If you are familiar with chakras, then you can tell from my logo that I love chakras. The rainbow-colored spheres within my logo are representative of the chakra system within the body.
If you are unfamiliar, here’s a quick lesson: There are seven energy centers called chakras (literally “wheels”) that store energy/life force/prana. They are along the spinal column and correlate to major nerve ganglia branching forth from the spinal column. Each has a different relationship to a gland in the body’s endocrine system. Each stimulates different organs and systems in the body. Hatha Yoga activates these energy centers releasing the energy that flows through the spine. Yoga helps these energy centers/nerve bundles to function correctly clearing blocks that may be there. Each chakra also is associated with a mental/emotional focus. In each newsletter I’ll highlight how you can work with a particular chakra to correspond with the season.
This is the month of the Summer Solstice. “The Sun is at its apex which has myriad meanings for the world’s cultures. The light of the sun and the long days symbolize clarity, a time when people can make an honest assessment of themselves. A hotter environment connotes purification, a time to make positive changes, allowing old notions of the self to evaporate. Finally, the sun in this context represents triumph, its return to the heights of the heavens after winter implying that you, too, can overcome adversity.” Source: Yogamint.com (no longer an active website as I update this website in 2023).
My opening musings talked about using excuses to stop you from moving toward your goals and visions. Just as the Solstice signifies clarity, the sixth chakra—the third eye chakra—is all about “seeing the way”, and is considered your seat of wisdom. It resonates to the color indigo. One of the characteristics you might be experiencing if this chakra needs some tweaking is skepticism—using excuses to stop you from moving toward your best self. Maybe you have difficulty even visualizing what your best self would be. That’s also sixth chakra work. Having a guiding, clear vision is what a healthy sixth chakra is all about. You’ll begin to see YOUR big picture. So let’s have at it!
As I’d asked in the opening, are you making plans for the future? Do you have a vision? That’s sixth chakra work! This is where we envision the future. Sixth chakra energy involves the courage of acting based upon your own gut instincts and standing firm in your resolve to continue working toward your goals. This is where we figure out our true motivations, and we do that by going in a direction and seeing how that feels, then self-adjusting as we listen to our heart.
No one can do that for you. Only you can. Society will constantly tell you what to do if you aren’t figuring it out for yourself. Then you’ll just be doing what everyone else wants you to do vs. what YOU want to do.
The current economy has thrown a lot of us for a loop. I’ve known more people than I care to mention who’ve been derailed for various reasons—many of them monetary. Yet, I’ve also seen just as many find their way, step by step; and most have ended up liking their new path better than their previous path. One friend I know found themselves without a job after their corporation had layoffs. He even found an interim job and they had layoffs too. He decided to dwell on what he loved to work on as a young boy—tinkering with bicycles. He turned that knowledge, skill, and past passion into an excellent source of interim income both at a local bike shop as well as out of his own garage. In the meantime, he kept looking, and recently landed, another full-time job.
He never once doubted all would be well, and the bicycle repairs he did became good therapy for him in ways that were not just monetary. A healthy third eye chakra hones the ability to see yourself with honesty and insight while being detached from the good opinion of the outer world. Without this skill, you’re unable to see alternatives. The inability to see alternatives is a sign of a deficient sixth chakra.
You really can be your own best therapy. Your inner knowing is your sixth chakra. It is your touchstone. Your strong intuition and your ability to visualize your future—your guiding vision for life—is your touchstone.
So whether or not we are looking for a new career, or simply looking for something to fill a void in our life, it’s the inner knowing that all will be well that makes for a strong sixth chakra. Have you ever spun your wheels trying to solve something that just couldn’t be solved at the time? Sometimes all it takes is to stop the “trying” and just “doing” something different. This ends the struggle and inner conflict, and lets you surrender to the moment. It helps you detach from your personal or material concerns and opens the mind to new options. It releases the “death grip”, if you will. Have you heard about the child who couldn’t get the cookie out of the cookie jar because their clenched fist was too big to make it out of the hole at the top? Sometimes all you need to do is let go to release the hand from the jar.
Sixth chakra in Sanskrit is “Ajna”. One of its translations is “command wheel”. So the next time you’re spinning your wheels, remember who’s in command. It’s not society’s idea of what you should be doing. It’s your own ideas about what you should be doing. We’re all really connected anyway, so doing what brings you peace will bring peace to the whole—Another continuing sentiment of the opening quote by “Wah!”.
