Before putting in the work to activate and balance your third eye chakra, take a brief lesson in chakras 101. While the third eye is certainly special, getting to know the importance of chakras as a whole is an important first step.
- Ambi Kavanagh, Reiki practitioner, astrologer, and author of Chakras & Self-Care
- Claire Grieve, yoga specialist, stretch therapist, and plant-based health coach
- Erica Matluck, ND, NP, naturopathic doctor, nurse practitioner, holistic coach, and founder of Seven Senses
- Fern Olivia, yoga instructor and Reiki healer
- Jessica Schatz, master Pilates instructor, biomechanics coach, wellness educator, and yoga teacher
- Kate Van Horn, psychic, intuitive tarot reader, founder of (In) A Healing Space, and author of The Inner Tarot
- Rosie Acosta, yoga and meditation teacher and author of You Are Radically Loved
- Serena Poon, CN, celebrity chef, certified nutritionist, and Reiki master
- Susy Markoe Schieffelin, sound healer and Reiki practitioner
What are chakras, you ask? According to Kate Van Horn, psychic, intuitive tarot reader, founder of (In) A Healing Space, and author of The Inner Tarot, you can think of chakras as energy centers in the body. While there are over 100 chakras, there are seven main chakras to be aware of: the root chakra, sacral chakra, solar plexus chakra, heart chakra, throat chakra, third eye chakra, and the crown chakra. There are also different chakra colors and meanings for each, as well as chakra elements you can learn from.
“Chakra in Sanskrit translates to ‘wheel.’ We can view them as spinning vortexes of energy and this energy has the ability to slow down or speed up, or become blocked, stagnant, or even overactive,” says Van Horn. “Each chakra is associated with a certain theme or intention for our experience, from the safety and survival of the root chakra to the spiritual connection of the crown.”
While there’s a lot of chakras, it’s important to keep them all balanced. When one is out of whack, it can affect the entire lineup. “Chakras are responsible for moving, balancing, and regulating the energy in our system and keeping our emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual well-being in balance,” says Susy Markoe Schieffelin, sound healer, yoga teacher, Reiki master, and founder of The Copper Vessel. “The state of a chakra can shift moment to moment depending on a variety of different factors.”
Schieffelin says a chakra could be affected by something you’re feeling, something you experienced during childhood, or an experience from any other point during your life. “Because of this, your chakras are always in a state of flux. They can open and close at any time, which can have an effect on your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being,” she says. But when your chakras are open and balanced, she says energy is able to flow harmoniously through your body, making you feel more grounded, calm, open, elevated, and connected to your higher self.
What is the third eye chakra, and what does the third eye do?
Despite its name, the third eye chakra—or Ajna chakra—is the sixth chakra. It's believed to be an energetic center in the body. “Though it is not an actual physical structure, it is associated with the pineal and pituitary glands on the brain and located on the forehead between the brows,” says Erica Matluck, ND, a naturopathic doctor, nurse practitioner, holistic coach, and founder of Seven Senses.
Matluck says the chakra system is like the organ system of the subtle (or energetic) body, and each chakra has a function or purpose. But what does the third eye do in particular? The function of the third eye is to access clarity, intuition, and foresight. “It gives us the ability to see beyond what is physically present in the moment,” Matluck says. “Seers and psychics typically have highly developed third eye chakras.”
According to Serena Poon, Reiki master, longevity wellness expert, and founder of Culinary Alchemy, the third eye chakra also guides mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. “Alignment in this energy center fosters concentration and emotional balance,” she says. “Many people believe that an open third eye leads to higher consciousness.”
If you find yourself wondering “is my third eye open,” you’re in luck—there are signs your third eye is already open, as well as signs it may be closed.
Is my third eye open? Signs to be aware of
After learning about the different chakras and the power they hold, you may be asking yourself, "Is my third eye open?" According to the experts, it can be easy to tell—starting with taking a look at how you express yourself. Van Horn says one of the signs your third eye is already open is if you have vivid dreams, a great sense of imagination, or a child-like sense of wonder and curiosity. “The third eye is playful and imaginative. If expressing those parts of you feels easy, exciting, and fun, likely your relationship with your third eye is quite healthy,” she says.
Another sign your third eye is already open is feeling good about where life's taking you. “You may experience a deep and meaningful sense of knowing, as well as a connection to your inner vision,” says Poon. “You might feel like your life is in flow, and that things—especially mentally—simply fall into place.” Van Horn agrees, saying someone with a healthy and balanced third eye typically feels “enthusiastic about the opportunities or choices available to them and in their future, rather than overwhelmed or unsure of how they’ll navigate or decide during natural life changes.”
