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The Ajna Chakra

The sixth chakra is the Ajna chakra, but is also known as the ‘brow chakra’ or the ‘third eye’ and is located between the eyebrows. The Sanskrit meaning of Ajna is ‘command, knowledge or monitoring center’. It is the center of insight and also called ‘the eye of intuition’ and it is the place where you integrate all the information and intuition in your life. The qualities of the brow chakra are inspiration, intuition and inner vision. In the Indian philosophy the third eye is the symbol for enlightenment and also referred to as the ‘eye of wisdom’ or the ‘eye of knowledge’. The Ajna chakra has control over seeing, not only in the physical sense, but also in terms of intuitive seeing, clairvoyance and other paranormal forms of knowing. The symbolic representation and the mantra of the Ajna chakra is the syllable Ohm which represents the beginning and end of all things. The associated colour is the indigo which represents self-mastery, spiritual realization and the attainment of wisdom. Light is the element most associated with the sixth chakra, but some say it is time. The gland associated with this chakra is the pituitary and pineal gland. The pituitary gland is often referred to as the ‘master gland’, because it secretes a hormone that controls the activities of the other glands of the body. For example the pituitary gland controls your growth, skin coloring and the contraction of a woman’s uterus during childbirth.

Ajna Chakra

Ajna Chakra

Balance

When it’s open and clear, you feel deeply connected to your inner wisdom, trust and intuition and it guides you in your choices. You’re able to see yourself and others as energetic and spiritual beings and you can create your own reality by using your imagination, freedom of choice and enhanced insight. You can rely on your self-reflection, perception, interpretation, telepathy and past life experiences. An open Ajna chakra results in compassion and forgiveness. This energy center is directly related to mind. If you awaken this chakra, your mind is able to gain information by subtle means, rather than by the experiences felt by the sense organs. In general, you gain knowledge through the information that senses conducts to the brain. Though, the Ajna chakra has the power to gain knowledge directly without the help of sense organs and thereby the mind becomes purified and evolved. This requires discipline, firm belief and persistent effort. It is about understanding how training can change your behaviour to always be open and loving to everyone, not just close friends and family. There is no ego involved, instead our conditioning, habits, false ideas and misidentifications are dissolved as a result of a healthy active Ajna chakra. Notice really extraordinary people and become aware of their humble character. A great way to open and balance the third chakra is through meditation and visualisation. The sixth chakra is all about reconnecting to the wisdom that is available to all of us from within.

Cherish the humble things in life

Cherish the humble things in life

Blocked Ajna chakra

However in most of us, this ‘inner eye’ remains closed. You have a sense of self-doubt and you don’t trust your inner voice. You are convinced that there is not something like a non-material world, since this is beyond your capacity to reach. A blocked Ajna chakra can result in the following physical symptoms; migraine headaches, eye strain, blindness, brain tumors, strokes, learning disabilities, spinal dysfunctions, nightmares, panic attacks, deafness, insomnia, high blood pressure and seizures. Difficulty concentrating, memory problems, fear of truth, confusion, judgment issues, lack of concentration or discipline are also connected to a sixth chakra imbalance. If the energy in your sixth chakra is not flowing freely, you can become quite superstitious and afraid of your own thoughts and everything you can’t explain with logic. You have difficulties making decisions, procrastinate a lot about any plans made and you don’t know what you want. You strive for routine and are vulnerable to developing depression. If you third eye chakra is overactive, you may be unable to be practical in your daily life and irresponsible. You’re not connected or aware of the world and yourself, everything seems to be external and not part of you. There can be a victim mentality; you will blame everything that happens of a negative nature on someone or something outside yourself. Just as the pituitary gland is the ‘master gland’, the Ajna chakra governs all other energy centres. If the sixth chakra is out of balance, all others chakra won’t be perfectly aligned either.

The power of intuition

The power of intuition

Yoga

Postures that support the opening and balancing of the sixth chakra are Balasana (Child’s Pose) or any other posture in which the forehead touches the ground. Other helpful postures are those in which the gazing point or drishti calls for movement of the eyes such as Marichyasana (Sage Twist). Alternate nostril breathing is a supporting pranayama exercise to activate the Ajna chakra. If you are practicing your asana, pranayama or meditation, notice when your mind becomes quiet. This quiet, clear and peaceful space will allow you to experience a glimpse of the possibilities of the Ajna chakra. This chakra can shine an insightful light on your life that you were previously not aware of. You can concentrate and focus and imagine something and bring that idea into reality.