I’d mentioned that the sixth chakra vibrates to the color, indigo blue. So what’s making your horizon this dark, indigo blue? I like to think that indigo blue can be both peaceful as well as stormy. It can be the indigo blue of the sky just as the stars are starting to come out at night and your world is at peace, ready for rest. Or it can be the whipped up threat of a thunder storm’s blue sky signaling it’s time to find cover and lay low. How have you been feeling about your horizon?
Therein is the answer to clearing the sixth chakra. Peaceful results come from rest and meditation time, be it a more formal meditation complete with a timer and a meditation cushion; or simply allowing time to shift gears away from any stressors to relax with a good book on the deck in the sunshine.
I list a “mediation to go” in each newsletter that I’ve gathered from some of my favorite sources. You’ll see that they are not as complicated as someone new to meditation might think. You can use my newsletter, or find some ways of your own—trust your instincts. My favorite book on the subject is by Jon Kabat-Zinn—Wherever you go, There you are.
I also offer a meditation/breathwork class if you are interested. Please visit my here for more details.
Your body knows what it needs. Listen to your inner wisdom. The more you listen, the more that inner wisdom will grow. The more you trust your gut, the clearer the messages become. Are you tired and out of sorts? Do something positive for yourself. Clarity and inner wisdom are both traits of a strong sixth chakra.
Speaking of taking care of yourself, I recently participated in a wonderful two-day introduction training through YogaFit on Ayurveda taught by uber-qualified Felicia M. Tomasko, R.N., I swear she’s three people—editor, ayurvedic practitioner, yoga teacher, President of the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, Board member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, R.N., etc—yes, etc. (As I update this website in 2023, I have also become certified as an Ayurvedic Practitioner.)
Ayurveda is the “sister science” to yoga and is a natural system of medicine that has been practiced for more than 5000 years. Suffice to say, I wanted to soak up every morsel of information I could gain on the subject. One of the many bits of knowledge I picked up was which dominant dosha I might be (your Ayurvedic mind and body type). Being dominantly a Vata, (there are three doshas and we all have all three doshas in us to varying degrees), that makes me prone to worry and stress. My dosha is aggravated by change (movement), and dryness, among other things. No newsflash here!
She pointed out that the world we live in is Vata-oriented. So a Vata in a Vata environment, well that’s a recipe for becoming out of balance. We are constantly in motion, using electronics filled with movement, in cars and airplanes in dry environments, etc., etc. I think we’re all in agreement here. Vata is the one dosha that easily gets out of balance in today’s world.
One of the easy treatments she recommended we can do every day to de-stress was treating yourself to a foot rub with a natural oil at the end of the day. Try it. Tell me you don’t feel loved and cared about after giving yourself a foot massage. I’ve been making it a point to do it daily since that class. It helps me sleep better too.
I have two wonderful oils I’ve used. One is a natural Vitamin E oil from my old stomping ground in Madison, WI, the Soap Opera. They’ll scent it with your favorite oil. I use Jasmine.
Here is my person dosha quiz to help you zero in on what your dominant dosha might be or which dosha might be out of balance. Caution! Ayurveda is like eating potato chips…you can’t stop with just one piece! You’ll want to consume all you can! Remember, you have all three doshas in you so you’ll find attributes of each. If you’d like to schedule an Ayurvedic Consult, please go here.
The Sixth chakra is also where we store past memories. Sometimes those past memories can lie buried and unhealed in our subconscious. This, too, can block our sixth chakra energy. Talking to a good therapist might be in order. Only you can decide if this route is for you.
Negative past memories can come back to us in negative self-talk. Any time you say negative things about yourself to yourself, you are diminishing your sixth chakra. Your inner wisdom becomes clouded and you don’t listen to your instincts. So nip that in the bud right now! That also goes for anything or anyone who negates your self-worth. Question any messages that are coming to you that leave you feeling less than great. Sometimes you have no choice but to stay in negative environments for the time-being. Find ways to insulate yourself until you can move on. Your personal meditation practices and affirmations will help in that effort.
