The fifth chakra vibrates to the color blue and governs communication. This chakra sits over our throat and literally gives a voice to our internal inspirations and creativity. Thus, the Vishuddi chakra is a chakra of manifestation; connecting Shiva with Shakti, limitless potential with life-giving energy and consciousness.
The throat chakra finds expression through speaking, chanting, and singing. When one is able to clearly state one’s unique view on the world, the throat chakra is open and energy is moving freely. A healthy throat chakra exhibits in a strong, clear voice, the ability to speak and be heard, confidence, truthfulness, and creativity. This chakra governs the throat, thyroid, and parathyroid gland, but also the ears, mouth, and shoulders. Thus any physical symptoms in these areas might be attributed to an imbalance of the throat chakra.
A block in the throat chakra will translate to a very soft or weak voice and a fear to speak one’s mind. Often this will be accompanied by physical symptoms such as a sore throat, sluggish thyroid, weight gain, or actual loss of voice. These can be treated in a number of ways, from wearing a beautiful blue stone like lapis lazuli, turquoise, or sapphire. In choosing a necklace, be sure to choose one with an open setting in the back that allows contact between the stone and your skin. Chamomile tea is another simple way to treat this chakra, as the herb chamomile governs it.
An excess of energy in the throat chakra can look a lot like egotism. Where a depleted throat chakra is afraid to speak, a chakra with too much energy speaks too much, either speaking frantically, nonsensically, or judgmentally. Lies are the demon of this chakra, and an inability to be truthful is a hint that this chakra is out of balance.
As this chakra governs the voice, an excellent way to bring balance to it is through the vibration of sound, whether that be by using mantra or by singing. You can even balance the throat chakra by turning up the radio and loudly singing along! Even better, draw together a group of people for an evening of yogic chanting.
A Yoga Practice to Balance the Throat Chakra
Begin with two rounds of a basic surya namaskar, or sun salutation, using only the transition from standing to forward fold, a jump back to plank pose, controlled lowering to float over the mat, then a rise on the inhale to bhujangasana or cobra pose, followed by a final a drawing back into downward facing dog. Add the sound HAM, pronounced “hum”, as you bow down into uttanasana forward bend, again as you slowly lower the body into phalakasana, plank pose, and as you pull yourself back into your adho mukha svanasana, downward facing dog. Stay in downward dog for five breaths, using a lion’s breath pranayama on each exhale. This means that as you exhale, stick your tongue out as far as it can go, open your eyes and roll them up towards your forehead, and allow a strong sigh to accompany the exhalation. After your final exhalation, jump softly forward to land in uttanasana at the front of your mat. Rise on the inhale into samasthiti, equal standing pose. Pause, with the palms of your hands facing forward, and take four complete breaths as you observe the energy moving throughout your body.
Follow your sun salutations by dropping your hips into a strong utkatasana, or chair pose. Draw your hands into Anjali mudra, or prayer position in front of your heart and then lift one leg and step it back, placing the foot for virabhadrasana one, or warrior one. Raise your hands so that they are parallel to each other, with the palms facing inwards. On the inhale, lift your chest, head, and hands up towards the sky. As you exhale, again chant HAM and bend the elbows so that they are right angles as you draw your gaze forward. Hold this pose for five repetitions of the chant HAM combined with the arm movements and then return to your chair pose. On an exhale, allow your hips to rise and your head to drop forward into your forward bend, then return to your starting position as you inhale. Repeat this process on the second side.
Next come to a tall kneeling position, taking care to protect your knees by placing a blanket or an extra fold of a yoga mat beneath them if you are practicing on a hard surface. Begin by placing the palms of your hands, fingertips pointing down, just below your buttocks on the back of your thighs. On an inhale, press your thighs forward, lift your chest, roll your shoulders back, and lean backwards into your hands. Keep a soft heart and throat as you press the crown of your head towards the wall behind you and take three complete breaths. You may choose to continue in this variation of Ustrasana, camel pose, or you may choose to go into a deeper backbend by curling the toes under and bringing your hands to the tops of your heels. On your second repetition of the pose, take three complete breaths. Come into the pose two more times, holding for one more breath each time.
On completion of the movements, drop your hands forward so that you are on your hands and your knees. Allow your spine to flex as you drop your heart towards your yoga mat and lift your gaze to the sky, inhaling into cow pose. On your exhale, round your spine up towards the ceiling and drop your gaze to your belly button. In this manner, complete seven rounds of chakravakasana.
If you are working with an excess of energy in this chakra, then turn your fingertips towards your body and lean into the palms of your hands, which are flat on the floor. Take three to five extra rounds of lion’s breath pranayama here. Otherwise, proceed to the final step.
Complete your practice by bringing your seat to your heels and pausing with your hands in your lap, connecting your little finger to your thumb. Sit tall, reaching your head towards the heavens and close your eyes as your breath returns to a normal pattern.
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