Obstacles do not appear in your way in order to stop you. Rather, they appear in order to strengthen and hone you and your plans. They are not your enemy. They are your secret ally, but only if you treat them as friendly forces of nature.
— Anodea Judith.
The third eye chakra, Ajna, is the sixth of the seven chakras.
Ajna translates as ‘to perceive’ or ‘to go beyond wisdom.’ The main theme of this chakra is to transcend any limiting perceptions we have of ourselves or the world.
Our two eyes see the world of forms, and the third eye prompts us to see beyond our desires, needs, expectations, and outwardly distractions.
We move beyond the Maya (illusions) at the third eye chakra and into a deeper relationship with the greater good, consciousness, and the Divine.
The third eye chakra represents our ability to express, speak, communicate, voice opinions, and bring our authentic vision and values to the world. It is where we discover the ability to transcend the ego and move to a higher consciousness where trust, intuition, acceptance, and clairvoyance guide our actions.
At the third eye, we practice listening to our intuition through meditation to allow the answers to arise naturally.
Ajna chakra reminds us that we can balance self-doubt and questioning with a deep appreciation for honoring our instincts and trust in our process. This chakra asks us to deepen our understanding and acceptance of the world precisely as it is, so we might see how we belong and interact with the world around us.
Keep reading to see the third eye chakra themes, blockages, imbalances, yoga classes, and questions.
Third Eye Chakra Themes
The color for the third eye chakra is indigo blue. The sound for the third eye chakra is Om, the primordial sound that connects all beings.
Om connects us to our deeper seat of wisdom and higher consciousness.
The element for this chakra is light to express the clairvoyance and intuition possible when we let go of all expectations.
The sixth chakra is at the third eye center. If you were to draw a line from one temple to the other and from the middle of your forehead to the back of your head, where those two lines intersect is where the third eye center is.
When we connect to our third eye, we see the bigger picture, step outside of our experience, and look at the world objectively versus from a subjective point of view. When Ajna chakra is balanced, we see things as they are. We can step back and examine more than just the objects in front of us; we might step back to take in the full room and explore each item’s relationship.
Many yogis believe we are not our minds, bodies, or emotions because they are always in flux.
We’re looking to connect with a part of ourselves that is unchanging: the higher consciousness or collective consciousness.
The bigger ‘S’ self is the higher consciousness, and the lower ‘s’ self is the ego. The ego, in this definition, is who we think we are, our thoughts, our emotions, and our bodies.
If we don’t stay connected to our bigger ‘S’ self, our consciousness, we’re in reaction mode versus response mode, meaning we’re not connecting to the greater wisdom that lives inside. We’re constantly in survival mode and living in the ego that’s always changing.
Color: Indigo Blue
Psychological Function: Intuition, Insight, Vision, Clairvoyance.
Body Part: Head, Browline, Eyes.
The pineal gland is the part of the endocrine system associated with the third eye. The pineal gland allows lightness and darkness to regulate circadian rhythms by secreting melatonin. Melatonin is released based on the amount of light a person receives.
Illusion is the shadow side of the third eye chakra.
Our desires, needs, and expectations color all experiences with a veil that prevents us from seeing others and events for what they truly are. Instead, we see things as we want them to be.
Working with the third eye chakra is to remove the veil that creates separation and delusions. We connect to our intuition within the body and consider the whole of humanity rather than just ourselves.
Blockages and Imbalances
The blockage around the sixth chakra is that you can’t hear or feel your wisdom. All actions stem from the ego.
When there’s an imbalance, you’re generally not grounded, lose all sense of who you are, and get lost in the ether. That’s a person who doesn’t know what’s going on.
Watts talks about this being like the bug’s eye view versus the bird’s eye view. The bug’s eye view is the idea that all you can see is what’s directly in front of you. You can’t see the bigger picture and kind of an idea. And when we’re in a bug’s eye view, we can’t see all the things. We can only see the stuff directly in front of us. So that would be a blockage.
Physical symptoms of a blocked third eye chakra include headaches, migraines, insomnia, hormonal imbalances, and problems with sight or the eyes.
