“The third eye is an energetic center, or chakra,” says Erica Matluck, ND, a naturopathic doctor, nurse practitioner, holistic coach, and founder of Seven Senses, which facilitates wellness retreats. “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.”
Dr. Matluck says the chakra system is like the organ system of the subtle (or energetic) body, and each chakra has a function or purpose. The function of the third eye? 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.”
“[The third eye] gives us the ability to see beyond the what is physically present in the moment.” —Erica Matluck, holistic coach and naturopathic doctor
Even if you don't have your sights set on becoming a proper clairvoyant, however, "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 Reiki master, astrologer, and spiritual coach Ambi Kavanagh, 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.
When the third eye is closed or blocked, on the other hand, you may find it hard to access or trust your intuition. "This can make us feel like victims of life, as though it is happening to us, rather than for us," Kavanagh says. "As this energy center is so pivotal to the healthy functioning of our minds, any blockages can result in a regular brain fog, where we struggle with concentration, have difficulty processing information and are perhaps very indecisive."
Learning how to open your third eye isn’t something you can necessarily accomplish in an afternoon, however—it takes a whole lot of time and work, 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.”
"Any blockages can result in a regular brain fog, where we struggle with concentration, have difficulty processing information and are perhaps very indecisive." —Ambi Kavanagh, spiritual coach
In other words, if opening the third eye is your ultimate goal, it’s time to get to work on unblocking and balancing your other chakras (more advice on that here!). Once you’ve done that, you can start taking steps toward opening that sixth chakra. But remember, this takes time—so be patient with yourself along the way. With all of that in mind, keep reading for expert tips for how to open your third eye.
Want to know how to open your third eye? The following 11 tips can help:
1. 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. Look to them for help in opening your third eye. “Pay attention to your dreams. Write them down, remember them, and listen to them,” suggests Dr. Matluck. Sounds like it's time to crack open that dream journal, huh?
2. 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, 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,” Dr. Matluck says. In fact, adds Kavanagh, there are specific brow chakra meditations you can rely upon for help.
3. 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 Dr. Matluck.
4. Practice 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 Dr. Matluck.
5. 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. “One of my favorite poses for activating the third eye is child’s pose, with your forehead pressing into the floor,” says Claire Grieve yoga specialist, stretch therapist, plant-based health coach. “Bring your focus, attention, and energy into the chakra. Stay here for two to five minutes, breathe deeply, and visualize your world.
Another great 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.”
6. 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 food choices are 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.
7. 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, sandalwood, frankincense, and pine can gently stimulate the pineal gland,” Grieve says. “Use essential oils in the bath or in a diffuser.”
8. Meditate with crystals
Crystals are a great spiritual tool to have in your 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 (for the record, she'd add bergamot, vetiver, and patchouli to the list of third eye-opening EO's, too). "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.
9. Try tapping
Maybe you’ve used tapping therapy (or emotional freedom technique (EFT)) to help cope with stress and anxiety. Well, 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,” says reiki master and chef Serena Poon.
10. 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 and brings you to a theta state,” says Poon. “This is an excellent way to help open the third eye.”
11. 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 work where you can. “Working with healers, receiving Reiki and energy work, and doing spiritual development are all excellent ideas when you’re opening your third eye,” Poon says.
Originally published May 7, 2019; with reporting from Erin Bunch.
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