Turn inwards for stillness, peace and clarity

Turn inwards for stillness, peace and clarity

Categories: Chakra, Freedom, Inspiration, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Vishuddha Chakra

The Vishuddha Chakra is the fifth energy center and is referred to as the throat chakra. The fifth chakra is located in the throat region and communication, truth and self-expression are associated with this chakra. Vishuddha means ‘purifier’ and forms the gateway to the chakras devoted to spirituality. It governs your ability to discriminate between right and wrong, speak the truth and give your dreams ‘a voice’. This chakra also deals with creativity, learning to take responsibility for your own needs, confession, faith, self-knowledge and intuition. The associated colour is blue and the element is the space or ether. The sense related to the fifth chakra is hearing. The glands, organs or body parts associated with the Vishuddha chakra are the throat, (para)thyroid gland, trachea, cervical vertebrae, vocal cords, neck, shoulder, arms, hands, esophagus, mouth, teeth, eyes, ears and sinuses.

Throat chakra symbol

Throat chakra symbol

Blocked fifth Chakra

If your fifth energy center is blocked, you can feel anxious about how other people will react to your views and therefore it is difficult to speak your truth. You may also be unable to listen to others and to your own higher self. This can result in a lack of personal expression, creativity and faith, difficulties in decisions making, and addictions. If your throat chakra is obstructed, you can develop several communication difficulties such as lack of tact, timing and expression and finding it difficult to maintain a balance between speaking and listening. Excessive talking, inability to listen, hearing difficulties, stuttering and a fear of speaking may all be signs of an out of balance throat chakra. Physical problems which may be associated with a blocked fifth chakra are thyroid dysfunctions, throat ailments, stiff neck, shoulder tension, teeth grinding, jaw disorders, mouth ulcers, gum or tooth problems, scoliosis and swollen glands. There could be lumps or tumors on the vocal chords and you may experience trouble swallowing. A person who talks very softly and a person who talks loud and boisterous can both indicate an out of balance fifth chakra. This energy center can be damaged by all that passes through the throat including, lying, gossip, alcohol, smoking, drugs and overeating.

Do you live your truth?

Do you live your truth?

Balanced Vishuddha chakra

If your Vishuddha chakra is balanced, you are easily able to communicate with others and you are able to express the truth without worrying about what others may think. A healthy throat chakra allows you to connect with your inner guidance and to live your truth in daily life through creative and positive self expression. You are able to give and receive the truth and are in touch with your playfulness, joy and innocence. Through constructive communication, contentment, centeredness, wisdom and conscious listening you are able to reach the peak of your creativity and inspiration. So what to do to balance this chakra? Purification is a key word in terms of opening the throat chakra with the aim of achieving sensitivity needed for the subtler upper chakras. You can attain purification through a healthy diet, yoga, meditation and exercise among others. Other ways towards an open and healthy fifth chakra are literally opening up to your thoughts and emotions (including releasing past emotions), speak and live the truth, stimulate your creativity and deep breathing exercises. Become aware of all the thoughts you don’t express and the moments you don’t speak the truth. Breath in some courage to express your innermost beliefs and speak words that come directly from your heart. A healthy Vishuddha chakra will result in a fulfilling life and a true connection with yourself. You will be an excellent listener, speaker and/or writer and often able to inspire others.

Yoga

Yoga is a perfect way to purify the body and mind and thereby opening up the fifth chakra. Postures that are balancing this chakra are neck stretches and shoulder openers like Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand), Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose), Halasana (Plow Pose), Ustrasana (Camel Pose) and Matysasana (Fish Pose). The sounds of the Ujayii breath (Victory Breath), chanting and Simhasana (Lion Pose) can also be helpful to balance the Vishuddha chakra.

Shoulderstand

Shoulderstand

Towards balance

So besides speaking the truth and expressing yourself clearly and honestly what else can you do to clear your throat chakra? You could for example write in a journal to express your feelings and thoughts. The challenge is to start writing at a deeper level: ‘What really needs to be said or heard?’ Singing, humming or chanting with your true voice can also be helpful to open up your fifth chakra. Another challenge: try to listen to someone with your whole being and complete presence for at least five minutes and then change roles. Try not to interrupt each others or provide feedback through facial expression, just be and listen. And at last, read and say this wonderful healing blessing:

“May you hear and speak truth. May your life and your creations express the fullness of who you are. May you know ever deeper levels of truth.”

Express yourself through singing

Express yourself through singing


For more inspiration go the following website about two people who follow their dreams and the dreams of others:

I Believe That Dreams Can Come True

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The Manipura Chakra

The third or navel chakra is the energy centre of the life force and is located behind the navel in the area of the solar plexus and digestive system. The manipura chakra is associated with the element fire and it represents personal power, self-esteem, vitality, digestion and assertiveness. This chakra can give you the sense of complete satisfaction and contentment and is the seat of the intellect. It is associated with the colour yellow and it corresponds with the fire element in the body. Fire is required in the body for digestion and assimilation, both on a physical and mental level. Glands and organs associated with the third chakra are the pancreas, liver, spleen and the organs of digestion (small intestine). The emotion associated with this chakra is anger. The sense for this energy centre is sight and cognitive thinking, sometimes referred to as a ‘gut feeling’ when you try to figure something out.

