by Kara-Leah Grant: This is the second interview with two of the most senior Satyananda teachers touring New Zealand this June…
to deliver workshops on various yoga topics including Ajna Chakra, Yoga & Art and Kriya Yoga.
Today’s interview is with Rishi Nityabodhananda. He is a Yogacharya (Master of yoga), a versatile teacher with decades of experience, and he has just written a book called Ajna Chakra (available from Anahata Yoga Retreat for NZ$17).
Ajna Chakra includes discussions on Kundalini Yoga and Ajna Chakra according to tantric texts. It also includes yoga practices for Ajna Chakra and research into the role of the pineal gland and its relationship to Ajna Chakra.
Nityabodhananda spoke to The Yoga Lunchbox to share some of his vast knowledge about Ajna Chakra (the sixth chakra).
1. What is Ajna Chaka?
The area behind the eye brow centre in the brain is known as Ajna Chakra and is a psychic centre which can be awakened through subtle yogic practices.
All our ordinary information, thoughts and decisions are based on external information gained through the senses. However, through awakening of Ajna Chakra humans are capable of intuitive thought, which is information that does not come from an external source.
Ajna Chakra awakening allows for the perception of that which is often thought to be unknowable.
2. What practices work specifically with Ajna Chakra?
Practices for awakening Ajna Chakra include; meditation, pranayama, trataka (focus meditation), chakra shuddhi and neti.
Also one needs to work with themselves, their patterns, personality, etc. and discover the nature of their own individual being. This discovery is the inner knowledge.
3. Are we trying to open, develop, or purify this chakra? Or is it all three? And why are we trying to do this?
We are trying to:
- Awaken the chakra
- Awaken the flow of Prana from the base of the body where this energy is said to be dormant, through Sushumna (the central energy channel) to Ajna Chakra
- Discover the experience within.
Purification refers to the unraveling of the limitations that are blocking the chakras due to our unconscious and subconscious thoughts and patterns. These need to be realized and transcended before the final awakening can occur.
The experience of Ajna is deep. It is beyond all knowledge of individuality. There is just the inner experience, there is no “I” involved within it. This results in experience, intuition and a new direction in life.
4. How does someone with an open ajna chakra perceive the world?
At the external level there is no difference between two people: one with awakened Ajna chakra and one without. They may look and act in a similar way, however people who display great abilities, excel in life and make right choices are those who have partially awakened Ajna Chakras.
Those with open Ajna Chakras find themselves with a new attitude and perception on life.
As Swami Satyananda says in Kundalini Tantra:
No events of life affect you adversely and the various objects and experiences that come into your life and fade out of your life do not disturb you at all. You participate in all the affairs of life and you live fully, but as a detached witness. Life flows like a fast current and you surrender and move with it.
5. Is it possible to have an open Ajna chakra without an open anahata chakra?
Awakening each of the chakras enhances certain qualities within that person. Ajna Chakra, the eye brow centre awakens intuition. Anahata Chakra, the heart space awakens love and compassion and Manipura Chakra, at the naval center, awakens personal power.
Yes it is possible to have the inner vision of Ajna Chakra without the compassion from Anahata, however a person may be ruthless in pursuit of his vision if Manipura is also somewhat awakened.
6. Does opening/developing ajna chakra mean you develop psychic powers & life gets a whole lot easier?
Opening Ajna Chakra gives vision. When the vision is awakened we see the complex personality, patterns, and deep roots of our imbalances, however we also gain the capacity to deal with these deep rooted imbalances associated the lower chakras.
Awakening Ajna Chakra is an important preliminary step to awaken the other chakras.
7. Are there any dangers in working with this chakra?
Spiritual life is a process and like all practices, Ajna Chakra practices should be done in moderation.
Kundalini Yoga begins with awakening Ajna Chakra, because it gives us perspective and vision. Whatever we see requires maturity and an attitude of acceptance. We cannot criticize and judge the experiences we awaken. This is not the place for morality and ethics. It is most important to awaken the witness attitude in front of the content of mind, then there is no danger.
8. Any final words?
Ajna chakra is the Guru chakra. It is the chakra through which we communicate with the Guru who is already within. But where is he? For fast progress, we have an external Guru who represents our inner life. We use the Guru’s books, talks, message, physical presence and relationship to awaken the inner Guru. Without this relationship we are searching through endless questions, the answers to which give rise to further questions and not to peace.
Om Tat Sat