Last week in our chakra series we learned about the throat chakra, our chakra of self-expression and communication. If you missed that post, check it out here! This week we’ll learn about the sixth chakra in our energy system, the third eye chakra or ajna, our chakra of intuition, perception, and wisdom. We’ll continue to reference a book by Anodea Judith called Eastern Body, Western Mind, available here.
In this book, Judith portrays the chakra system as a journey, taking us from our most basic survival needs all the way up to our connection with the Divine, our reunion with Source. The lower chakras deal with our internal beliefs, the heart and throat chakra with our connections with others, and the third eye and crown chakra with our spirituality.
Attributes of the Third Eye Chakra
The third eye chakra is located between the eyebrows and is associated with the color indigo and the light element. It is our chakra of clarity, perception, and spiritual connection. The anja chakra transforms the energy of the lower chakras into higher spiritual vibrations. It allows us to transcend the physical world and access the spiritual realm to experience higher states of consciousness, like in meditation.
Our perception is arguably the most important part of our lives. It determines how we look at others, ourselves, and the world. The purpose of the third eye chakra is to help us maintain clarity in perception and see through illusion. Judith calls illusion the demon of this chakra. She says that when our consciousness fixates on an illusion, our perception becomes distorted because we are being taken out of the present moment.
“An illusion is a static image, displaced in the stream of time, and is for that reason unreal. The illusion I hold of how something should be is usually an image of what it currently is not. My attachment to it pulls me out of present time, where I might see realistically. My fixation on my body ten pounds thinner fails to appreciate my body the way it is now. My illusion of how a relationship should be makes me criticize all the places my relationship falls short of that image, and I fail to see the meaning these issues might have for me.”
With the third eye chakra, we are able to sense that there is much more to the world and our lives than what we can see with our physical eyes. It gives meaning to the things that we take in through our senses. The third eye can look at a tree and understand that there is more to the tree than its physical form. The tree was once a seed which grew with each passing year of sunshine and rain, and eventually it will die and fall to the ground. The third eye sees this whole process, whereas the physical eyes see only the tree.
Things that Affect Third Eye Chakra Development
Although the chakras have independent functions, their development operates on a foundational level. Each chakra creates the platform for the next. For that reason, the third eye chakra is heavily dependent on the health of the lower five chakras. A lack of grounding, inhibiting our emotions or self-expression, and any other issue we experience as a result of imbalance in a lower chakra can affect our perception and block us off from our own inner spiritual wisdom.
“…abuses to any of the chakras – to the body, the emotions, one’s autonomy, one’s heart, or the freedom of expression – will affect the opening of the sixth chakra as we. This is the library where we store the images that link with experience. If it is full of negative experiences, then we may unconsciously censor parts of the library.”
Judith says that the third eye chakra develops during adolescence. By this time, there may already be lower chakra imbalance, but she lists a few situations that can contribute to third eye blockages even if all five lower chakras are in balance:
- What you see doesn’t go with what you’re told
- Invalidation of intuition and psychic occurrences
- Ugly or frightening environment (war zone, violence)
Shame is a culprit for imbalance in most of the chakras, including the third eye. If we were raised in a shame-based environment, we may have spent a great deal of mental energy trying to figure our what was wrong with us and monitor our behavior. This distraction takes up mental space and causes endless inner chatter that can inhibit our ability to accurately perceive ourselves and grow.
“Shame produces intense self-scrutiny. Shame-based people feel compelled to look and perform as perfectly as possible at all times. As a result, the vision is turned inward in a paralyzing cycle of self-monitoring and is less available for looking outward.”
How to Know if You’re Third Eye Chakra is Blocked
An imbalanced third eye chakra can leave us feeling empty or unfulfilled. Without connection to our Source, we lose our sense of purpose and the ability to transcend suffering in daily life. Unable to see the big picture of our unique journey, we may start to arrange our life according to the ideals of our influencers, including our own minds.
The third eye serves as our connection between the physical world and the spiritual world, and it is only from the spiritual world that we can sense our purpose and place in the Universe. Someone with a third eye imbalance may struggle with self-worth or feel out of place and alone in the world. They may lack direction and as a result, appear unmotivated.
Here are a few more characteristics of a blocked third eye chakra:
- Lack of purpose
- Inability to filter out intrusive thoughts, separate them from reality
Yoga Poses for the Third Eye Chakra
Our classes at Inspiring Actions can help quiet the mental chatter that keeps us from tapping into the spiritual wisdom that resides in our third eye chakra. As we flow together, share energy, and focus on our breathing, we take a break from the daily chaos of life to acknowledge something deeper. Our goal is not to do the best crow pose in class or to finally nail that handstand, but to relinquish the clutter that comes from the world and our minds so that we can see our true purpose and worth.
Yoga is a tool we can use to restore our connection to our bodies, minds, and spirituality. Our studios in Hudson and River Falls, Wisconsin, as well as online, offer classes for all levels of experience, including those who have never tried yoga before. Check out our full list of classes here! We’d love to see you in our studios, but below are some yoga poses you can try for rebalancing the third eye chakra. Please join us next week as we learn about the final chakra in our system, the crown chakra or sahasrara.