Finally, Schieffelin says your third eye may already be open if you have a strong connection with your intuition. "You notice synchronicities in your life such as thinking of someone right before they call or you run into them, you have vivid dreams that either explain events taking place in your life or predict future events, you’re able to see beyond the stories that people are telling and understand the deeper truth or need they’re trying to convey, and you feel creative and inspired and are able to effortlessly help others see new perspectives,” she says.
When your third eye is closed, on the other hand, Van Horn says the imbalance can show up in a number of ways. “The first being a lack of trust in your intuition, and trouble following your intuition,” she says. “However it can also manifest in poor memory, difficulty imagining the beauty of the future, or a lack of creative and imaginative thinking. Sometimes this limitation in the third eye narrows our world or individual view.”
Van Horn says she's noticed when the third eye is blocked, setting goals or making plans may feel paralyzing. Poon adds that physical symptoms—like brain fog, poor sleep, headaches, depression, and high anxiety and stress levels—may indicate an imbalance in your third eye, too, as well as emotional and energetic symptoms such as having "difficulty concentrating, overanalyzing things, being quick to anger, or experiencing highly-variable emotions.”
The benefits of opening the third eye
Even if you don't have your sights set on becoming a proper clairvoyant, "opening" the third eye can still help you become better connected to your intuition and subconscious, which you can then rely upon for guidance, says Ambi Kavanagh, Reiki master, astrologer, spiritual coach, and author of Chakras & Self-Care. "When fully activated and flowing harmoniously, this energy center stimulates both the left (logical and rational) and right (creative and spiritual) hemispheres of the brain so the mind can function from a balanced place," she adds.
But there are other third eye benefits to be aware of, too. Van Horn says opening the third eye also allows you to develop a deep sense of inner knowing. “By trusting our divine path, and knowing it is uniquely our own to navigate, we can tap into a greater sense of purpose and soul direction,” she says. “Each of us carries a story, and a perhaps small (or large) but always mighty mission. Feeling purposeful and clear about how to direct and use your wisdom, gifts, and capabilities feels fulfilling and rewarding. The third eye helps us see that path.”
In terms of potential mental health third eye benefits, there are plenty. While a closed third eye may cause a number of imbalances, Poon says opening it can result in many improvements. “Because the third eye impacts emotional well-being, you might find your emotions to be less variable and that you are more easily able to acknowledge and regulate your emotions,” she says. “You may also experience reduced symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.” Essentially, you’ll be on your way to finding a greater sense of inner peace.
How to open your third eye, according to experts
Now that you’re aware of all the third eye benefits, you’re probably more than eager to learn how to open your third eye. Just note it isn’t something you can necessarily accomplish in an afternoon—it takes time and effort, including putting a strong foundation in place.
“Before we open the third eye, it is important to build the energetic foundation of the first five chakras, starting at the root—the first chakra,” Matluck says. “Attempting to open the third eye before working with the lower five chakras is like learning to jump before you can even stand on two feet. In fact, opening the third eye prematurely can result in a spiritual crisis—often perceived as psychosis.”
In other words, if opening the third eye is your ultimate goal, it’s time to try some chakra balancing tactics. “Chakra balance is about bringing more equilibrium to the energy centers so the ‘wheels’ can spin effectively, providing us momentum and nourishment spiritually and energetically,” says Van Horn. Once you’ve balanced and unblocked your other chakras, you can start taking steps toward opening your sixth chakra, aka the third eye chakra.
Balancing your third eye chakra takes time, so be patient with yourself along the way. With that in mind, keep reading for expert tips on how to open your third eye, from doing third eye chakra poses to taking your meditations to the next level.
1. Be introspective
On the journey that is soul searching, learning how to be introspective is paramount. That’s because being introspective means getting real with yourself about how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, and where you might improve. When you’re able to label those things, you’re able to move past them more easily—which might alleviate your brain fog simply by providing more mental real estate. One easy way you might practice introspection? Grabbing a notebook and a pen.
“Journaling, I think, helps a lot of people in a lot of different ways,” says Jessica Schatz, yoga teacher and wellness educator. “Often what happens in journaling, especially when you allow it to start as a stream of consciousness, you allow yourself to have no judgment about what you're writing. You can find clarity and understanding of what's going on with you.” Don’t forget to go back to read what you wrote!
2. Pay attention to your dreams
Dreams can be confusing, disorienting, wonderful, and terrifying—but don’t just shrug them off each morning when your alarm goes off. In fact, experts recommend looking to dreams for help in opening your third eye. “Pay attention to your dreams. Write them down, remember them, and listen to them,” suggests Matluck. Sounds like it's time to crack open that dream journal, huh? (And in case you need help interpreting them: Here’s a list of common dream meanings. Yeah—we’ve got you.)
