6th Chakra & Neptune The Power of Dream Time

“Neptune’s realm is the unhurried, imaginative dream state, which is always available to us through the act of conscious reflection…When we pause in dream time to gather our wits, we are reminded that beauty is ubundantly available to the unhurried mind. Conscious reveries, trance—any portal to ecstatic self-loss, such as diving through a sun-dappled wave—are all forms of worshipping Neptune. Neptune rewards us for these acts of reverence with inspiration.” – Caroline Casey, Making the Gods Work for You

One could easily substitute 6th chakra for Neptune in the description above. The 6th chakra is our portal to dream time and our capacity to dream our world into being and to manifest is often directed by the 6th chakra. The power of the chakra is profound, but it is something we wield unconsciously. Casey goes on to write, “We are constantly summoning and invoking through our imaginings, but often in an inconsistent and confused manner. Our lives, therefore, assume a corresponding design of confusion. One law of the dream world is that our personal lives are expanded or constricted by what we imagine to be possible.” Working in the 6th chakra becomes important work to ensure we are manifesting what we truly desire rather than dreaming unconsciously. Use these practices below to access the dream world of Neptune and the 6th chakra.

Nadi Shodhana

Nadi Shodhana is an excellent pranayama practice for stimulating the 6th chakra. The movement of prana up the nadis (ida & pingala) terminate at the 6th chakra and are accessed through the breath flow through the nostrils. Try this variation on Nadi Shodhana, instead of using the hands use the focus on the mind. Bring your awareness to the third eye at the brow center. Focus your awareness on the third eye and visualize an orb of purple light there. After a few minutes, connect with your breath and take several deep breaths in and out through the nostrils. Feel the breath in both nostrils evenly and smoothly. Now focus on your left nostril and draw the inhale through your left nostril into the third eye region. From third eye exhale out through the right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril up into the third eye and exhale through the left. This is one round. Do 8 more rounds with the focus on the third eye. Once you complete the pranayama practice, spend several minutes with the eyes closed, and the focus on the 3rd eye and the prana that you have generated there.

Inversions

image from fitsugar.com

Prepare the 6th chakra for an expansive savasana through the practice of inversions toward the end of your practice. Any kind of inversion practice will bring a flow of blood and prana to the 6th and 7th chakras. As the pranic flow increases to the 6th chakra, we open up to its capacity for fruitful dreaming. If possible practice a version of headstand or headstand to ensure an open flow of energy to the upper chakras (inversion like shoulder stand while beneficial in their own right will not bring the same flow of prana to the 6th chakra). Practice the inversion and then give yourself 5-7 breaths in downward dog to transition and finally 5-7 breaths in virasana to absorb the benefits of your inversion practice.

Yoga Nidra

image from dancingthesoul.com

Yoga Nidra is often known as the yoga of sleep. The practice of yoga nidra allows the body to relax while the mind stays awake through a form of guided meditation. Yoga nidra practice allows the body to drop into a brain-wave state that we reach during sleep. This brain wave state is one that takes several hours of sleep to reach, yet yoga nidra can reach it instantly. It is a wonderful practice for nourishing and replenishing the body, but it is also a place where we can actively participate in our dreams. I often encourage students to set an intention when they begin their yoga nidra practice as it is carried with them into their subconscious mind and working with intention on this level can help to powerfully shift behavioral and thought patterns and can open us up to new ways of dealing with issues that have arisen for us. For more information about yoga nidra, please visit my website.

Chakra Color Visualization to Activate the 6th Chakra

“The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

As we traveled through the lower chakras, we explored the elements associated with each. The first chakra is associated with earth, the second water, third with fire and the fourth with air. The throat chakra is often spoken of as being associated with the element of ether, which has a very light and etheric quality, but moving out of the throat, we leave all traditional element behind (a note here, that sometimes the throat is considered to embody the element of sound). The sixth chakra, is sometimes spoken of as embracing the element of light. While light is not an element in it the most traditional sense, it certainly has elemental qualities and given the 6th chakra association with sight, light makes perfect sense in this context.

Diving further into the element of light, we have the opportunity to connect with vision and this week we explored that through the colors of each of the chakras. The practice involved visualizing the colors of the chakras as we worked particular areas. Not only does this begin training the inner eye of the 6th chakra, but it also offers us the opportunity to activate each of the chakras through the energetic activation that comes form visualizing the colors of the chakras.

Below are colors and areas of the body to focus on around each of the chakras:

1st Chakra
Visualize the color of deep crimson red. See this at the base of the spine, in the perineum. You can also visualize this red light traveling down the leg lines and into the soles of the feet. Visualize this color in standing poses, balance poses and seated poses.

2nd Chakra
See the color of deep burnt orange in the 2nd chakra. See this color in the hips, low back, sacrum, and low below. Visualize this color in hip openers like pigeon pose and thread the needle. See the color orange as you take belly breaths in reclining poses like Supta Bodhakonasa.

3rd Chakra
Visualize a vibrant yellow in the solar plexus, the belly region above the navel center and contained by the diaphragm. Visualize this bright yellow light moving through the upper belly like electricity or fire. See it in core activating poses, when working uddiyana bhanda and other pranayama like kapalabhati. You can also bring this color to the organs in the abdomen.