At the beginning of yoga class, one of the deep breathing movements that I use includes dropping the arms to the side and inhaling up—gathering all your scattered energies back to center like a magnet claiming its own. The other is exhaling the arms down from the top, widening the hands on either side of you like you are surrounding yourself in a protective energy bubble. Try the protective bubble visualization before you leave the house in the morning and again any time you feel the need to shield yourself from the outer world. It may seem hokey to you at first, but some deep breathing and self-guided visualization can go a long way toward centering you in environments that are less than ideal. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist promotes the simple practice of ten focused deep breaths a day. Start a healthy habit!
I talked about having a “negative Nellie” comeback statement for each of your supposed weaknesses in last month’s newsletter. My standard comeback affirmation for negative self-talk is first to say (sometimes out loud) “Erase!” Then I either restate what I just said in the reverse, making it a positive statement, and/or I say “I define everything I do with success.”
I list positive affirmations in each newsletter (please see below). I love affirmations. Positive affirmations are like fertilizer for developing a strong sixth chakra. Start building your own reservoir of positive affirmations that you love. One of the first ones that resonated with me, literally, was “there is room in my life for joy, peace, and ease”. When I first read that one I could feel my whole body relax and soak it in. It was as though my body was telling me, “Ahhh! Finally! Yes, that’s what I need!” Find the affirmations that talk to your body that way. Which ones make you want to say “Ahhhh!”? If you find one I haven’t used, I invite you to share them on Facebook:
Another characteristic of a strong sixth chakra is good dream recall. My past newsletters have talked about some of my dreams and ways to listen to your dream messages. Try keeping a dream journal by your bed and start writing down what you can remember just upon waking. I’ve read the more you write down your dream’s details, the stronger the details become. You are giving yourself the message that you are worth listening to, which strengthens your sixth chakra.
Remember that your dream messages are personal to you. A dream about a barn will mean different things to different people, for example. If you were raised on a farm, it could be your childhood barn. If you weren’t, it could have any number of meanings. Only your psyche will know. Sometimes I’ve dreamed about a place but knew in the dream that although the place didn’t look like my childhood home at all, it represented my childhood home. So work with your own instincts as you write down your dreams and what they mean to you. Sometimes it’s straightforward, and sometimes it takes coaxing out the meaning.
Physically, the sixth chakra is located in the head. Both the pituitary gland and the pineal gland are influenced by the sixth chakra. (Remember from the introduction to this section, each chakra works with a gland in the body’s endocrine system.)
The pituitary gland is traditionally called the “third eye” as the sixth chakra is often referred to. It’s also called the “master gland”. It influences the thyroid and adrenal functions as well as blood pressure, among other things. The thyroid influences your metabolism, and the adrenals trigger stress reactions such as the “fight or flight” instinct. (See the breathwork section that follows for more on adrenals.) When our sixth chakra is strong and balanced, this gland is working well. Negative beliefs, as mentioned earlier, impedes the functioning of this gland. Our inner thoughts affect our physical well-being as well as our hormones and our glands.
The pineal gland is a light-sensitive gland which translates variations in light to hormonal messages relayed to our body through the autonomic nervous system. In addition to producing serotonin, one of the primary neurotransmitters, it produces melatonin which influences sleeping and dreaming. Over 100 bodily functions have daily rhythms that are influenced by light exposure!
Drastic temperature changes, high altitudes, magnetic fields, radiation, and daily stress all adversely affect the pineal gland (as well as imbalances Vata dosha!). Anything that alters our natural rhythms of light, such as working late in artificial light, can affect the health of this gland resulting in depression. Whether you’re getting light during the day or the night, your pineal gland never stops checking your light exposure levels. Melatonin levels control your estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone amounts, which in turn can affect the start of menopause. Your aging process and immune system may also be affected by melatonin, due to changing sleep patterns and the antioxidant effects of this hormone.
One of the hallmarks for getting a good night’s sleep is dimming the lights before you go to bed, and sleeping in as dark a room as possible. Another way to work with healthy light is to have frequent exposure to the full spectrum of natural light. Winter depression is often associated with sunlight deprivation, or Seasonal Affective Disorder—SAD.
Not only does your pineal gland use the eye’s retinas to monitor light exposure, but anything that stimulates or is pleasing to the eye stimulates the sixth chakra. So dress vibrantly to stimulate your eyes. Go sight-seeing to beautiful areas. Let nature inspire you to create your vision. Color can inspire your creativity and your imagination, both hallmarks of a healthy sixth chakra.
