Being With Your Intuition – Anja Chakra

We experience the world we live in through our senses.

We’ve all learned to trust our senses in what we we can taste, smell, touch, see and hear, but these sense perceptions can limit us and stunt our spiritual growth. Everyone has heard of the sixth sense; our intuition, our ability to tap into a deeper sense perception, but how can we learn to trust this too? This is what the Anja Chakra or the Third Eye Chakra is all about.

The symbolism of the Third Eye Chakra is acquiring wisdom beyond our perceptions, so we can see beyond what is illusion. It is witnessing a freedom beyond the realms of what can hold us back; stereotypes, for example, traditions, conventions, rules and regulations and powerful conditions of worth placed upon us by our parents. We can break out and realise ultimately nothing can hold us back – it is only the mind that has power over us and if we can control the mind, we can then transcend any limitations.

When I think of this, I am reminded of Victor Frankl and his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. A holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl believed that in the most unbearable conditions, one can survive through one’s spiritual self. He noted that animals have instincts to guide them but that we have replaced instincts with social traditions, finding guidance in conformity and conventionality, but overlooking the freedom and the responsibility to make our own choices in life and to find our own meaning.

Connection with the Third Eye Chakra helps us to see beyond what is deemed the ‘norm’ and beyond the mind and all its desires, longings, worries, fears and judgments. We then enter into the realms of knowledge, wisdom, and intuition.  The Ajna Chakra is the seat of emotional intelligence and the sixth sense that regulates the five lower chakras. When Ajna Chakra is open and balanced we feel inspired and creative and are able to see intuitively.

When I was a young person, I looked to other people for guidance and advice. I sought opinions when I needed to make decisions and asked whether my thinking was sound or if I ought to choose a different way. Sometimes, I asked what I should do. I often followed other people in what they did, in all different facets of life; in career choices, in what I wore, what food I ate, in how I conducted myself in social situations and what lifestyle choices I made. As I grew older, this changed as I learnt to pay attention to my inner guide, but I still fell into the trap of social conditioning and in many situations, I didn’t follow my instincts. This only caused further trauma and difficulties in my life; damaging relationships with men, unrewarding job choices, an unhealthy lifestyle. I was suffering, but only because I wasn’t awakened to the life force within me; the ability to ‘see’ with my third eye.

Thankfully, I have left all this behind, but it wasn’t until I fully embraced yoga as a mind, body, soul practice that I realised developing the third eye is the doorway to moving beyond the physical world to a unified whole with an unyielding connection to spirit.

In my yoga practice, working with the third eye chakra can realize the following benefits:

  • mental clarity
  • improved concentration
  • clear self-expression
  • strengthened intuition
  • a sense of bliss
  • decisiveness
  • insight

I have one more chakra to write about, the seventh chakra, or crown chaka, known as Sahasrara or Thousand Petals. This is where there is no intellectual knowing but only serenity, joy, and deep peace.

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Being with the Heart – Anahata Chakra

Responding to all things associated with the heart stirs feelings of love, affection, compassion and a willingness to open up to feelings that connect us with each other, with all living things and with the universe.

I know I need more heart stirrings in my life. Moreover, I believe we all do.

Continuing with my exploration of the chakras, the energy centres we have in our astral body, the heart chakra, known as the Anahata chakra, is sometimes referred to as the bridge connecting our state of being in the physical world (the chakras centres below the heart) with our more spiritual self (the chakras found above the heart in our throat, our third eye and our crown).

If our heart chakra is blocked, we can remain ‘imprisoned’ in our desires for physical comforts, sexual stimulations and every experience in life driven by the ego. We neglect (or we are unaware of) human qualities and experiences such as profound love, creativity, self expression and a desire to know the truth, and to come to know our Higher Selves.

Another way of viewing this is that the bridge at our heart chakra connects our thoughts and our emotions, with our spirituality. In my own exploration of the chakras and my own spiritual journey, I believe the Anahata or heart chakra has become the most chakra of all for where I currently am on my journey.

