Nizha Periaswamy

The usually round in shape, powder or sticker applied on your forehead is not just a ‘dot’ to beautify you. A ‘pottu’ or bhindi, has far more important significance than one can imagine.

The area in the forehead, between the eyebrows, is where our pineal and pituitary glands, or the third eye (the ajna chakra) is placed. This sixth and most powerful chakra in the human body encompasses the head, eyes and brain. Thus, this is believed to be the centre of knowledge, intuition, awakening and awareness. And so, the pottu was believed to be created to worship one's intellect.

Applying a pottu on the forehead by pressing it firmly to make sure it stays in place, offers some immense health benefits. Maybe after this, you will never take pottu for granted, in fact it would become part of morning routine!

Here are some benefits of applying pottu.

1. It ensures that thoughts, speech, actions, habits and ultimately one's character, becomes pure. Through a strong intellect, one can make noble decisions in life, and be able to stand up to challenges in life with courage, and recognize and welcome good thoughts in life.

2. Pressing on this point for a few seconds can relieve, or reduce headache. This is because, a number of key nerves and blood vessels converge at this point.

3. The same point is also connected to the muscles around the eyes, and stimulating the nerve around it is believed to improve eye health.

4. The trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for sensation in the entire face, gets stimulated with constant pressing of the point. This reduces swelling and congestion of the sinus. Pressing on this point also helps keep your skin young, and your facial muscles strong.

5. It is also said that pressing the point stimulates the nerves that connect to the cochlear, thus improving one's hearing.

6. This region of the forehead bears the brunt of your stress, so relaxing it can relieves stress to a great extent. Pressing it relieves stress, fatigue and eases eye strain.

7. One will gain a calmer and better sleep, as the glands around this area produce hormones that are related to sleep and happiness.

8. Pottu is also believed to protect women from negative vibes, and enables her to carry herself without disturbance. There is a flow of divine consciousness from the kumkum (red pottu) which forms a protective sheat around the woman, protecting her from all negativity.

9. Pottu, especially the kumkum kind, is said to retain energy in the human body, and control various levels of attention.

10. It also symbolizes auspiciousness and good fortune.

11. For married women, applying red pottu is believed to usher in prosperity, and grant her a place as the guardian of her family's welfare and progeny.

Nizha Periaswamy is a yoga instructor and freelance writer.