17 Jul Chakra Series: Third Eye (Ajna)
By Adam Ruggiero
If you haven’t yet, check out our introduction to the chakra series here and scroll through past chakra series installments on our blog page. Our extraordinary guide through the practice of chakra-focused yin yoga is Anna, whose yogis will benefit not only from a deep and honest understanding of the chakra system, but also by the gnarly temporary tattoos she brings as reward for participation.
The Chakra series has ascended to the seat of wisdom, perception and insight – the Third Eye. We will oftentimes unconsciously massage the anja chakra, located in the center of the forehead, when we feel overwhelmed, overworked or insufficiently supported. Of all the chakras, it is perhaps the most tangibly felt in our everyday lives – unfortunately most frequently when it is out of balance.
Stress headaches, tension behind the eyes, spaciness – these are common symptoms of a third eye that has become clouded. On a more psycho-spiritual level, a blocked third eye manifests as a loss of our sense of place or feeling undirected moving through life.
Though it may sound esoteric, the concept of a third eye center is prevalent in art and culture. The work of Alex Grey, the pine cone symbolism associated with Egyptian and Hindu art and the (near) evolutionary adaptation of a third eye in nature are all signs that the site (no pun intended) of our pineal gland also possesses very real physiological properties.
The third eye chakra is the culmination of all elements combined to create light, we perceive this elemental light through it. When balanced and functioning, we gain insight and peace. We see the forest AND the trees. We see our place as distinct beings in a grand, near-inconceivable tapestry of existence – a definite part of an incontrovertible whole.
The focus of our yin practice was to bring awareness and intention into that mythical eye.
Try out these Third Eye Chakra Yin Poses
Child’s pose w/block under forehead – light pressure applied to third eye center to engage the chakra; awareness of our personal truth and wisdom.
Seated – rub hands together, create heat and cup over eyes and let them absorb the energy; begin to bring attention inward.
Marauding bear – use inner-knowing to guide your movement.
Dangling – bend at waist and release tension; let energy flow to third eye along with awareness.
Mountain – connect the energetic channel from the third eye chakra down to the root chakra as you feel roots extend into the earth from your feet; feel energy rise back up into sixth chakra and stability.
Tree – cultivate balance with tree pose and (outer) eyes closed.
Downdog – experience ease of physical balance.
Sleeping swan – as you bow forward in the pose, turn palms upward and release the grip of the ego; feel surrender as you press your third eye center toward the floor.
Half-butterfly – rest your forehead on knees or a block; allow deep stillness and the flow of energy between the root and third eye chakras; picture the flame at the third eye.
Fish – great pose for opening energy between the second, third and fourth chakras.
Nadi shodhana – bring balance to the right and left brain hemispheres; moon and sun, feminine and masculine.
Intuitive final pose – affirm: “I follow the path of truth. I listen to my inner voice. I am connected with my highest truth.”
Savasana w/eye pillow – deep relaxation with gentle pressure to push vision inward.
Chant OM – this sixth chakra sound helps create unity and non-dual consciousness.