Ajna Chakra or the third eye is the sixth chakra in the evolution of man. It can be activated by various means. Each chakra has a physical, mental and spiritual aspect. Some of the standard methods to activate / awaken Ajna are listed in this article.
How to awaken Ajna Chakra?
Before attempting to activate / awaken Ajna chakra, it is good to prepare the body by doing asanas or yogic postures and pranayama that have indirect effect on awakening Ajna.
Anulom Vilom Pranayama is particularly useful.
Few techniques from Hatha Yoga and tantric texts are listed below.
Anulom Vilom Pranayama – Alternate Nostril Breathing
Anulom Vilom Pranayama or the alternate nostril breathing can awaken the Ajna chakra. Agna chakra is the point where the Nadis – Ida, Pingala and Sushumna meet. This pranayama balances the flow in all the nadis and activates Ajna Chakra.
Sit in any meditative pose like Padmasana, Siddhasana, Sukhasana, etc. Close your eyes and relax. Close the right nostril with the right thumb. Begin the practice by first exhaling. Then start to inhale slowly and rhythmically from the left nostril. When the breath if full, stop and close the left nostril with the middle and ring finger. Release the thumb from the right nostril and exhale from right nostril. Now, inhale from right nostril till you reach full breath. Then exhale through left nostril. This is called alternate nostril breathing or Anulom Vilom Pranayama. There are various ratios for inhalation and exhalation practiced by yogis. Start with 1:1 and then go to 1:2. Later kumbhaka or holding of breath can;1 be added and practice can be done in following ratio – 1:1:1, 1:1:2, 1:2:2 and finally 1:4:2. Higher ratios are to be practiced only under proper guidance.
Trataka – Concentration at a point
Trataka is another powerful way to awaken Ajna chakra. Trataka involves concentrating on a point. It can be a dot on the wall, a candle flame, an object or even the form of a deity.
Initially it is done with eyes open and then it can be practiced with eyes closed. The most common practice is gazing at the candle flame with eyes open. Increase the duration of the gazing. You can go to about 20 minutes easily with practice. Trataka can also be done with eyes closed when you are sufficiently advanced in the practice.
Shambhavi Mudra or eye brow gazing can awaken Ajna Chakra. Sit in any meditative pose. Relax and breath normally. Roll the eyes upwards and try to look at the point between the eyebrows. If there is any discomfort, release the gaze and relax and then try again.
Keep the eyes focussed between the eyebrows. The eyebrow centre is the trigger point to activate the Ajna chakra. Chant the mantra “Om” slowly synchronise with breath and concentrate on this point alone.
This is Shambhavi mudra used to awaken Ajna Chakra.
Esoteric Tantric Visualisation and Worship of the Chakra
In Kundalini tantra, every chakra is esoterically described as a flower with many petals. Each chakra also has many other aspects like Bija Mantra (seed letter mantra of the chakra), letters on each petal, presiding deity, deity related to the element and many other aspects.
In tantric tradition, each chakra is visualised and worship is offered to each part of the chakra using mantras and hand mudras. It has to be learned from the qualified kundalini master. This tantric visualisation can also be used to awaken Ajna Chakra.
Description of Ajna Chakra from the tantras
In tantra, Ajna Chakra is described as a flower with 2 petals. The petals are white or light grey in colour. On the petals are found the seed letters Ham and Ksham written in silvery white colour. Ham and Ksham represents Shiva and Shakti respectively.
Just below the chakra, the three nadis Ida, Pingala and Sushumna merge. In the centre or pericarp of the flower is a round dark circle, which represents void or Shoonya. Inside it is an inverted triangle representing Shakti. Above the triangle is a black Siva lingam. It is called Itara Lingam.
Within the triangle of the chakra, there is the combination of letters that represent Omkara or the primoidal sound Om. It is described as pure intellect or Buddhi or the inner Self and resembles a flame in its radiance. Above it is the half crescent moon and above it the Makara in the form of Bindu.
In the petals is also the deity of the Ajna Chakra called Hakini. She has six faces like the moon. In her six hands she holds a book, a skull, a small book, a rosary and other two hands show the gesture of granting boons and dispelling fear. She is described as Shuddha-Chitta or pure minded.
In some traditions, worship is offered only to the letters present on the petals of the chakra (Ham and Ksham) and the main deity associated with the chakra to awaken the Ajna Chakra. Also, different traditions may worship different deities.
In any case, mantras and hand mudras for worship has to be learned from a proper master who has been initiated through a lineage and is beyond the scope of this article.
Breathing through the Chakra
Another easy way to awaken the Ajna chakra is to breathe through the chakra. Sit in any meditative pose with spine erect. Breathe normally. Take you attention to the location of the chakra (In the spine at the level of the centre of chest). Take a slow and deep breath and imagine that you are breathing in through the Ajna chakra and then breathing out slowly through it. Continue this process for 5 to 10 minutes. When we breathe through our nostrils, we feel the air coming in and going out. Same way, visualise and imagine that air is coming in through the chakra and going out through the chakra. This is only a visualisation. This process, helps to remove lot of blocks and to awaken the Ajna chakra.
Seed Mantra Chanting and concentration on chakra
Yet another way to awaken Ajna chakra is to concentrate on the location of the chakra and chant the seed syllable mantra of Ajna chakra, which is – Om. Sit in any comfortable meditative posture with spine erect. Chant mentally the Bija mantra Om very slowly and with full awareness. Continue the chanting and concentration on the chakra as long as you are comfortable. One may start from 5 minutes and go up to 1 hour of this practice.
Listed above are just few of the standard methods used to awaken Ajna chakra and in no way exhaustive. Methods may vary according to traditional and lineage and may include use of mantras, sound frequencies, hand mudras and other Hatha yoga and meditative practices. Select the methods that suite you the most.