Ajna ~ Brow Chakra ~ Third Eye
Ajna or ‘Brow’ chakra is the sixth primary chakra in the body. The Sanskrit word Ajna translates as “to perceive,” “to be beyond wisdom,” “to command.”
Our Third Eye centre is the most perceptive part of ourselves – it governs self-awareness, discernment, imagination, creativity.
Ajna chakra is located in the centre of the forehead (about an inch above the space between the eyebrows). Don’t think of it so much as a physical part of the body but rather it truly belongs to the subtle energetic body. This is our centre of wisdom and higher consciousness.
Our Third Eye chakra, as the Brow Chakra is much more commonly known, is our ‘’seat of intuition”. This energy centre is connected to our subconscious minds. It is associated with clairvoyance (seeing more clearly). The idea of having a “sixth sense” about something, comes directly from our sixth chakra.
Third Eye Meaning
As the highest chakra in the physical body (Sahasrara, the 7th chakra is actually located outside of the body – above the head), Ajna is about having a visionary perspective. Think helicopter view.
If our two physical eyes see past and present, our third inner eye reveals the future. Focusing on the third eye motivates us to be more open to communicating with the world at large (Universe!) and receive messages from our past and future selves. When balanced, the third eye chakra trades black-and-white thinking for interconnectedness. The third eye enables us to think clearly, contemplate, reflect.
Ajna is associated with the element of light. Some argue that the ‘element’ of light does not exist. In any case, Ajna’s associated sense organ is the brain.
This chakra corresponds to the pineal gland of the endocrine system which regulates our sleep/wake cycles (producing more or less of the hormone melatonin in response to light available).
The Ajna symbol is the OM symbol positioned over an inverted triangle, encapsulated seated within a circle between two lotus petals. It is the colour indigo – typically regarded as the colour of wisdom and inner knowledge. The two petals are said to represent the two major nadis (energy channels) of Ida and Pingala (feminine and masculine energies), which converge with the central Sushumna nadi before rising all the way to the crown chakra.
The seed sound or bija* mantra of Ajna is OM. OM is the essential sound of the Universe (the sound that contains all other sounds). Its mantra is “I see.”
Out of Balance
A range of physiological, mental, emotional, and spiritual problems can arise when the third eye energy centre is out of alignment or its energy is not flowing freely.
Physical symptoms might include headaches/migraines, eye strain, blurred vision, dizziness, sinus or hearing problems..
Mentally, an unbalanced third eye chakra might result in someone having issues concentrating, sleep disturbances and ‘mental fog’.
Common emotional issues are self-doubt, worry, overthinking, feeling lost, or excessively relying on others for validation or permission.
On a spiritual level, weakness in the third eye chakra may reflect a lack of confidence in one’s path or purpose. This can be because we are too rooted in the physical world to listen to our intuition or higher guidance, or alternatively, we can dwell too much in a daydream world to avoid reality. This can lead to indecisiveness, confusion, lack of focus and purpose, or even depression.
Balancing the Third Eye Chakra
Learning to recognise imbalances in the chakras, our energy centres, requires a deep level of awareness. Equally, learning how to return them to balance requires patience and perseverance.
When the Third-Eye Chakra is in balance, our intuition is strong and we listen to our inner wisdom. We give equal importance to emotional signals as well as listening to those more rational parts of our brains so that we can make better decisions in life.
An overactive Brow Chakra is not all that common as our physical reality tends to dominate our modern lifestyles. However, in unique circumstances (think a global pandemic!), an overactive Third Eye Chakra can result in feelings of overwhelm. This might be a complete withdrawal from the ‘real world’. A person with an overactive Ajna Chakra needs to spend more time in nature. Connecting to Earth and Nature calms the overwhelming energy of the mind and can help grounds us.
Writing or maintaining a journal of thought patterns or dreams or developing a meditation practice is a good response to an underactive Ajna Chakra to increase awareness and help open the third eye chakra.
The Ajna Energy Centre On the mat
We strengthen our Third Eye centre (and indeed all the energy centres) in the same as we strengthen any other muscle – through practice. Energy centres are strengthened in particular by meditation, yoga asana and pranayama.
As we saw with the other chakras, a simple way to start to bring the Third Eye energy centre back into alignment is to physically move the body in ways that directly target the Third Eye region – in other words – release tension in the head, forehead, face and neck.
Asanas /Poses like Pyramid (Parvottanasana), Head to Knee (Janu Sirsasana), Eagle pose (Garudasana) and Child’s pose (Balasana) and Fish pose (Matsyasana), all help to move and shift Ajna energy.
Meditation and conscious breathing are perhaps the most powerful tools for bringing the third eye chakra into alignment. Activate your Ajna Chakra through breathing consciously: bring your full attention to your breathing whilst imagining light flowing in and out of the centre of your forehead, cleansing the third eye of any stagnant or negative energy.
Other ways to stimulate the Ajna chakra are to repeatedly chant the seed syllable, “aum’. Or spend time practicing Nadi Shodhana pranayama which help balances out the masculine and feminine energy channels and heightens your awareness which can help bring Ajna energy back into balance.
Affirmations for Ajna chakra you might like to try
- I honour and trust my intuition.
- I embrace all my life experiences.
- I am connected to the universe.
- I have clarity and peace of mind.
- I look both inwards and outwards for wisdom.
Third Eye Energy Off the Mat
Remaining open and receptive to new possibilities and new experiences in our daily lives is a powerful way to nurture the Ajna energy centre: Whether it’s trying a new recipe, travelling a new path to walk or run, reading a new author or listening to a new genre of music. The trick is to switch it up. The feeling of growth, expansion and connectedness that comes from a widening our perspective can be very inspiring.
‘Keeping an open mind’ towards new things and others is deeply connected to widening our perception and ‘growing’ in wisdom.
Other practical things to try off the mat include
- Wear more purple!
- Surround yourself with more purple!
- Use essential oils like frankincense, rosemary, sandalwood, patchouli, and myrrh
- Introduce more deep blue/ purple foods into your diet (blueberries and eggplant).
*Bija mantras are one-syllable ‘seed’ sounds which, when they are spoken aloud, or chanted activate the energy of the chakras. They act like persistent doorbell ringing in order to waken up the energy centre that needs to be activated.