So use the gift within you. Find ways to develop your intuition by trusting your intuition. You can use my suggestions, or trust your own instincts—that’s the point, isn’t it? “When we allow the ego and personality to hear, receive and trust the intelligence of our intuition, we no longer separate ourselves from this intelligence – we become it. In this connected place, we can recognize God within us and experience true consciousness. When we experience true consciousness, we are filled with faith, hope and belief in a higher power and recognize our own purpose.” Goddess to the Core, Sierra Bender
In today’s society, adrenal fatigue is common. Many people experience adrenal fatigue and are not aware of it. The adrenals are two small organs located on top of the kidneys. They secrete hormones that trigger stress reactions such as the “fight or flight” instinct, and are involved in a complex hormone interaction between the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands. Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include chronic fatigue, dizziness, and fainting. Memory loss and forgetfulness can also be caused by low adrenal function.
“Recent studies suggest that, taken together, minor hassles and annoyances from everyday life may be the biggest stressor of all. These mini stressors mount as they become part of a daily routine, and because days tend to mirror days, whatever little hassle tugged at you one day is likely to repeat on another day. Eventually, all those overdue phone calls and all those annoying little accidents and all those unfinished household tasks can add up to major, chronic stress.” Try taking this Daily Equilibrium Quiz: http://www.realage.com/soothe-stress/mind-and-mood/are-daily-hassles-making-you-sick”
The following breathe and hold* technique allows the adrenals to discharge some of the subliminal exhaustion and re-boot themselves.
Massaging the points below several times a day will begin to diminish the back load of adrenal fatigue and the adrenal gland can begin to replenish.
*For those with high or low blood pressure or other breathing related disorders, when the breath hold is cued, you can simply continue breathing deeply.
- Use the thumb of one hand to stimulate the adrenal gland in the center of the palm chakra of the other hand.
- Gently massage this area, the adrenal contact point.
- Inhale and hold the point as you hold your breath (breathe and hold)
- Release and exhale. Repeat three times.
- Switch to the opposite thumb and hand and also reposition.
- Massage the area of the adrenal contact on the second hand.
- Breathe and hold three times.
Source: The Natural Face-Lift, Linda Burnham, N.D.
Visualizations & Affirmations:
I chose these two visualizations to help you work towards whatever you want to do, be, or have. Visualizing helps develop your sixth chakra. Enjoy!
“Begin your day by imagining what your life would look and feel like if you were living it at your highest potential. Take a moment right now to see and sense all the rich details along your true self’s path. Such visualizations are an important starting point, much like mapping out your destination before beginning a journey.” DAILY GUIDANCE FROM YOUR ANGELS, Doreen Virtue, PhD
“Close your eyes and imagine the possibility of some kind of breakthrough in your life. It may be a personal breakthrough or it may be something related to the larger world. Imagine the effect your possibility would have on each of your chakras—feeling it in your throat and your heart, your belly, your sensations, and grounding it into the very cells of your body. Do this on a daily basis—running it from the top down—and see what actions you can engage in that will help this vision come into manifestation. To find your personal vision you must shift your attention from what is to what could be. Your vision of what is possible becomes the source of inspiration for your creativity and the guiding purpose for your will.” Chakra Balancing by Anodea Judith.
Affirmations of our innate goodness and confirmation of our worth are especially valuable in maintaining strong six chakra energy. I hope you find some below that resonate with you:
- True beauty comes from within.
- There is beauty in everything I see.
- Beauty fades; Sassy is forever.
- I embrace the truth that I am guided to my greatest yet to be.
- I live my life from the Source of God, where all things are possible, and I say yes.
- I think the very best of myself in all situations, at all times
- I define everything I do with success.
- I believe I am unlimited in my capacity for joy, healing and happiness.
- I release and forgive the past.
- I open myself to new energy, new people, place and experiences.
- I live in the light of my truth and I accept what I know.
- I create clarity of mind and unlimited vision for myself.
- I trust that my highest good and greatest joy are unfolding.
- Every situation is an opportunity for growth and healing.
- I am the source of truth and love in my life.
- As I tap into my inner wisdom, I know that all is well in my world.
- I accept myself as I am.
- I am good and I know it.
- I believe in my gifts and abilities.
- I release my habit of self-criticism.
