At Ajna, the 3rd eye Chakra, we find inspiration and receive visions that we then manifest in the lower Chakras. Ajna means "command" or "perceive." Thought to be located at the center of the brain, the 6th Chakra is associated with memory, sight, perception, and wisdom. It's element is light and it is physically represented at the pineal gland, said by Descartes to be "the seat of the soul," where variations in light are translated to hormonal messages relayed throughout the autonomic nervous system. In other words, the Pineal gland helps to regulate our wake/sleep cycles and circadian rhythm. In some reptiles, this gland is known as the parietal eye and is actually a light-sensitive organ at the top of the head, in effect a true 3rd eye.
When the 6th Chakra is blocked, we can experience confusion, headaches, dizziness, and an unhealthy attachment to logic. However, our mind is one of our greatest tools for activating this center. Yoga Sutra II.26 says "the means to liberation is uninterrupted discernment (viveka)" Edwin Bryant's interpretation says that "complete liberation occurs only when intelligence first provides discrimination and then ceases to act altogether." Intelligence helps us see things clearly and access insight, but knowing when to let go of logic and simply be is really what gives us space to access cosmic vision. The physical gift of sight allows us to behold the beauty of creation, yet this subtler inner sight helps us integrate and appreciate what we see.
Physical Practice: Begin sitting in Virasana, with a block in between the heels and the knees together. Rapidly rub the palms of the hands together until you feel heat building. Cup the palms over the eyes and let the darkness wash over you and the warmth sooth the muscles around the eyes. Notice a sense of relief as the eyes are able to completely rest away from lights, screens, and the seemingly constant visual information this culture churns out. Visualize an indigo night sky surrounding you and let your mind empty into the darkness. Breathe.
After a few minutes, release the hands, gently open the eyes, and roll forward onto hands and knees. Lower down to the belly. Stack one hand on top of the other with the elbows winged out to the side. Let the forehead rest on the back of the hands in crocodile pose. Notice the soothing pressure at the center of the forehead, in between and slightly above your brows. Take slow deep breaths into the space at your 3rd eye. Return your attention to the darkness and to your own inner wisdom. Breathe. Notice if any images arise from the darkness. Breathe. What does the light bring? Colors, form, patterns? Breathe. Trust that whatever emerges originates from a place of insight, that it is your perception of this particular moment's truth.
Essential Oils: Balsam fir to improve mental clarity; Cypress for concentration; Marjoram to release mental tension and obsessive thoughts; Peppermint for focus and to ease head and/or neck tension; and Patchouli for perspective.