Manipura Chakra

Manipura Chakra

Blocks in the navel chakra

If your third chakra is blocked, you feel powerless and frustrated. It can lead to low levels of energy, motivation, low self-esteem and difficulty making decisions. You are unable to move forward in your life and you may be unhappy in a current relationship or career or struggle with addictions. Fear is an emotion that will block this energy centre, for example you are afraid to make changes in your life. If you allow yourself to feel this fear and visualize the worst possible situation you are able to diffuse it. Your confidence is often diminished when there is criticism of fear of being criticized, fear of rejection or fear of making a fool of one self. Individual personal strength allows you to make decisions in your life that are not governed by your fears; instead it gives you the ability to act without always worrying what others may think. A weak third chakra can also result in feelings of anger and aggression or holding of guilt and self-doubt within. You may find yourself looking outward for validation and feeling deprived of the sweet things in life. This imbalance directly affects your ability to project your will into manifestation. On the other hand, over-confidence, pride and being too assertive indicates imbalance as well and could be the result of an excessive third chakra. Over-confidence and showing off can be a cover-up from your lack of personal power. Perfectionism, anger, hatred and too much emphasis on power, status and recognition are all signs of an excessive third chakra. An excessive third chakra could lead to too much heat in the body. With too much fire in your body, it is highly likely that you develop digestive problems.

Fire in your belly

Fire in your belly

Balance the third chakra

A balanced third chakra results in a healthy level of confidence and the ability to manifest your intentions and desires. In order to open the third chakra, you must utilize your personal will power and take personal responsibility for you life and your current situation. So stop blaming other people or external circumstances, since playing the victim, will certainly keep your third chakra closed. If you stimulate your personal ability to complete tasks and make choices that are not a reaction to your fears, then you strengthen your confidence and will power. If you have a balanced third chakra you have unlimited energy, excellent health, strong will power, the ability to make commitments and a solid inner balance. Practice acts of personal courage and doing things you are good at and love to do can nourish this chakra. If you do what makes you happy and not what makes everyone else happy, others will recognize your individuality and they will know what your limits are. They will respect you more and this allows you to be an exemplary leader and to be fully aware of the effects of your actions have on others. This leads to a strong sense of self-worth, self esteem which in turn increases our ability to help others.

And enjoy!

And enjoy!

Yoga and balance

Nowadays, people tend to pay little attention to their body’s natural energy levels. It seems like we have become masters in ignoring our longing for rest and manipulate our bodies with caffeine, sugar and other stimulants to create a false sense of energy. Yoga can offer you a different choice: to listen to your body and to truly nourish yourself, using appropriate asanas and pranayama practices to create more energy or relaxation. This way of nurturing and taking care of yourself can create a taste of your true personal power. In terms of asanas, strengthening the abdominal muscles is a great place to start to balance the third chakra. Restorative poses and passive backbends cool off the belly’s fire and therefore act as calming agents for third chakra excess. If the third chakra needs stimulation, you can work with Kapalabhati breath (breath of fire) or Bhastrika Pranayama (bellows breath). These breath exercises isolate the abdominal muscle and thereby bringing fire and heat there, which in turn radiates into the body as a whole. Practicing Suryanamaskar (Sun Salutation), abdominal strengtheners like Navasana (Boat Pose), Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose) and Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Leg Lifts), Warrior Poses and twists all energize the third energy center. I practice quite a lot of Vinyasa Yoga flow which seems to be a perfect yoga style to turn on the heat and energizes the body, because of the combination of flow and breath. Practicing arm balances and inversion can also really stimulate your third charka.

The seat of the intellect

The navel chakra has been called the ‘fire in the belly’ and represents transformation. This fire or personal power provides you with the energy to change, grow and act in your life. The first chakra can be represented as a form or a vehicle (our body), the ability to move and change is represented by the second chakra. The third chakra gives you the intelligence, spark and power to move our body into action and makes you peaceful and generous.

