The sixth chakra (after Mooladhara, Svadhistana, Manipura, Anaharta, & Vishuddhi) is the Third Eye, called AJNA. The pronunciation of this chakra is difficult for most native English speakers; it is pronounced something like “ARG-nya”.
Do you ever experience ‘deja vu’ – the feeling or vision that what you’re seeing or doing, you have seen or done before? Even though the rational part of you knows that you haven’t? That’s Ajna. Have you ever been thinking about someone you’ve not been in contact with for long time, – and suddenly, out of the blue, they contact you? That’s Ajna. Have you ever just known who is ringing you before you actually answer the phone? That’s Ajna. I think these things happen to everybody.
And everybody has an Ajna chakra – some more highly developed than others.
Ajna chakra is situated in the middle of the brain, behind the eyebrow centre, at the very top of the spine. 1 It is NOT in the middle of the forehead, as is frequently depicted. One reason, though, that this chakra is known as the “third Eye” is because the trigger point for activating Ajna is directly behind the mid-point between the eyebrows (just as the trigger point for Manipura chakra is the navel when the actual chakra is in the spine level with the navel).
Physically, Ajna is the “highest centre of command” for the central nervous system. 2
The endocrine gland for this chakra is the pineal gland, which secretes the ‘peace of mind’ hormone, melatonin, and the ‘mind-opening’ hormone, pinoline. Along with the hypothalamus, it is responsible for the sleep/waking cycle. 3 It is also associated with the eyes and seeing, with the nose, sinuses and the pituaitary gland, and of of course, the brain.
On the non-physical level, Ajna is the centre of intuition and insight.
It determines our ability to trust and interpret our ability to see what is, and to visualise what could be. 4 This is another reason why Ajna is commonly known as the “Third Eye.”
There are many different interpretations of the qualities of the chakras, as we have seen. The element seen by yogis for Ajna is the mind 5, which may be a short-hand form of saying that it is the supreme or great element – where all the elements combine into one. Another view is that Ajna’s element is light. This makes some sense to me, because we cannot saee with lights and this chakra is related, as seen above, to sight and insight. 6
The sound, or mantra for Ajna ia OM (or AUM – see earlier blog), the original primordial sound of the universe.
Disagreements about the colour of the Ajna abound.
Even the yogis don’t completely agree: some say it’s white, others say it’s silver, and some say it’s grey! The colour most commonly claimed for this chakra is indigo or purple. The colours probably vary according to the different levels of consciousness. For example, it has been said that rational or intellectual thought produces yellow radiation, while blue indicates intuition, and extra-sensory perception is shown as violet. I suggest that the yogis see Ajna as white or silver because of their much greater level of awareness than we ordinary folk have.
The symbol for Ajna shows a lotus with only two petals. These can be seen to represent the sun and the moon 7; they can also be seen to represent the Self and the Higher Self.
There is no animal associated with this chakra because, it is said, that at this level, only pure human and Divine qualities exist. 8
Persistent headaches, nasal congestion, sinus infections or problem with the eyes and vision MAY indicate a blocked Ajna chakra. Also, insomnia, vertigo, anxiety disorders, hormone problems and ‘body image’ disorders may also be related to an unbalanced Third Eye chakra. 9
Intellect, intuition wisdom and psychic abilities are all qualities of Ajna chakra.
In our Western society, the intellectuals and logical thinkers are esteemed. While the intellect and logic are related Ajna, such people often have disregard, or even contempt, for the other aspects of this chakra: intuition, feeling, spiritual faith and the pursuit of truth. 10
Some ways to balance this chakra are:
- Experiencing nature in all her glory
- Listen to or perform music which relaxes the mind and evokes images or feeling of cosmic dimensions
- Meditating with use of a yantra – geometrical art-forms, often using complex arrangements of triangles.
- Practise visualising – for example, each morning you might visualise how your day will pan out (remember to use positive ones!)
Yoga practices that are helpful for Ajna chakra are:
- child’s pose (shashankasana)
- mountain pose (parvatasana)
- shoulder stand (or half shoulder stand)
- palm tree (tadasana)
- roaring lion (while focusing on the eyebrow centre)
- alternate nostril breathing
- yoga nidra
Developing and balancing Ajna chakra is one of the main goals of yoga and of yogis. However, it has to be balanced, not only within itself, but balanced with all the other chakras. Hence, we speak of a chakra system – that is, the balancing and aligning of all the spinal chakras. For each of the chakras can be affected not only by doing physical practices, but also by bringing our attention to them.
Remembering that Ajna is related to light, let me also remind you that yoga is to light, lighten and enlighten your life.
- Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha (1996), Yoga Publications Trust, Bihar, India. p.519.
- Shalila Sharamon & Bodo J. Baginski, The Chakra Handbook (1997), Lotus Light Publications, Wilmot, USA. p.16.
- Dr Rishi Vivekananda, Practical Yoga Psychology(2005), Yoga Publications Trust, Bihar, India. P.97.
- Antoinette Gomez, Chakra Mindset(2016), Exhale Publishing, Canberra, Australia.
- Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, Yoga in Daily Life: The System(2000), European University Press, Vienna, Austia. p.114.
- Betsy Rippentrop & Eve Adamson, Complete Idiot’s Guide to Chakras(2009), Alpha Books, New York, USA. P.180.
- Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha (1996), Yoga Publications Trust, Bihar, India.
- Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, Yoga in Daily Life: The System(2000), European University Press, Vienna, Austia. p.411.
- Antoinette Gomez, Chakra Mindset(2016), Exhale Publishing, Canberra, Australia. P.117.
- Dr Rishi Vivekananda, Practical Yoga Psychology(2005), Yoga Publications Trust, Bihar, India. P.137.