Ajna chakra, the sixth main wheel of energy in the human body, has garnered its share of fame over the years. Many wisdom traditions speak of an ‘inner eye’ or vehicle for transcending the physical world; the concept has been used as a metaphor for non-dualistic thinking, the idea that one is separate from others and from the rest of the world. Taking the time to work with this center allows us to place our spiritual development on the same plane as our physical practice; in doing so, we further our knowledge of the body-mind link.
This chakra, balanced right between or slightly above the eyebrows, allows us to turn inward. It is the source of visions, augury, and the ability to look inward and access one’s spiritual nature. Generally associated with bluish purple or indigo and the image of a two-petaled lotus, this area connects to the pituitary gland. The correlated seed sound for ajna chakra is AUM, or ‘om’ as we generally chant it. Meditations on the third chakra allow us to connect with our inner selves, with our spirit guides, and with the rest of humanity. When we focus on ajna, we connect the lower chakras, and their associated workings, to our higher selves, allowing for the possibility of transcendence.
When this energy wheel works properly, we see clearly and are able to participate in spiritual practice. Conversely, when it’s out of alignment, we may suffer from vision issues, headaches, or illnesses associated with the eyes and head. We may also face mental confusion, or a feeling that we can’t access our inner wisdom or guides.
Physical postures that put pressure on the forehead and face are helpful in balancing the energy of ajna chakra. Coming into Balasana, or Child’s Pose, with the forehead resting on the mat, is a wonderful basic posture to begin with; while taking this pose, bring the attention to the area, to the breath, and to the connection between the two. Can you feel the energy moving in time with your respiration?
Other poses for this center include Dolphin or Ardha Pincha Mayurasana and Warrior or Virabhadrasana III. Because these are more advanced postures, it’s a good idea to visit them as part of a unified practice; this will warm up the muscles and allow for greater comfort. Pranayama can also be used to stimulate and tone this energy center; Bee Breath, or Brahmari, is easy to learn and comforting to practice.