3. Focus your meditation on your third eye
Whether you use an app or practice mindfulness meditation or transcendental meditation on your own, if you’re looking to open your third eye and clear some brain fog, meditation can help with that quite a bit. “Focus your attention on the point between the brows in meditation, and simply observe what images or thoughts arise,” says Matluck.
4. Practice breathwork
Breathwork is an excellent tool to use in everyday life, but it’s especially beneficial in opening your third eye. “There are many kinds of breathwork, but holotropic breathwork is particularly well-suited to opening your sixth chakra,” says Matluck. Holotropic breathwork is used for inner healing and combines accelerated breathing with evocative music.
“Breathing techniques are a useful way to really quiet and focus the mind, which allows inner clarity and inner knowing to arise,” says Schatz. She recommends trying nadi shodhana, which is also known as alternate nostril breathing. Essentially, you want to inhale deeply through your left nostril while holding your right nostril closed with your right thumb. Then, you alternate.
One last thing: Visualize every breath charging your third eye. “If the energy is flowing through the other chakras, you can become more mindful and bring that energy flowing to your third eye,” she says.
5. Try chanting
Yoga and meditation teacher Rosie Acosta, author of You Are Radically Loved: A Healing Journey to Self-Love, says that yogic chanting could also help open up your third eye. She adds that the “om” chant is associated with that chakra—which is great considering that two past small studies have found the chant can essentially deactivate the brain and relieve negative emotions for an ultimate moment of presence and peace.
6. Use hand gestures
Acosta also recommends using mudras, which are essentially physical representations of a mantra. Acosta says to start with the gyan mudra, which involves connecting the index finger and thumb to form a circle. The gyan mudra is also known as the wisdom mudra, which could work wonders for opening up your third eye since that’s the hand gesture connected to it.
“The gyan mudra gives you a sense of clarity and insight. It allows you to really focus on the balance,” says Acosta. “If you think about it, too, with the index finger and thumbs together, you’re sealing the energy in.” Additionally, this could be helpful in staying present, because once your fingers start to separate, you know you’re deviating from the meditative state.
7. Practice intuitive movement
“One of the ways we bring the third eye back into alignment is literally physically moving the body,” says Schatz, adding that yoga is great, but that folks should consider starting with intuitive movement. “Intuitive movement is all about listening to your body, which is sending us messages all the time. When I talk about intuitive movement, I mean really learning how to listen and respond to what our body needs in the moment without judgment.”
Of course, you won’t be an expert at moving intuitively just from doing it once. But a quick way to get better at it is to be curious about what your body truly needs. “When we go inside, we can meet our curiosity with honesty and compassion. And, therefore, we can literally move and heal through blocks, imbalances, and pain,” she adds.
8. Do some Kundalini yoga
If you haven’t tried Kundalini yoga yet, go for it. The spiritual and often intense yoga practice is great for opening your third eye, especially when you focus on certain kriyas. “When you practice Kundalini yoga, choose kriyas that focus on the pituitary or pineal glands,” says Matluck.
9. Don’t give up your regular yoga practice, either
If Kundalini isn't your thing, a standard vinyasa practice can help you learn how to open your third eye, too. Claire Grieve, yoga specialist, stretch therapist, and plant-based health coach, says one of her go-to third eye chakra poses is an amped-up version of something you probably do during every flow. “One of my favorite poses for activating the third eye is child’s pose, with your forehead pressing into the floor,” she says. “Bring your focus, attention, and energy into the chakra. Stay here for two to five minutes, breathe deeply, and visualize your world."
Another great third eye chakra pose is forward fold: As you drop your head below your hips, blood and oxygen are rushed to your brain, and the third chakra delivers fresh energy for alignment.
10. Eat a nutritious diet
Opening your third eye will be a bigger challenge if all you’re eating is junk food. This is because your diet is incredibly important for chakra alignment. “Your food choices govern your energy,” says Grieve. “Adding an array of purple foods—such as blackberries, blueberries, grapes, eggplant, purple kale, purple sweet potatoes, and purple cabbage—into your diet will boost and balance your third eye.”
She adds that ingredients like chlorella, spirulina, blue-green algae, raw apple cider vinegar, chlorophyll, cilantro, raw cacao, goji berries, and vitamin D can help to detoxify your pineal gland.
11. Try using essential oils
Haven’t tapped into your essential oil collection in a while? It’s time to get going, especially if knowing how to open your third eye is the goal. Scents like lavender (which is also stress-relieving and can be used on skin and hair), sandalwood (which can help with menopause), frankincense, and pine can gently stimulate the pineal gland, says Grieve. “Use essential oils in the bath or in a diffuser,” she suggests. Kavanagh adds bergamot, vetiver, and patchouli to the list of third eye-opening essential oils, too.
