This Chakra is said to be located above the crown of the head, so is also referred to as the Crown Chakra.
This Chakra is said to be either the colour violet, or a pure white light as all the colours of the 7 lower Chakras converge. The element is thought – which is apt as Sahasrara is connected into the head, and is said to be primarily associated with the pituitary gland, and secondarily to the pineal gland and the hypothalamus in the brain.
The visual symbol is a thousand petalled lotus, with the number 1000 being symbolic of infinity.
Sahasrara is said to be…
If it is underactive you may experience feelings of depression and/or apathy, scepticism and/or sarcasm, and maybe a feeling that you can’t meditate and be “spiritual”. It may also manifest as a feeling of lack or purpose, that everything in life is just meaningless and chaotic.
If it is overactive you may feel a disconnection with earthly and physical matters and be too caught up in your head, with an obsessive relationship to spirituality. You may have feelings of superiority to others, be judgemental and critical.
However, if your Sahasrara is nice and balanced…
You will likely have a strong and deep sense of spirituality and “interconnectedness”, access to higher states of consciousness, increased understanding, and liberation from limited thinking and ego attachments. You will find spiritual practices such meditation easy to do and will feel balanced and integrated.
The theory is that through our practice of physical yoga (asanas), along with our breath exercises (pranayama) and meditation we have got our prana (energy, life-force) moving in the right direction, which is broadly speaking, upwards.
It passes through each of the 7 main Chakras, located along the spine, which are now fully open, balanced and in harmony and we receive the fullest fruit of our yogic path – union, harmony and integration.
That all sounds super easy right? I wish I could tell you that it was, and that just a few classes with me or another teacher would sort your Chakras right out! But it is a journey, perhaps a life long one…and as we all know it’s the journey that really matters, rather than the destination!
“Go inside and listen to your inner voice. Every question has an answer. Your soul is full of wisdom and knows the way.” Yogi Bhajan
Number 6: Ajna Chakra - the third eye, located at the spot between the eyebrows - is said to be where the individual and cosmic egos merge. It is the element of light, where we have moved beyond the gross elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether connected to the lower Chakras.
It is the highest feminine Chakra so it represents intuitive (and possibly psychic...) gifts as well as deep, feminine wisdom. It is also said to be associated with the Pineal Gland and the release of melatonin.
Ajna means “To Perceive” so this Chakra is connected to intuition, consciousness, insight, memory and imagination. It is about seeing beyond what is merely presented before us. It is connection to the voice of our soul and allows us to see the “unseen” and have a greater perception of our reality in order to understand our purpose in life.
“Going through life without intuition is like driving a car without side and rear view mirrors. All you can see is ahead”. Yogi Bhajan
If this Chakra is underactive, we may have poor physical vision, memory, dream recall and imagination. We may also have difficulty visualising and imagining the future.
If our Ajna is overactive we can experience too much imagination which may manifest as nightmares, obsessions and delusions. Perhaps an overindulgence in fantasy and losing touch with reality.
An extreme imbalance can also cause physical symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, sinus problems, insomnia, difficulty concentrating and poor memory.
When the Third Eye is balanced you see clearly. You make decisions with a sense of neutrality, meaning you are concerned, but not attached, to any single outcome. Highly focused, you can make the distinction between reality and dreams (or imagination).
In this weeks class we have been chanting the word “OM” which is the Bija Mantra for this Chakra. We have also been applying gentle pressure to the Third Eye area by touching it to the floor/blocks in Childs Pose, and our thumbs with our hands in prayer position (Anjali Mudra). We have also been working on relaxing the face so the energy, in theory, can travel unimpeded up to this important spot between the eyebrows.
Although we have been focussing on, and perhaps activating, the Chakras over the past few weeks, it is an ongoing process and these classes are just the first step to increasing your awareness of each of these energy centres. Through regular practice of Yoga asana, meditation, pranayama and other techniques such as chanting we endeavour to holistically start to bring openness to all of the Chakras. But it doesn’t happen overnight.
Also, maybe in the process we are feeling healthier, toning and strengthening our bodies and increasing our flexibility. Possibly experiencing more peace of mind and a sense of calm. That's all good stuff right?!
And if you haven't been able to make it to class, perhaps see if you can find 5 minutes to practice at home - a few rounds of cat/cow, downward facing dog, and childs pose is always a good place to start.
And/or try a simple meditation - find a comfortable place to sit, don't be too fussed about finding a "yogic" position, make your priority that you can sit comfortably and your spine is long. Set a timer on your phone for 5 mins. Close your eyes and start to notice your breath, just observe it coming and going. See if you can notice the pause that exists naturally between the inhale and exhale - there is a brief moment where everything just feels calm and quiet. Keep breathing naturally and keep noticing the pause, try not to hold the breath, just allow it to flow. If you find that you've been distracted by a thought - don't worry, just let it go and come back to your breath and the observation of the gap. I like to think of this technique as a natural meditation within your breath that it always there...just return to it.
“Practice and all is coming” Sri K Pattabhi Jois