The Third Eye, or Spiritual Eye/Center, is the seat of intuition. Also the home of the Sixth, or Ajna [ah-nyuh] Chakra, the Third Eye provides a portal to “higher” wisdom, or the intelligence connected to subtler (as opposed to material) realms. When we neglect the Third Eye, mundane matters occupy our thoughts; we become lost in earthly concerns. Imagine that furrow that develops between the eyebrows when we are stressed or overthinking a situation: In my mind, I envision that deep wrinkle as the center of two drawn drapes; in order to eliminate the line, the curtains must be opened. When the Third Eye is exposed, all manner of “seeing” and “knowing” become available to us.
One of my favorite definitions of intuition is entirely non-yogic. (An argument could be made, however, that as it appears in the context of “mystery,” it is spiritually related.) In the final season of Sherlock (the television series starring Benedict Cumberbatch), Sherlock explains to Watson: “…[I]ntuition is data too fast for the conscious mind to comprehend.” When expressed that way, the concept of intuition becomes more palatable to those who may dismiss the ability to communicate with higher realms as psychic nonsense. If we quiet our typically dominating conscious mind enough to give our subconscious mind a chance to rise to the fore, we can activate the Third Eye. When we heighten our ability to read between the lines of a situation or to see beneath and beyond a person’s superficial presentation, our own aura expands—we open to more and greater possibilities.
Today’s Third Eye Awakening also results in increased focus, enhanced concentration, and profound calm. As we move out of enmeshment with the material world, our “edges” soften and allow us to engage with the subtler realms.
Because the Third Eye resonates with the pituitary gland, we need to wake up the entire spine: The sushumna, or main pranic channel of the body, correlates with the spine, and moves upward to the pituitary/Third Eye. So, to begin today’s practice, come to all fours.
Special note: Remember that when kneeling on all fours, you can place a pillow under tender knees. Also, if you have wrist issues, fist your hands or come onto the fingertips.
You are now in position for Cat/Cow movements. Instead of the full spinal flexion and extension, however, you will warm the spine incrementally. Begin by moving only the pelvis: Tilt the pelvis forward, then roll it back. As you isolate the pelvis, the spine will want to join; consciously relax the rib cage and shoulders, so that your mind moves only to work with the pelvic tilting.
After 8-12 pelvic rocks, begin to integrate the mid-back. To aid this piece, come onto your forearms; this position will dissuade the upper spine and neck from joining the flexion and extension of the pelvis and lumbo-thoracic spine. Again, repeat the partial Cat/Cow 8-12 times.
Finally, on all fours, hands on the ground again, do full Cat/Cow (deep arch and high rounding) up to 12 times. Your spine is now honed to move prana up to the Third Eye.
In a comfortable seated posture, begin by physically touching the space between your brows. Most often, yogis prescribe pressure from the heel of the hand into the Third Eye, with gentle vibration; your closed eyes gaze upward to meet with the palpated spot. My preferred method is to place the hands in Prayer Pose, and to nestle the base knuckles of my thumbs into the Third Eye. If a different position or method of palpation works for you, feel free to use it.
Once you have nudged the Sixth Chakra a bit, you can add pranayama that links directly to the parasympathetic nervous system, the pituitary gland, and ultimately enhances the vision of the Third Eye. A simple mudra accompanies the breath, and the full shebang offers a direct route to tune into your intuition.
Touch your pinky fingertips to their respective thumb tips: This is Buddhi Mudra for insight and intuition. With the mudra in place, and closed eyes gazing upward to the Spiritual Eye, breathe in through your nose. As you exhale, form your lips into a “beak,” and allow the breath to release in a slow and steady whistling sound.
You can also practice Whistle Breath in a reverse manner: Inhale through the beak, creating a whistle; exhale through the nose.
I have found that I most enjoy an Alternating Whistle Breath. The concentration needed, however, can distract the closed eyes from their upward gaze (at least at first), so be mindful that your eyes remain focused on the Third Eye as you practice the pranayama. To alternate the Whistle breath, begin by inhaling through the nose; exhale through the beak. Then inhale through the beak, and exhale deeply through the nose, and continue the pattern.
With whichever version of Whistle Breath you choose, breathe and concentrate your gaze upward, still holding Buddhi Mudra. Practice this meditation for at least 5 minutes. When you fully connect to the technique, you will likely lose sense of time and place: In this case, that is a lovely state, and you can allow the practice to continue as long as you like.