Speaking your truth
Balancing Vishuddi Chakra
After working on our heart chakras we are ready to move up now to look at the 5th chakra, the throat centre. In yoga we call it Vishuddhi which broadly translates to “The centre of nectar and poison” or sometimes “The Purification of Opposites”.
These are interesting phrases and give us a sense of what this chakra is about. Let’s take the first one – the centre of nectar and poison. Think about the power of our words, they have the ability to either really lift someone with kind, supportive, honest and thoughtful words or to wound, causing pain and distress. I love this wise saying “Before you speak, think, is it kind, is it true, does it improve on silence?”.
The second translation of vishuddhi is a little more esoteric – the purification of the opposites – and a bit too lengthy to explain in a blog, but if you do want to know the philosophy behind it, ask me!
You might well have concluded then that the throat chakra is all about our ability to communicate. Balance in this chakra will show up as an ability to communicate with impact, to speak up for ourselves (but not in an aggressive way), to be a good listeners. We will easily express our creativity and make effective choices.
A throat chakra that is out of balance will lead to an inability to communicate effectively, over optimism and an inability to see something through to the end after the initial enthusiasm has passed. On a more physical level, problems at vishuddhi can manifest as thyroid problems, a metabolism that is out of balance and all manner of neck, shoulder and throat problems (including that uncomfortable lump in the throat feeling that often comes up when we are anxious but there’s no physical lump).
Turquoise is the colour to focus on, let it flow around your neck and throat, becoming more translucent with each in breath. You can use a beautiful turquoise crystal too, study the colour, or let it rest on your throat whilst you do a short relaxation.
In your yoga practice use the neck movements that we do in class. Include also the Lion, you know the one – sit on your heels, opening the knees, hands on floor fingers turned into towards you if possible, inhale gently raising the chin to stretch the front of your neck, then as you exhale stick your tongue out as far as you can, take your gaze to look at the space between the eyebrows and roar (yes really, I’m not making this up). Great posture to do in cold / sore throat season. The inverted postures, fish, bridge and cobra will all work on bringing balance to vishuddhi too.
Just about all the pranayama (breathing) practices we do in yoga will benefit the throat centre, particularly the ujjayi breath where we make the strong throat sound, like a silent snore with the mouth shut whilst breathing (not to be done if you have low blood pressure). Here’s another great vishuddhi breath, which I have to be honest we don’t do much in class because it normally disintegrates into laughter but you might manage it in the privacy of your own home!
The Humming Bee Breath :
Sit comfortably (never do this from a lying down position), back tall, neck and throat relaxed.
Keep your mouth and lips gently sealed throughout this breath.
Inhale through the nose.
Exhale through the nose, making a humming sound as you do so, kind of like a little honey bee 🙂
Stop the exhalation as soon as it starts to weaken (don’t wait til you run out of breath and your bee collapses!)
Pause for a moment and enjoy the silence.
Repeat up to 10 breaths if it feels OK. As always progress slowly. If you feel tired or light headed stop.
This chakra can easily be drained by excessive talking, stifling your creativity or true feelings and loud, continuous and intrusive external noises. In our modern world we are being bombarded constantly by communications, we all have mobile phones and internet connection, so many ways to watch TV and there is white noise every where we go. Curiously the amount of thyroid conditions I see presenting at classes has quadrupled in the last 5 years, I often wonder if there is a link here! It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find any silence our days, and yet this is vital for are health, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Do have a look at some of my previous blogs on this subject, and please try to find some silence, which will literally bring peace of mind.
The throat chakra is the centre for healing. Look after Vishuddhi and it will look after you. Ix