The only real valuable thing is intuition. – Albert Einstein
Every week or so, you probably hear “trust your gut” or “trust your instincts.” I’ve also heard it phrased as, “trust your gut – it already knows what your head doesn’t.”
I’ve got a problem with these phrases and the way people us them, but that’s because you might not know the difference between your instincts (in your “gut”) and your intuition (which is in your mind).
Your sixth chakra, ajna, located just slightly above the space between your eyes, is your center of intuition, insight, focus, and your overall path in life. You might remember that your third chakra, manipura, focused on having the confidence to have goals, make a plan, + move forward. Anyone can make plans + make them happen, but are your plans really what’s best for you, or are you doing it just because you think you “should” or “have to?”
Intuition is the key to everything, in painting, filmmaking, business – everything. I think you could have an intellectual ability, but if you can sharpen your intuition, which they say is emotion and intellect joining together, then a knowingness occurs. – David Lynch
Let’s clarify the difference between instinct (manipura chakra) + intuition (ajna chakra).
Your instinct does come from your “gut.” They’re your knee-jerk, automatic reactions, driven by your own sense of self-confidence + inner-power. A belly-sourced fight-or-flight response if you will. For example, if you were walking through the woods + came across a bear, you have 2 options: run or fight. If you’re confident in your skills + your ability to win, you might actually fight – otherwise, you’ll run.
While the chemicals that actually induce your fight-or-flight response are in your brain, it’s often said that your “gut” is a second brain that directly communicates with your actual brain. For example, when you’re up against that bear, you probably aren’t thinking about eating. That’s because your digestive system has shut down so you can decide what to do + have the blood flow to do it.
So how is intuition different?
Your intuition comes from deep within the electric synapses in your mind. Its something that modern science hasn’t fully been able to explain yet. Traditionally defined as, “the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason,” intuition goes beyond biology + emotion to simply knowing because somewhere inside of you (past a level that science can measure), you already knew it was true/right/the best thing to do.
OK, it sounds a bit like a super power, but you’ve used your intuition more times than you realize.
I’ll use a recent example from my own life. I had the most awesome part-time job: I worked from home, got a steady salary, + loved what I was doing. Suddenly, I lost the job – a job that had given me the first sense of independence I’d ever had + it was gone in a flash. I felt bad about how it happened, but for some reason, I knew everything was going to be OK (not a normal reaction for me!). Two weeks later, I found out that the job I’d had was gone because of changes in the company, so I would have lost it anyway. Two weeks after that, I landed another job that I really enjoy + get paid even more!
The downside of intuition is that we often think we’re using it when we’re actually using our emotions. It can be a very subtle difference, but clearly an important one. That’s where your ajna chakra comes in. By learning more about this chakra, and the other 6, you’ll develop an innate understanding of when your intuition is giving you a nudge in the right direct.
As with all of the 7 chakras, each chakra has a specific location along the back of your body, along with associated body parts, colors, natural elements, sounds, senses, asana poses, + key physical/mental symptoms to tell if that particular chakra is spinning efficiently (instead of slow or out-of-control).
Meet your Third Eye Chakra – Ajna:
Location: Just above the space between your eyebrows
Associated Body Parts: Eyes, eyebrows, forehead
Color: Indigo/Dark Blue or Light Purple (depending on the lineage of Yoga)
Sound: SO HUM
Focus: Intuition, insight, focus, seeing clearly, dedication to your unique spiritual path
When Spinning Slowly, you may be: Insensitive, have difficulty visualizing things in your mind, denial, excessive skepticism, the inability to see alternatives, lack of imagination
When Spinning Too Quickly, you may be: having nightmares, intrusive memories, difficulty concentrating, excessive attachments, delusions, obsessions, hallucinations
When Spinning Efficiently, you’ll have: a good memory, good dream recall, the ability to visualize, strong intuition, penetrating insight, a creative imagination, a guiding vision for your life
If you experience any of the symptoms of your ajna chakra spinning too slow or out-of-control, there are a number of easy + delightful things you can do to help it return to spinning efficiently:
- Indigo Depths: Bring on the deep blue – or purple! It’s no mistake that your ever-popular denim jeans are blue – it’s the color of your intuition: you feel like you’ve got a grasp on life, you’re going places, + your trust that everything is happening as it should (that’s a lot for 1 pair of pants!). Finding more ways to have dark blue or purple in your daily life will help you tap into + trust your intuition, even when you have to make some tough calls. Try a ring, a bag, or any other item that you use often + daily – the more you see it, the better!
- Light it Up: When it comes to your intuition, natural light is numero uno. Just like your physical body, your intuition will send you subtle signals to let you know if you’re on the right path. The hard part is listening to those signals + not pushing them away as mental chatter (or just the truth that you don’t want to hear). During the day, get outside, take a walk or a hike (even if just for 5-10 minutes), + let your mind wander (that means no music + no talking on the phone either). We bombard ourselves with so much audible + visual noise that its easy to miss the messages we really need to hear. Give your mind + your nervous system a break a few times each day.
- Helpful Asana: With a focus on your eyes + forehead, the physical practices for your ajna chakra involve asana that stimulate that area, as well as challenge your concentration + patience with yourself. Suggestions: Anjaneyasana (Low or Crescent Lunge), Balasana (Child’s Pose), Sasangasana (Rabbit), Bhujangasana (Cobra), Garudasana (Eagle), Vrkasana (Tree), Savasana (Corpse), Nadi Shodhanam (Alternative Nostril Breathing)
Your intuition is an incredibly powerful tool that you always have available to you, as long as you’re quiet enough to hear it + humble enough to trust it. 🙂
Up next: Sahasrara a.k.a your Crown Chakra (stay tuned!)
When was the last time your INTUITION steered you in a better direction?
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