When I practice asanas and pranayama and when I meditate, focusing on the heart chakra, I am working on developing:

  • My capacity for empathy for other people
  • My capacity and empathy for all animals, nature and the planet
  • My intensity for which I can care for another person and all life forms
  • My emotional openness
  • My self-knowledge and capacity for self-reflection
  • The compassion and love I feel for myself
  • How peaceful and calm I can feel and for how long I can sustain this feeling

I know I need to work on my heart chakra. Why? Because I am aware I sometimes feel feelings of irritability with others, I can be judgemental, I can feel hurt in response to the actions of others, I can feel restless and agitated and sometimes I struggle to find empathy or compassion. All traits of being human some might say and why not just accept this and carry on?

For me, being aware of these traits in myself is something I choose not to ignore. I strive to be centred and to be the best I can be, to feel at peace with myself and others around me and to connect at a higher level and develop my spiritual practice.

In my psychotherapy training, I discovered the ‘real’ relationship; being with another and experiencing unconditional love, a love that is compassionate, a love without reason or attraction and born of the understanding we are all one and all in this together. We are all travelling on the same journey, a long and arduous one from unconsciousness to consciousness.

Awakening my heart chakra and discovering who I truly am is bringing me peace and contentment.

Chakra work and the practice of developing self awareness and a greater understanding of what is and what isn’t real isn’t always easy. It’s a path I stumbled upon back in 2009 when I discovered yoga. It is one that is fulfilling and enriching and never-ending.

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Being Creative, Being in Tune with Emotions – Swadhistana Chakra

Swadhistana Chakra – LIHazleton – Oil Pastels on Paper

Creativity is inherent in us all whether we realise it or not. For most people, our creativity as babies and children falls by the wayside when we learn to be in the world as responsible young adults. We have to pass exams, find careers, build sustainable lives and conform to social norms. This is what happened to me.

This year I have spent much of my time in creative pursuits and being aware of my emotions and dealing with them as appropriately as I can in the moment as they arise.

In 2008 when my role in the corporate workplace was made redundant, I allowed my creativity to surface again after many years of absence and have been drawing, painting and writing ever since. I also re-trained as a psychotherapist and took up yoga. Both of these enabled me to explore my inner world and understand how to balance and work with my emotions.

The Swadhistana chakra is known as the chakra of creativity and emotions. When in balance it leads to feelings of wellness, abundance, pleasure, and joy. When out of balance, a person may feel emotionally unstable and be susceptible to depression, addictions or anxiety.

In my yoga practice I have been working with this chakra in combination with consistently painting and writing. I have been utilising online courses to keep learning new techniques in landscape and portrait painting. Likewise, in creative writing I have been workshopping with others in tutor-led writing groups and doing a memoir course run by the National Centre for Writing and tutored by the novelist Monique Roffey.

There are yoga poses designed to stimulate the Swadhistana chakra to help keep emotions and creativity in balance. I am an emotional person – vulnerable and emotionally charged at times and often easily reduced to tears. By continually being aware of and gaining a greater understanding of my emotions, I am discovering I can cultivate balance in my emotional body and perceive better and higher ways of living and expressing myself.

In my writing life, my goal is to write freely, in a way where I can fully express emotions and expand my awareness. In fiction, I endeavour to do this by writing stories with interesting characters who are emotionally challenged so I can explore their inner world as the plot/story develops in the characters outer world. In my non-fiction, I am writing memoir, exploring ‘the self’, writing in the first person and putting ‘me’ centre stage. To do this in an engaging way, I have to fully express myself and bare my soul, not necessarily on the page, but certainly to myself, keeping nothing hidden. I use yoga to help here in a specific way, on the mat in asanas but also whist in meditation.

Writing doesn’t come easy to me. It’s a constant challenge, but my yoga practice and studying the chakra’s help. Creativity and self expression is entangled and connected. Exploring it, examining what it means for me, brings unbounded joy.

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