- Science of Mind magazine—May 2010 edition (I’ve subscribed for several years and highly recommend this magazine. If I were stranded on a desert island, I’d make sure I had my copy of Science of Mind. Now I see you can also subscribe to an online newsletter: http://www.scienceofmind.com/),
- The Book of Chakras, Discover the forces within you, Ambika Wauters.
Diet and the third eye Chakra:
Since meditation is the best way to access the sixth chakra, there are some that say the best diet would be less food, or fasting if it’s appropriate for your health. Never fast to lose weight. (Always check with a doctor before any diet, and especially if you are going to try any type of fasting.) Other ways of bringing it into balance include eating intentionally, focusing on your food while you are eating, talking about the food you are eating with those you share meals with, etc.
Foods that nourish the sixth chakra include: Spices such as caraway, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric, and many others. Dark blue/purple foods containing antioxidants which destroy free radicals in the body include eggplant, purple kale, blueberries, figs, plums, purple grapes, raisins, among others. Black currants (in addition to blueberries already mentioned) are known to benefit the eyes.
Caffeine, chocolate and alcohol can overly stimulate the sixth chakra when consumed to excess. I know, I know. I love dark chocolate covered almonds, but there’s something to be said for stopping after a few. (See the healthy news section in this newsletter about how Yoga helps to reduce binge eating.)
Aromatherapy and the third eye Chakra:
Scents that stimulate the sixth chakra include: Hyacinth, Rose Geranium, Lemon, Vetiver, Basil (surprisingly relaxing), patchouli, rosemary, mint, and juniper, among others.
If aromatherapy interests you, I use Young Living Essential Oils™ which are therapeutic, food-grade oils. Please inquire if you are interested in purchasing a favorite scent and I can add your request to my personal monthly order.
Gem therapy and the third eye Chakra: Gemstones amplify the energy when placed in contact with your chakras. For those of you unsure on this subject, consider that it’s scientifically proven that everything is energy. Nothing is really solid. Why wouldn’t the energy of a stone work effectively with the energy in our bodies just as some research speculates that the energy of computers, cell phones, and microwaves may affect our bodies? At the very least, I find that holding a favorite stone is like a talisman for me, or a “worry stone”. As my favorite author, Wayne Dyer, likes to say, “If it’s a placebo effect, I’ll take two”.
Some gems to consider to work with the sixth chakra include: Amethyst, Sodalite, Lapis Lazuli, Cat’s Eye or Tiger’s Eye, and Azurite among others.
If gem therapy interests you, you can find a great selection at www.crystallinelight.com. I’ve known Jennifer, the owner, for many years and love her products!
Yoga poses for stimulating the third eye chakra:
As mentioned earlier, all yoga poses work each of the seven major chakras with specific ones addressing specific chakras. Yoga poses that stimulate the sixth chakra include, headstand prep/dolphin pose; and if headstand is in your practice, headstand pose. Cobra stimulates the brain and nervous system which is governed by the sixth charka. Child’s pose stimulates the pineal gland (and therefore the third eye chakra) as you rest your forehead on the mat (see last month’s newsletter.) Balancing poses such as the one highlighted in this newsletter, tree pose, also stimulate the third eye chakra. Eagle pose leads you to focus directly toward the third eye chakra making it another excellent pose for this chakra. I’ve also read that doing your yoga with a blindfold helps to bring your awareness more inside of yourself which would stimulate the sixth chakra.
Since the sixth chakra resides in between the physical eyes, the eyes, as mentioned earlier, are affected by the sixth chakra and vice versa. Here’s a great exercise for relaxing and soothing the eyes:
Palming the eyes is one my father-in-law had used to relax his eyes. He didn’t need glasses for distance viewing throughout his almost 96 years of life. Perhaps this exercise helped. You never know:
Rub your palms together quickly several times (upwards of 30) until you feel warmth in the palms. This energizes the palm chakras. Cup your hands over your closed eyes—palms centered over the eyes, not touching the eyes, and blocking out the light to the eyes. Bask in the warmth and energy of the palms. Visualize sending loving energy going into your eyes, face, and brain. Do this several times a day whenever your eyes need a break to relax them.
Yoga postures and breath practices are intended to prepare the body for meditation—one of the best ways to access the sixth chakra. They make the body and mind calm enough to sit still.