Intermediate Yoga Sequences

Third-Eye Chakra Tune-Up Practice

Use this practice to open and build awareness in your ajna chakra to begin to see everything in your life more clearly.

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START WITH Intro to the Ajna Chakra
RETURN TO Chakra Tune-Up

stephanie snyder sukhasana anjali mudra

Use this practice to open and build awareness in your ajna chakra to begin to see everything in your life more clearly.

Let’s start by doing an awakening exercise for the ajna chakra. Take a comfortable seat. Softly close your eyes. Turn your gaze gently to your third eye, or the space between your eyebrows. Bring your hands to a prayer position and begin rubbing them together vigorously.

See also A Beginner’s Guide to the Chakras

stephanie snyder

Once you have created a good amount of heat between your palms, cup them over your eyes. Let the eyes absorb the heat. Feel the heat soften any tension in or around the eyes. Repeat this process 3 times pausing to feel between each round.

Set Your Ajna Intention
Now set your intention for this practice. To grease the wheels, here are some themes that relate to the sixth chakra: Unlocking intuition; improving correct perception; seeing that you are connected to everyone and everything; inviting third eye wisdom to light your way. Feel free to use any of these or choose your own. As long as your intention feels true for you it has value.

See also Chakra-Balancing Yoga Sequence

Dolphin Plank

Stephanie Snyder Dolphin Plank

Come onto your hands and knees. Bring your elbows to the floor directly under your shoulders and bring your hands to Prayer (Anjali Mudra). Step the feet back as you straighten your legs behind you. The only points of contact with the floor are the balls of the feet and the forearms. Make your legs super strong, engage your belly and pull your front ribs in and up to widen the low back. This is a challenging pose, stick with it! Imagine the prayer hands and the third eye are connected by an invisible stream. That stream is your intention. Stay laser-focused on it for 5–10 breaths. Let your resolve to attach to something worthy of your attention make you strong. When you release the pose, rest on your belly.

See also Claire Missingham’s Lower-Chakra-Balancing Flow

Eagle Pose

stephanie snyder garudasana

Garudasana

From standing bend your knees. Lift your right knee and stack it on top of your left. Then wrap your right foot behind your left shin if possible. Bring your arms to shoulder height and stack your left elbow on top of your right, wrapping the right hand into the left. Keep elbows bent at 90 degrees. Balance here bringing your hips down low. Encourage your knees to move toward the midline instead of skewing to one side. The word “garuda” means to devour. Let this pose devour ego, doubt, and fear, clearing the way for loving intention. Spend 5 breaths on this side and then switch.

See also Yoga Poses for the Chakra System

Warrior III Pose

stephanie snyder warrior III

Virabhadrasana III

From standing with arms by your side, engage your legs and begin to tip the pelvis forward. Send your left leg straight back and up until it is parallel to the floor. Extend the spine and head forward also keeping the upper body parallel to the floor. There should be plum line from the head to the left toes. Reach your arms straight back and firm the triceps. Lift your low belly to widen the low back and stand here strong and balanced. Connect with the third eye center and realize that the more we connect to everyone and everything, the easier it is for us to remain balanced even in the least stable conditions. Stay here for 5 breaths, soft but strong.

See also Chakra 101

Dolphin Pose

Stephanie Snyder Dolphin Pose

This pose is similar to Downward-Facing Dog except its done on the forearms. Begin on your hands and knees. Place your elbows directly under your shoulders and bring your hands to anjali mudra as you did in Dolphin Plank. Tuck your toes and lift your hips up and back as you straighten your legs. Feet should be about hip-width apart. Firm your shoulder blades into the ribs and lift the shoulders away from the ears to free your neck. Walk your feet in a little closer to your arms, bring the thumbs of your prayer mudra to the third eye. Spend 3 breaths here, bringing all of your attention to the third eye center.

See also Grounding Flow For the First Three Chakras

Feathered Peacock Pose

stephanie snyder pincha mayurasana

Pincha Mayurasana

Now you are going to pull together all of the elements of this practice for Forearm Balance. Ajna chakra, just like inversions, can greatly influence your perspective. Facing the wall, bring your elbows under your shoulders and the hands into anjali mudra. Walk your legs in as close to your arms as you can. Keep your spine lifting and long! Raise one leg as high as it will go and kick the other leg up as you push off the floor to touch the wall with your feet. Pause here. Lift your shoulders away from your ears and keep your head off of the floor. Make sure you feel stable balancing on your forearms. Now lift your gaze and bring your third eye center to your thumbs. You may keep your feet on the wall or one at a time, take your feet off the wall so the legs are perpendicular to the earth. Now you are balancing with the third eye at the thumbs and the feet directly over the pelvis. Spend 5 breaths or as little or long as you like and then lower the legs down one at a time the same way you came up.

See also 5-Minute Chakra-Balancing Flow Video

Child’s Pose

stephanie snyder child's pose

Balasana

Time to rest! From hands and knees, ease the sitbones back onto the heels into Child’s Pose. Gently rest your forehead on the earth, reach your arms forward and take 5 slow breaths. Let the gentle pressure on the third eye sink you deeper into a meditative and insightful repose. Allow your whole body to release deeply.

See also Chakra-Aligning Soundtrack

Third Eye Chakra Chant + Meditation

stephanie snyder sukhasana anjali mudra

Now that you have spent some time connecting with the fifth chakra through asana, breath, and intention, please have a comfortable cross-legged seat. Keeping your eyes closed, begin to chant the bija mantra for ajna chakra, which is AUM. You may either chant it out loud or silently to yourself. Think of this mantra as a code. As you chant, the code begins to unpack itself and reveal to you the sacred intelligence of the ajna chakra energy center. As you chant the sound of AUM, try to sense the vibration of the sound at the third eye and around the circumference of the skull. Feel free to experiment with pace and volume and chant in a way that resonates with you. Spend at least 2 minutes with your chant, more if you like.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)
When you are finished chanting lie back in Savasana. Feel the scalp, skull bones, and brain relax deeply. Leave yourself here long enough to drift into a deep and peaceful rest.

See also Video: Chakra-Aligning Practice

About Stephanie Snyder

Stephanie Snyder Chakra Tune-Up

Stephanie Snyder is a San Francisco-based vinyasa yoga teacher. She’s written, modeled, and created DVDs for Yoga Journal in addition to presenting at Yoga Journal LIVE! Don’t miss Stephanie’s class in our weekend-long chakra event coming up in San Diego June 24-27