12. Meditate with crystals
Crystals are a great spiritual tool to have in your (literal) back pocket—especially when you’re opening your third eye. “Try placing a crystal on your third eye as you lay in a comfortable position and bring your focus into your breath,” instructs Grieve. “Anything in the purple realm, such as amethyst, lapis lazuli, blue or purple sapphire, purple violet tourmaline, or rhodonite will awaken and activate your third eye.”
Kavanagh additionally likes labradorite, celestite, and azurite for this purpose, and she recommends using them in tandem with your essential oils. "Diffuse one or a combination of the essential oils and use the crystals in meditation—either holding them in your hands, or placing one on the third eye itself," she suggests.
13. Try tapping
Maybe you’ve used tapping therapy, or emotional freedom technique (EFT), to help cope with stress and anxiety. Well, Poon says the practice is also a great strategy for opening the third eye. “Try gently tapping the forehead where the third eye is and activating your pineal and pituitary glands by sending light waves of vibration,” she says.
14. Use sound healing
Sound can pack great healing power, and can also be great for opening up your third eye. “Using sound healing or toning aids in meditation brings you to a theta state,” says Poon. “This is an excellent way to help open the third eye.”
15. Work with Reiki masters and other healers
The more work you put into healing yourself, the easier it will be to open your third eye—so put in the time whenever and wherever you can. If you want some extra help, working with an expert can be greatly beneficial. “Working with healers, receiving Reiki and energy work, and doing spiritual development are all excellent ideas when you’re opening your third eye,” says Poon.
Frequently asked questions about the third eye chakra
What can you do when your third eye opens?
Once you put in the work that’s required to open your third eye, it’s time to reap the benefits. Van Horn says there’s no better time to get curious and learn new things—not only about yourself, but also within the realm of spirituality. “I recommend meditating, pulling tarot or oracle cards, practicing channeled writing, or expressing yourself and your third eye connection through making any form of art,” she says.
According to Poon, this is also the perfect time to approach life’s challenges with clarity, peace, and understanding. “With an open third eye, you can better lean into life’s flow and align with your inner purpose,” she says. “In work, you might find that you become more productive, find clearer goals, and have fewer obstacles in achieving them. In personal relationships, you might find greater clarity in who is in alignment with your purpose and goals.”
What color represents the third eye chakra?
Each chakra is associated with a different color that’s in line with the vibration or frequency of the chakra. The seven chakras make up a beautiful energetic rainbow, and the third eye chakra's color is indigo or purple. Purple represents wisdom, which goes hand-in-hand what the third eye is all about—connecting to your intuition and achieving a higher level of consciousness.
What is the symbol of the third eye?
The symbol of the third eye chakra, or sixth chakra, is a two-petaled lotus flower that has an inverted triangle in its center. These two elements are commonly associated with wisdom. The symbol is in the chakra's color, purple or indigo, which also represents wisdom.
How long does it take to open your third eye?
How long does it take to open your third eye, really? According to Van Horn, it depends on the individual and their intention. "There are certainly stories and examples of third eye ‘awakenings’ and pivotal moments that opened and cleared the third eye of blockages. However, in my personal experience, and for many of my clients, it’s not as simple as turning a light switch on or off,” she says. To open your third eye as quickly as possible, she recommends having a clear intention to begin to trust yourself and your third eye—then get to work.
“Like any muscle, we build our strength through repetition and practice. Repeating eye affirmations, practicing vivid and visual meditations, and choosing a high-vibrational diet are all lifestyle changes and rituals that support a flow of energy and movement of energy to the third eye. But nothing validates the third eye more than making choices in partnership with this chakra,” she says. “Begin with the small and less significant decisions, like where to travel to next or which topic to study. Ask your intuition to tell you, and watch your body and inner voice respond without second-guessing. Acknowledge and celebrate when your third eye supported you in the best choice and how calm and serene your body felt in response to listening to it.”
Van Horn says when you’re leading from the third eye, you’re often breaking cycles and patterns that are deeply ingrained. For instance, if you always find yourself people-pleasing or focusing on the needs of others rather than prioritizing your own dreams and desires, that’s a common way to block the chakra. “Each choice, small or significant, can help repair and realign the third eye,” she says. All you need to do is begin your journey.
- Kalyani, Bangalore G et al. “Neurohemodynamic correlates of ‘OM’ chanting: A pilot functional magnetic resonance imaging study.” International journal of yoga vol. 4,1 (2011): 3-6. doi:10.4103/0973-6131.78171
- Zhang, Ziyu. “Om Chanting Modulates the Processing of Negative Stimuli: Behavioral and Electrophysiological Evidence.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 13, 2022, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.943243.
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