Meditations for the Third Eye Chakra
To connect to our sixth chakra, we need to get quiet. I generally need to get still or meditate, or some people like to do some repetitive movement. You need to turn your brain off and just listen. Whenever I get too busy, that’s an indication that I’m not connecting to my inner wisdom; I’m lower down in my first chakra where there’s fear. That’s the ego’s job to keep you alive and protect you, but we need to observe what else is there and listen to what arises to honor our inner wisdom.
— Clara Roberts-Oss.
Ways of connecting to the third eye chakra and creating harmony would be meditation.
Another way you could connect to the sixth chakra would be through jiva bandha. If you’re doing a yoga practice, you take the tip of your tongue and place it on the roof of your mouth, where the top pallet meets the back of your front teeth. It creates a soft opening of the jaw, but it also may activate the third eye center.
When we become still and silent, we create the space to sit with our discomfort and receive our body’s messages.
The practice of yoga may be a tool to cleanse and purge the physical, mental, and emotional tensions so we can come to meditation and listen to what we need.
Take a yoga themed for Ajna Chakra:
A short Lila Flow class that opens the side body. You’ll move through leg balancing poses eagle, half moon, and standing hand to foot pose to build strength and test your balance.
A short meditation on ether, the fifth element according to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. Ether is one of five elements and the most subtle as it is everywhere and in all things, though we cannot see it. This meditation asks that you embody ether through breath and body.
A slow flow yoga class that features twists and leg strengthening with several types of pranayama including Kapalbhati, Bhastrika, Kumbhaka, and Sushumna Flossing.
Beyond Reason Slow Flow
A slow flow class opens the hips, inner thighs, and hamstrings as you progress to a variation of eight angle pose.
Questions for the Third Eye Chakra:
When do I feel connected to my inner wisdom and truth?
What activities bring me to this space in my body?
When have I experienced a moment of clarity and insight?
Do I engage in meditation, visualization, or affirmation practices?
What comes up for me when I get still and embrace silence?
How do I connect to beauty? In what ways do I seek and sustain beauty?
What do I hope to see in the world- do I act as an example for others?
How do I support the global community and the world we share?
When anxious or overwhelmed, what tools do I use to ground myself?
How do I respond to my intuition? Do I listen to my body?
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A Brief Introduction to the Chakras
Chakra translates as ‘wheel’ or ‘disk’ and refers to the energy points of the subtle body.
We have thousands of chakras in our bodies. The ones we focus on as yogis go up to our main energy channel, Sushumna, the spine, which starts at the pelvis and goes through the middle of the torso to the top of the head.
The seven chakras are located at Sushumna. The first one, Muladhara, is at the base. The second one, Swadhisthana, is just below the belly button. The third one, Manipura, is at the solar plexus, and The fourth one, Anahata at the heart. The fifth one, Vishuddha, goes to the throat. The sixth one, Ajna, is at the third eye center, the middle of the head. And then the seventh one, Sahasrara, is the top, the head, or just above the head, depending upon who you talk to.
It’s said that at the base of our pelvis sits our creative force known as Shakti or Kundalini. This is this dormant creative force that lives inside of the pelvis. As yogis, we want to ignite or awaken that energy to have it rise from the pelvis to our third eye center, where our consciousness lives. When the kundalini energy rises, it’s said that we are awakened or receive enlightenment.
When the chakras are open, the energy flows freely, and we are awakened.
The asanas and pranayamas help to move the stagnant energy that day-to-day life can create in the body. Yoga is a way to clear the stagnant energy by observing the themes and blockages of each chakra and then creating a practice to clear and move the energy.
Prana (energy) flows through the human body’s 72,000 nadis (energy channels). The Prana that moves through the nadis is also what feeds and sustains the chakras.
The body is our initial connection to the earth, and yoga is a tool to shift how we feel. We can always return to the practice- asana, pranayama, or meditation. We might use these as tools to shift states of dis-ease. The practice allows us to return to a place where we are grounded and feel a sense of belonging.