The chakras are psycho-spiritual centers located throughout our body. They are similar to old CD-ROMs because they are said to be spinning disks that record our life experiences. This post is the sixth in our Chakra 101 series. To learn more about the chakras, please visit this post.
The sixth chakra’s name is Ajna, which means “command”. This indicates its role when it comes to our chakra system. Located between the eyebrows, Ajna chakra is associated with intuition, wisdom, our connection to our higher self, and our ability to see the highest in others. Anja chakra governs the eyes, forehead, and pituitary gland. Imbalance in the sixth chakra is often indicated by ailments such as headaches, dizziness, sinus problems, and difficulties with vision.
Intuition: Our “Sixth Sense”.
The sixth chakra is sometimes called the “third-eye” in popular culture. This is because of its association with our intuition. Intuition is our sense of inner-knowing. It differs from instinct. Instinct is based on past knowledge. Intuition is our ability to acquire knowledge without conscious reasoning.
According to Plato, knowledge itself is pre-existing. Our intuition is what allows us to tap into and access this knowledge. The psychologist Carl Jung believed that intuition is the unconscious’ way of navigating the world. He theorized that intuition was based on unconscious perception.
From a yogic perspective, intuition arises from our connection to Yoga itself. Yoga is not something we do. It is what we are. When we are connected to the truth of who we are, Yoga, we experience keen intuition and can make decisions that are in alignment with Universal flow. Yoga guides a tiny acorn to grow into a mighty oak tree. We, too, self-actualize through Yoga. Our intuition allows us to clearly receive Yoga’s cues.
Anja Chakra and Trust.
Anja chakra’s primary wound is disconnection from our highest self. This has a domino effect in that when we are disconnected from our highest self, we cannot see the highest in other people or in the circumstances of our lives. When our intuition is cloudy, it is difficult to make wise decisions.
Lack of self-trust is one of the biggest reasons people feel disconnected from their intuition. If we want to grow our intuition, it is important that we strengthen our ability to trust ourselves. There are many reasons why we don’t trust ourselves. First of all, our ability to trust ourselves is reflected by our ability to trust other people. Fear, trauma, manipulation, disappointment, perfectionism… When we have these experiences, we may be inclined to shut ourselves off to avoid being hurt again. However, in doing so, we often only hurt ourselves further. Instead of not trusting other people (or ourselves), it is important for us to forgive those who have hurt us and surround ourselves with people who we can trust.
Learning to trust ourselves also requires we examine our own trustworthiness. Telling “white-lies”, not keeping our word, and gossiping about other people are subtle ways we undermine our trustworthiness. Most people are worthy of other people’s trust. Trusting ourselves is a different matter.
If we’re really honest with ourselves, most of us let ourselves down more than anyone else. How often have we promised ourselves we would do something to promote our health and well-being, and then allowed it to fall by the wayside? Probably more than we care to admit.
In order to trust ourselves (much less other people!), we must become trustworthy to ourselves first. If we have difficulty in this area it is critical that we not admonish ourselves for our short-comings. That is certainly not helpful in learning to trust ourselves. After all, if we had known we were undermining our ability to trust ourselves by breaking promises or not keeping commitments to ourselves and others, we wouldn’t have done those things! Instead, let’s begin to become trustworthy by making and keeping small commitments to ourselves.
For example, we might commit to drinking eight cups of water a day, going to bed half an hour earlier, or going for a walk in the park after work. We build self-trust as we keep our commitments to ourselves. As we learn to trust ourselves, we will notice our intuition rekindling. When this happens, it is important to act on our intuition. The more we listen to our intuition and act on it, the stronger our connection to our intuitive sense will be.
Practices for Anja Chakra
- Meditation is a wonderful way to more deeply connect to our intuition. The goal of meditation is not to stop thinking. Our brains are made for thinking and they do it very well! Rather, the goal of mediation is to slow down our thoughts. As we observe our thoughts, we can see that a thought is just a thought. We can act on it, or not. We can notice our thoughts and see how they change with our emotions. By slowing down and observing our thoughts, we cultivate a greater connection to our higher self, the self that does the watching and observing! Instead of our ego or emotional state, we make decisions from our connection to this higher, wiser self.
- Kapalabhati Pranayama, or skull-shining breath, is a warming breathing technique said to burn toxins in our bodies. We can imagine it burning away the psycho-spiritual toxins that leave us feeling disconnected from our higher self as well! Practice Kapalabhati pranayama by sitting comfortably. Focus on the lower belly. Quickly contract and release the lower belly while breathing in and out the nose. Focus on quick, powerful exhales and allow the inhales to be passive. Begin with ten or so reps and work up from there.
- Divination practices have been used all over the world as a way of conversing with our higher selves. Each culture has its own set of divinatory practices, everything from reading tarot cards to animal corpses! It is wonderful to study our culture and learn about practices that are “in our bones”, so to speak. Or, if there is a divinatory practice that we feel called to, learning as much as we can about the practice and giving it a try!