4th Chakra
The color of the fourth chakra is a rich emerald green. See this color in the heart center at front and back of the chest. Visualize it in the lungs, the physical heart and up to the shoulders. I also like to visualize this light traveling out through the the arms and into the hands. See this color green in chest openers like bridge pose and in poses where the breath is invited into the chest through a binding of the arms behind the back.

5th Chakra
See the color here at the throat as cobalt blue. See it wrapping the throat like a band of blue light. Its focus here on the physical body is the cervical spine. See the color blue flooding the neck during neck stretches and release. Also visualize the color blue went chanting and moving the breath.

6th Chakra
The color here at the center of the brain is amethyst purple. Visualize this color during meditation. See the purple light traveling from the center of the brain out through third eye at the center of the forehead. Direct this light outward, but also turn it back on itself opening up inner site and intuitive wisdom.

6th Chakra: The Art of Seeing

After two weeks off of writing this blog, I returned with explorations for the 6th chakra. It seemed appropriate that the week of this first class in this chakra was the week of the elections. I spent Tuesday night and some of Wednesday plugged in to the radio and computer and even found myself watching a bit of TV to catch the updates. It was an information overload and was a good reminder for me of all the information we bring into our physical and energetic system through the eyes, and, especially in our “plugged in” society, how rare it is that we turn all of that off.

The 6th chakra, sometimes known as the third eye…though I find this to be a misnomer as the third eye is an energetic center in its own right, but doesn’t actually represent the location of the 6th chakra. The chakra system lies along, and is fed by, the sushumna nadi which runs along the spine and then continues that pathway up through the center of the throat. As we leave the 5th chakra at the throat, the sushumna does not jut forward in the head but continues straight up through the center of the brain and up through the crown. The result, is that the 6th chakra is located in the center of the brain, near the pituitary gland. The 3rd eye, while an important aspect of energy that flows in and out of the 6th chakra is not the 6th chakra itself.

All this talk of the 3rd eye, brings us to the function of the 6th chakra: to see, both internally and externally. We take in information from the outside world through our eyes and process it through the 6th chakra, but we also turn inward and explore our personal landscape processing this information and drawing on our own internal wisdom and intuition. As we have moved well out of the lower chakras, the practices become less and less about the physical body and more connected with the mind and spirit, particularly through meditation. Our practices this week focused on the art of seeing both outwardly and inwardly.

Cleaning the Mind’s Eye

art by Dominique Falla

At the beginning of your practice close your eyes. Notice the darkness behind your eye lids, notice how you feel as you slip into the stillness and silence of your closed eyes. As you sit, first notice what kind of pictures the mind creates for you that rise up to take the place of the darkness. Then as you begin to notice these thoughts and pictures arise, release them one by one with the breath. Each time a thought arises offer it up to the inhale and release it with the exhale. As the thoughts start to slow, revel in the void behind the closed eyes. We spend our days taking in information through our eyes. Give yourself this opportunity in which you don’t have to take in information. Observe how it feels and, if you like, use this opportunity to know open up to intuitive wisdom and guidance and see what arises for you. This is the perfect time to set an intention for your practice.

 

Exercising the Outer Sight

Close the eyes, take a moment to let the eyes rest. Next open the eyes and focus your gaze center. Without moving the head, take your gaze to the left on inhale, center on exhale, right on inhale and center on exhale. Close the eyes again and allow the eyes to rest. Open the eyes and repeat that same movement center, left, center, right and then close the eyes. Now open the eyes, without moving the head look up on inhale, center on exhale, down on inhale and center on exhale. Close the eyes and rest and then repeat again. On the next round, open the eyes and without moving the head look to the upper right corner of the eye on inhale, bottom corner of the left on exhale, upper right on inhale and bottom left on exhale. Close the eyes, rest and when you open the eyes, repeat, but now starting in the upper left and moving to the lower right. Close the eyes. Finally open the eyes and make two circles in each direction, counter-clockwise and clockwise again without moving the head. Close the eyes and keep them closed as you rub the palms of the hands together. Once they are warm, bring the palms to cover the eyes and allow the warmth to sink into the eyes.

Working the Inner Sight

art by Alex Grey

Close the eyes. In your mind’s eye, see the sushumna nadi, the central channel, running along the spine. Visualize it traveling down to the base of the spine and up through the brain to the crown of the head. Draw your awareness up to the region of the 6th chakra, at the center of the brain. As you bring your focus there, visualize a glowing orb of amethyst purple light. Take several deep breaths here, narrowing your focus and sharpening the image in your mind’s eye. Now begin to direct purple light to shine forward from the 6th chakra toward the front of the head. Direct the beam of light to shine out between the eyebrows at 3rd eye center. Notice any sensations you feel on the forehead as you continue to direct this light out of the head. After several breaths, start to visualize an eye between the two brows. See this eye with your inner vision and once the image comes into focus, now visualize yourself opening your 3rd eye. As the eye blinks open, look outward and see what you notice. What information comes to you? Sit with this. After a few minutes, imagine the eye could rotate around and focus inward, inside your own mind. With the eye opened to your inner mind, now notice what information arises. Do you receive intuitive guidance or wisdom? After several minutes drop your awareness from the third eye down the sushumna nadi to the base of the spine. Take several deep breaths into your sit-bones before you open your eyes.