Several years ago, my best friend and I began what is now a cherished tradition: Every New Year’s Eve day, we meet for an early, relaxed lunch at our “regular” spot. Eschewing the pressure of resolutions, we instead toast to a certain quality or perspective that we hope for each other in the coming year. At the outset of 2019, I toasted to “getting out of my own way.”
So often, we become attached to goals and plans, forgetting to allow for what may be more prudent—or predestined—in the larger picture of Life. To get out of your own way means to align with that which the Universe intends for you; it means that your earthly vision must cede to the clarity provided through the Spiritual, or Third Eye.
Because this Sixth Chakra point that lies between the brows at the top of the nose is responsible for insight and intuition, activating the Third Eye helps you to move past your ego, past your plans and desires. The Third Eye must be open and charged, in order to sense that which is misguided, and that which is meant to be.
The Third Eye connects directly to the pituitary gland in the brain. Thus, to stimulate intuitive energy, we work with the head and neck; first, however, one needs to awaken, harness, and move energy from the lower chakras to the upper chakras. The following warm-ups charge the entire system, and channel the wealth of each chakra into the Third Eye.
Begin simply, coming onto all fours for several rounds of a Cat/Cow variation. In this version of the classic spinal flex exercise, move incrementally, starting with pelvic isolation rocks. Inhale to tip the front of the pelvis forward and down; exhale to roll it back and down. Continue with this gentle rocking of the pelvis for 1 minute.
Then, begin to include the mid-spine in the flexion: Again, inhale to arch and tip the tailbone up; exhale to round the spine and tuck the tail. For this and the previous solo pelvic movement, the head remains still and in line with the neck. Continue to open more of the spine, moving the flexion and rounding into the thoracic spine (between the shoulder blades), as well, for another minute.
Now, move into traditional Cat/Cow. As you inhale, the pelvis tips forward, the spine arches deeply, and the neck and head tip back. This full movement stimulates the entire chakra system; as you exhale, allow the head and neck to release and hang toward the ground, as you round the spine and tuck the pelvis under. Keep your eyes closed as you move, focusing intently on the Third Eye. This mental focus acts as a magnet to attract the awakened energy into the pituitary gland. Continue for 1 minute.
Next, shift forward onto your belly. Place your forehead on the floor, and then meticulously connect the Third Eye point to the ground. Depending on the shape of your nose, you may have to wriggle a bit to find a way to breathe deeply and keep the Third Eye in contact with the floor. Again, with closed eyes, focus inward and upward between the brow points. Then, interlace your fingers behind your back, and lift and extend the arms straight back and up, as high as your joints will allow.
With your arms lifted up and behind, and your Third Eye stimulated through tactile contact with the ground, begin Breath of Fire. Inhale and exhale rapidly in equal, short breaths through the nose; because you are prone, you will feel the pulsing of the belly more acutely. Keep your closed eyes focused on the Third Eye, and continue Breath of Fire for 1 minute.
When you are ready to release the posture, turn your head to one side on the floor for a few seconds; then, switch sides. Next, rise up onto your forearms, arching the upper spine into Sphinx pose. Keep the head in line with the neck, shoulders down, away from the neck. With eyes closed, turn the head to the left as you inhale; imagine that you can actually see through the Third Eye. Exhale to turn the head to the right; again, bring your attention the Third Eye, as if it is leading the movement through its “sight.” Continue to inhale left, exhale right for 1 minute.
Now, press back into Baby Pose for a brief rest. When you are ready, rise up to come into your preferred sitting position for meditation. On your right hand, create Buddhi Mudra: The thumb tip and pinky tip touch, which will connect to and enliven your intuitive power. Place the back of the hand on the right knee; the other fingers are together, yet relaxed.
Place the center point of the left palm directly on the Third Eye. Again, the placement will depend on your face and hand shape; find a way to connect the palm’s center (a Heart-energy point) to the space between the brow points. Eyes are closed, again focusing intently on the Third Eye. Bring your attention to the flow of your breath; be sure that you complete each inhale and exhale. Continue breathing with the mudras in place for 3-11 minutes.
Special note: If you would like to meditate for 11 minutes or longer with this mudra configuration, your left arm may grow tired at some point. If that happens, lower the left hand, placing the back of the hand on the left knee with Buddhi Mudra, exactly as you have on the right hand. When you feel able to resume the original meditative position, bring the left palm up again to connect to the Third Eye, and continue.