Generosity

Generosity

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The Svadhisthana Chakra

The second chakra is the Svadhisthana or sacral/pelvic chakra. ‘Swa’ means vital force or soul and ‘adhisthana’ means seat or abode. This chakra is located at the tailbone, about two finger widths above the root or first chakra and about an inch below the navel. This chakra is associated with the emotion, passion and it represents desire, pleasure, sexuality and procreation. The element for the pelvic chakra is water, referring to change, fluctuation and movement. The location in the body can be related to movement as well, since the sacral plexus is a collection of nerves located in the lower spine which control movement in the legs and pelvis. The colour for the second chakra is orange and the sense is taste, especially a sweet taste. The organs, glands and body parts associated with this chakra are the reproductive organs, all liquids in the body (blood, urine, menstruation, tears), hips, sacrum, low back, adrenal glands, kidneys, spleen and lower bowel. The symbol for the sacral chakra is a six petal lotus flower.

Six petal lotus flower

Six petal lotus flower

A blocked second chakra

This chakra is primarily associated with creativity and sexuality. When energy is not flowing freely from this chakra it can lead to loss of creativity, low sexual energy, a feeling of dullness, loss of emotion, low negotiation skills and depression. You can be stuck in routine and sameness and you don’t feel good about who you are. On the other hand, signs of an excessive second chakra could be overly emotional behavior, sexual addiction or poor boundaries. It may be the result from a family environment where there’s a constant need for pleasurable stimulation, such as entertaining or partying or frequent emotional drama. Besides overindulging in pleasurable things such as food, drugs, alcohol or sex, you could also denying yourself pleasurable activities resulting in blockages in the second chakra. If you grew up in an environment where emotions were repressed or denied, you are susceptible to have deficiencies in this chakra, resulting in signs such as fear of pleasure, being out of touch with one’s feelings and resistance to change. Suppressing your emotions is another way to create blockages in the pelvic chakra. When this energy center is weak you are susceptible to lower back and hip pain and prostate, emotional and sexual problems. If this chakra is blocked, you can become over-sensitive, develop feelings of guilt (for no apparent reason), become extremely hard on yourself and ultimately become sexually frigid or impotent.

The seat of life

A key to open up the second chakra is to maintain balance when it comes to pleasurable, worldly things. This means don’t deny it, but do not overindulge either. In addition, feed your creative side and take care of your body. You could for example find a hobby or activity that provides you with pleasure; paint, draw, sing, act, dance or exercise to express yourself. If you are not sure what you could do, then go back to your childhood. What did you love doing and what made you happy and fulfilled? Our passions take birth in our second chakra – in fact any kind of birth takes place in this chakra: whether the physical conception of a baby, the birth of a new idea or the birth for a new song or book. Since the Svadhisthana is such a life giving chakra, some refer to it as the seat of life.

Relationships and the pelvic chakra

Relationships and the pelvic chakra

Relationships, boundaries and responsibility

This chakra is also the place where you connect and respond to others and build relationships. It includes reproduction and self-indulgence and relates to issues such as blame, guilt, money, sex, power, control, creativity and morality. It is the place where you can experience your sexual energy. If this chakra is balanced you will experience an enormous capacity for creativity and partnerships with others. If you have a strong second chakra, you have no problem saying no, since you are aware of and listen to your boundaries. You can balance this chakra by developing support systems and taking responsibility for what is happening in your life. Optimism, self-confidence, enthusiasm and courage are qualities which can arise from a balanced second chakra.

Ever changing water

Ever changing water

Constant Change

This second energy center is the chakra of emotion, sexuality, pleasure and nurture and all of these things are fluid and ever-changing, like water. This constant change is both the source of pleasure and the source of pain. A lot of people fear change – including myself – and therefore try to grip the present moment. Though, without change there is no pleasure, since if nothing ever change what would you have to be excited for? Meditation can be a perfect method to work through emotions and allow them to rise to the surface and go again. This chakra encourages us to open to life just as it is and if you allow yourself to accept what is, you taste the sweetness of life. If you let go of your resistance to life, your hips will let go, you reproductive organs become less tense and you’re open to experience your sensuality and sexuality.

Towards freedom, passion and growth

Foods associated with these chakra are orange foods, sweet foods (such as carrots, oranges and squash) and liquids. Drinking lots of liquid and using herbs as cinnamon and ginger can help to balance this energy center. The practice of pranayama can also be very helpful in creating balance in this chakra, especially alternate nostril breathing. Ideally, this should be done in quiet space and twice a day. In terms of yoga asanas, backward and forward bends and squatting strengthen this chakra. As well as any hip and groin openers, since they provide freedom of movement in the pelvis, such as Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose), Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose), Pavistha Konasana (Open Angle Pose) or Dhanurasana (Bow Pose). These hip and groin openers should never be forced, since they require the subtle feminine tough of sensitivity and surrender. This second chakra helps you to let go of control as it guides you to see life from a different perspective. From your first primary grounding chakra, you have the possibility to move forward into a world of freedom, passion and growth through a balanced second chakra.

Bow pose

Bow pose

 

Categories: Chakra, Food, Freedom, Inspiration, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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