Nurturing the 6th Chakra Through the Moon

The Moon, in Qabalistic tradition, is called the Intelligence of Interrelatedness and is though to have an affinity for the occipital region of the brain (the round curve at the back of your heard). In esoteric metaphysics, the occipital region of the brain is said to be connected to every point in time and space. Through the Moon we are connected to the universe. An idea to entertain (in your occipital) is that this region of the brain is the portal through which images cross from our minds out into the world, where they become real. – Caroline Casey

With this second to last full moon of 2012, the lunar power swirling through the universe held a certain amount of intensity. As I sat with it in preperation for our final 6th chakra yoga class, I began to see the parallels of the energy of the moon and the energy of the 6th chakra. Both the 6th chakra and the moon invite us to dive inside in and explore our inner realms. They both explore the fruits of dream time and our power to be active participants in the world we dream up. As I explored this further, I came across the passage above from Caroline Casey about the moon. It seemed fitting, this idea of the moon’s residence in the back of the skull and that like the 6th chakra it created this bridge between our own mind and the world.

We are gearing up for powerful energetic shifts as we begin the final month of 2012. An open 6th chakra is a key navigational tool for artfully managing these changes and the moon is ushering these shifts. Lena Stevens writes of the lunar energies, “Between now and the winter solstice on December 21 is a crucial time of letting go, revisiting priorities, separating yourself from what is not in your best interest, and reaching for a higher vibration in all things.” I invite you to use these chakra practices as we move forward to continue to open, enliven and enrich your energetic system.

Hakini Mudra

hakini mudraThe practice of hakini mudra helps to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain. As we bring together the tips of the fingers we invite a balance between the two hemispheres. This balancing of the brain will help bring calmness and equanimity to the 6th chakra and is an excellent way to begin any 6th chakra practice. To practice this mudra bring the tips of all 5 fingers together and place the hands in front of the heart.

Om: The Sound of the 6th Chakra

OmOver the past months we have explored the seed syllables of each of the chakras as a way to access and activate the energy centers. Each chakra has a specific sound, and the seed syllable for the 6th chakra is one we’re only familiar with intoning. The sound here is of the 6th chakra is Om. To activate this chakra a simple chanting of Om directed to the center of the brain or to third eye will help to activate the energy flow in this chakra.

Working Intention with the 6th Chakra

MoonIn her passage about the moon, Casey also spoke about a Qabalistic tradition of setting intention before sleep, allowing it to come to rest in the back of the skull and then drawing it into our dreamworld. We brought the essence of this practice into our yoga class that evening, inviting our intention into the “wakeful dreaming” of our meditation and asana practice. To begin this practice, find a comfortable seat and close the eyes. Bring the awareness to the back of the skull and feel a heaviness there. As you connect with this region in the head, start to see it illuminated with silvery, white light, the color of moonlight. After several breaths, draw up an intention, instilling it in the back of the skull. Feel its extra weight resting there and see the silvery, white light flare as it is ignited by the power of your intention. Meditate on this light and open up to broader reaches of your intention. Then as you take your next exhale, allow the chin to drop to the chest. Feel your intention sliding forward through the 6th chakra and toward the the 3rd eye. Allow your intention to pool up in the third eye, experiencing it as warmth, weight or tingling. Spend several breaths here and on an exhale roll the right ear to the right shoulder. The eyes remain closed as you allow your intention to flow over into the right hemisphere of the brain. Take several breaths and on exhale roll the left ear to the left shoulder, feel your intention wash through the left hemisphere of the brain. Take several more breaths and bring the chin back to the chest. Feel the intention slide, like honey, back to the third eye. Finally, on an inhale, bring the head to neutral. Feel the intention slide back in the skull to 6th chakra and the center of the head. Watch it ignite, glowing purple, and call that intention up one last time deep from your core before you being your practice.

“To go into the dark, with a light is to know the light. To know the dark, go dark. go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and signs, and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.” – Wendell Barry

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.