and esoteric practices, there is a natural process of clarity of vision and awakening. Just like waking up from a deep sleep, your eyes open to the reality of the world, and this awakening of higher consciousness comes from the opening of the third eye. The ajna chakra, also known as the third eye chakra or the mind's eye, is the sixth chakra in the tantric seven chakra system.
This chakra is the gateway to higher realms of consciousness and to the ultimate goal of yoga: complete liberation or enlightenment. When people discover this chakra, it is common to have the desire to engage in practices that open or clarify your third eye. Still, it is essential to remember that the chakras are in a sequence for a reason, and we must honor that sequence. As you explore balancing and healing your ajna chakra, remember to stay grounded in the lower chakras and connect to your true inner self.
In Sanskrit, the word ajna means to perceive, command, or summon. The correct pronunciation for this word is "Ājñā." When it comes to the ajna chakra pronunciation, I usually share with my students that in South India it is pronounced AAg-nyuh and North Indian it is pronounced AAg-yuh." When the ajna chakra is balanced and opened, it allows you to perceive reality with complete clarity while also summoning the wisdom of your inner self. See below for a summary of the main details of the third eye chakra.
Physical Location: Between the eyebrows
Seed Sound: Om ( ॐ )
Element: None, ether, or light
Mudra: Kalesvara Mudra
Action: Vision, perception
Organs: Hypothalamus, pituitary, pineal gland, eyes, and brain
Deity: Ardhanarishvara (Shiva-Shakti)
Symbol: A circle with two lotus petals on the sides and an inverted triangle in the center
Stone: Amethyst, Lapis lazuli, Labradorite, Opal, Clear Quartz, Azurite, Iolite, and Fluorite
The third eye chakra first develops between the age of 35 to 42. At this stage of life, you are reaching the pinnacle of differentiation and independence, and many people begin to breakdown previous expectations or perceptions. This chakra is also deeply connected with the development of the pineal gland, which some say developed when the third eye shifted physically into the brain.
Additionally, the third eye chakra represents the development of true insight, wisdom, and inner knowledge, opening the door to the divine and to higher consciousness. All of the five senses become clarified through this process, and the energetic vibrations from the lower chakras begin to concentrate and unify for transformation.
One of the most essential sense organs is your eyes, which allow you to see what is right in front of you, giving you the ability to remember your past and be immersed in the present moment. But the third eye center provides the unique ability to see the future, visualize different possibilities, and ultimately see clearly within yourself. Developing the third eye chakra allows you to shift your consciousness into a higher realm and release any attachments to worldly desires or material distractions.
The ajna chakra is deeply connected with the awakening of intelligence, intuition, insight, understanding, and self-knowledge. On a spiritual level, the opening of the ajna chakra is also associated with psychic abilities, visions, auras, and out-of-body experiences. As this chakra becomes awakened, you begin to release a dualistic version of the world and become more centered in the clarity of the oneness of everything.
It is also important to remain grounded in the lower chakras as you develop and balance your third eye chakra. Although this chakra can provide extraordinary inner clarity and vision, it can also lead to a complete disconnection or dissociation from reality if it becomes overactive. As you move further up the chakra system, remaining grounded in your lower chakras is essential to prevent any dissociation or disconnection.
It can take a long time to clarify the third eye chakra, and many people do not even reach this point. But as you begin to explore balancing all your chakras, it is crucial to remember the signs of under activity or overactivity. See below for the primary signs that your ajna chakra is out of balance:
• Indecisiveness and confusion
• Lack of focus or purpose
• Narrow mindedness
• Hallucinations or complete dissociation from reality
• Memory issues or brain fog
• Spiritual arrogance or narcissism
• Difficulty accepting or seeing the shadow parts of yourself
• Fear of the unknown
• Eye or vision problems
• Headaches or migraines
• Neurological disorders or brain injuries
• Insomnia or excessive sleep
• Endocrine disorders
• Spinal cord issues
• Imbalanced circadian rhythm
• Pituitary gland imbalances
• Sensory disorders
Have you noticed any of these signs or symptoms in your life? Opening the third eye chakra is a monumental shift in development and the way that you see and act in the world. It is vital to remain grounded in the lower chakras and continue your inner work on all levels of your being through this process.
Since the third eye chakra center is located in the forehead, any poses that direct the flow of energy towards the head will naturally awaken this chakra through the flow of circulation. Additionally, in many forward bending postures, a great way to stimulate the ajna chakra is by placing a block underneath your forehead and moving your forehead gently from side to side.
• Headstand (Shirshasana)
• Plough Pose (Halasana)
• Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
• Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
• Child's Pose (Balasana)
• Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana)
• Legs up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
• Wide Legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padotanasana)
• Humble Warrior Pose (Baddha Virabhadrasana)
• Head-to-Knee Pose (Janu Shirsasana)
The primary purpose of the ajna chakra is to clarify your internal and external vision, and meditation often has the same goal. In many meditation practices, the ajna chakra is the focal point of awareness because it is viewed as the mind's eye and the natural seat of awareness and visualization. Yoga nidra meditation often includes the practice of immersion into the chidakasha or the third eye center and forehead because it can naturally awaken visualization.
In general, meditation, journaling, and time in nature are both grounding and awakening for the ajna chakra. Another excellent practice for the third eye chakra is trataka or candle gazing meditation. This meditative practice cleanses the eyes and can awaken extrasensory perception.
A crucial meeting point between the nadis or energy pathways in the body is in the third eye center. Pranayama stimulates the flow of energy through these nadis and can help shift prana through the chakra centers and remove blockages. Any form of conscious breathing can be profoundly cleansing for this entire system, particularly for the third eye chakra.
Some pranayama practices that are especially important for the ajna chakra are bhramari or humming bee breath, nadi shodhana or alternate nostril breathing, and practices involving kumbhaka or breath retention. As you practice pranayama, try keeping your awareness on the third eye chakra center to direct energy flow.
Sound healing stimulates energy through all the chakras and can shift your consciousness to a higher vibration. Whether you engage in chanting or simply listen to uplifting music, this regular practice can open your third eye chakra center and calm your senses.
The solfeggio frequency that harmonizes this chakra center is at 852 hertz, so listening to music or Tibetan singing bowls at this frequency can be profoundly healing and harmonizing for this chakra. See below for the top affirmations and mantras for the third eye chakra:
• Ardhanarishwara Stotram
• Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu
• I am connected to my intuition.
• I am guided by higher knowledge and wisdom.
• I can see clearly without any attachment or aversion.
The ajna chakra is the seat of intuition and extrasensory perception. When this chakra is cleansed and awakened, it can allow you to see beyond the veil of illusion or maya. Your intuition is possibly the greatest tool to awakening and connecting with your higher purpose in life.
The more immersed you become in these deep spiritual practices, the less interested you will be in material things that pull you away from your true self. Within each of us is a divine inner being that guides us through every moment. The deeper you connect with spiritual practices and to your inner self, the clearer you can tap into your intuition and higher knowledge.
During our online 200 hr and 300 hr yoga teacher trainings, you will learn how to access the strength of your ajna chakra to tap into your intuitive abilities as a yoga teacher. By accessing clear perception and inner sight, you can discover your innate healing abilities and eventually guide others through this transformational process.
The path of becoming a yoga teacher is the path of living an awakened life. So, are you ready to begin the journey of a lifetime towards becoming a yoga teacher? Reach out to us today to get started in your yoga teacher training program!
Be sure to learn about the root chakra, sacral chakra, solar plexus chakra, heart chakra, throat chakra, third eye chakra and crown chakra.