Yoga and the Pineal Gland
The pineal gland in the brain produces melatonin, a hormone which has an important role in regulating the internal body clock’s cycle of sleep and wakefulness. An imbalance of melatonin in the body can lead to sleep and mood problems.
Because the eyes are neurologically connected to the pineal gland, the gland is light sensitive with the secretion of melatonin generally low during the day and high during the night.
Other melatonin effects include
– Decreasing the aging process
– Starting off puberty
– Strengthening the immune system
– Regulating body heat
– Regulating oestrogen level among woman
3rd Eye/Ajna Chakra
The pineal gland is shaped like a pine cone, located in the middle of the brain. It is believed to be connected to the Ajna or “Third Eye” Chakra which is situated in the middle of the forehead on a straight line from the pineal gland.
The third eye symbolizes unity, intuition, transcendental wisdom and spiritual consciousness and this point is often used as a point of concentration in meditation, because it is one of the places in the body where it is most easy to hold a steady focus, and it activates psychic energy.
To calm down the body and prepare the conditions for entering deep sleep or meditation, it is good to practice Naddi Shodhana Pranayama or Trataka (concentrated candle gazing). Here, I will concentrate on explaining Trataka
- Sit in a dark room in a meditative pose.
- Place a burning candle approx 30 cm from the eyes in a horizontal line. It is important that the candle flame does not flicker and remains still through out the practice.
- Close the eyes and concentrate on the spontaneous flow of air through the nostrils.
- When calm, open the eyes and gaze unblinkingly at the candle for 5-10 minutes until the eyes start watering.
- Slowly close the eyes and try to keep the impression of the candle light in front of the closed eyes until it fades away.
Jan-May, 200Hrs Weekend TTC