Throat Chakra: I SPEAK
The Throat or Vishuddha Chakra is the fifth of the seven main chakras that we will be exploring on our Journey through the Chakras and is located in the pit of the neck on the bundle of nerves close to the spine and governs the throat, neck, mouth, teeth, thyroid and parathyroid glands and the respiratory system. The word Vishuddha comes from the Sanskrit meaning “purification” or “pure”.
The Throat Chakra is associated with the element Ether and is the centre of communication and purification. It governs self-expression and your ability to communicate effectively and it also relates to creativity, purification, willpower and inner truth. Hearing and being a good listener is also associated with the Throat Chakra.
The Throat is symbolised by the colour Blue which is the colour that is said to encourage and increase communication and by a lotus with sixteen petals (image above).
When your Throat Chakra is healthy and balanced you are independent, creative, expressive, content, centred, a conscious listener, you engage in constructive communication, positive self-expression and are confident. To can affirm your right to speak your truth and also your right to be heard. Balancing this Chakra can help you reconnect with your true nature and make you feel safe enough to express it.
If your Throat Chakra is out of balance, it can manifest as problems with decision making or personal expression, feeling unable to express yourself creatively, fear of speaking or excessive speaking, the inability to listen, being critical, being dishonest or physical addictions. On a physical level one might experience problems with the teeth, sore throats, swollen glands, mouth ulcers, hearing problems, thyroid dysfunction, stiffness in neck and shoulders and sore throats.
So how can yoga help?
When we address the chakras in our yoga classes this manifests in a number of ways: the use of mudras that relate to the individual chakras which will be included when we sit in breath focus or meditation, through the inclusion of physical postures, or asanas, that specifically target the chakra in question and through the use of positive affirmations, visualisations and mantras again all focused on the individual chakra.
Mudras for the Throat Chakra
A key mudra that works to activate and open the Throat Chakra is Akash Mudra. This activates the throat chakra and also helps to clear the throat. To form this mudra, bring the thumb and middle finger to touch as in the image above.
Physical postures (asanas) for the Throat Chakra
A yoga class themed around opening up this chakra would involve opening the area around the throat and front of the neck, stimulating and moving energy into and through this area and also compressing the area around the throat and neck. By creating movement and openness in this area of the body we are seeking to balance the throat chakra and remove any inherent blockages, allowing us to communicate effectively and bring our personal truth out into the world.
Here are a few key asanas that will help to open and activate the throat chakra:
Ustrasana (Camel Pose):
This posture was also included for the Heart Chakra but it is equally beneficial for opening the Throat Chakra. When the head is gently taken back you can see how open this makes the area around the throat, but equally if this head position is too strong holding the chin to the chest will also activate the throat chakra by compressing the throat.
Matsyasana (Fish Pose):
This pose opens up the throat and the chest (also good for opening the Heart Chakra).
Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand):
This pose activates the throat chakra by compressing the neck and stimulating the thyroid gland.
Halasana (Plough Pose):
This pose works in the same way as Shoulder Stand by compressing the neck and stimulating the thyroid gland, thereby activating the throat chakra.
Affirmations for the Throat Chakra
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, let your body begin to relax. Now begin to bring your awareness to the area around your throat where your throat chakra resides. Try to focus and concentrate all of your awareness on this point. Try to breathe into this area, into your throat chakra and as you exhale try to let this area soften. Breathing in slowly and gently. When you next inhale visualise breathing a soft calm blue light into the area around your throat. As you exhale try to visualise this blue light spreading out throughout your body, filling you with peace and calm. Once again visualise breathing in a soft calm blue light into your throat chakra and then as you exhale visualise this blue light spreading out throughout your body.
Let this calming blue light help to fill you with a sense of peace and wellbeing.
Continue with this visualisation for as long as is comfortable and then when you are ready slowly bring your awareness back to the present moment. Take a few deep breaths, wiggle your fingers and toes and slowly open your eyes.
Each chakra has its own seed, or Bija, mantra which are one-syllable sounds that when said aloud activate the energy of the chakras. These Bija mantras have been universally used in meditative practice to harmonise one’s energy and purify and balance the mind and body. When you speak, or chant, the bija mantras aloud you resonate with the energy of the associated chakra.
Using mantras is all the more relevant to the throat chakra as aside from the yoga postures themselves sound and singing is a popular way of opening and balancing the throat chakra.
The mantra associated with the Throat Chakra is HAM (pronounced HUM). Chanting this mantra will work to remove any impurities that may be stored up in the throat chakra and to clear any blocked energy that is being prevented from moving through to the other main chakras.
I hope you enjoyed this insight into the Throat Chakra, next stop on our Journey Through the Chakras will be the Third Eye/Brow, or Ajna, Chakra. Previous chakras include the Root Chakra, Sacral Chakra, Solar Plexus Chakra and the Heart Chakra.