In the spring I started exploring the chakras, working my way from the bottom up. I taught a series of classes themed around the chakras, starting with the root chakra. I got up to the heart chakra and then got sidetracked, did some traveling, and never got back to finishing my way up to the crown. Well, last week I decided to dive back in, picking up where I left off – with the fifth chakra, the throat chakra.
Brief Fifth Chakra Overview
Also known as the Vishuddha chakra, the throat chakra is the fifth chakra and it is located at the base of the throat and neck. Given its location, the throat chakra is connected to the mouth, jaws, tongue, pharynx, and palate. It’s is also linked to the shoulders and the neck. The gland associated with the fifth chakra is the thyroid, which regulates the processing of energy in the body.
The throat chakra is about expression. Expressing your truth, your purpose in life, your creativity. This chakra has a natural connection with the second chakra, the sacral chakra, which is the center of emotions and creativity as well. The throat chakra’s emphasis is on expressing and projecting the creativity generated by the second chakra.
Throat Chakra in Balance
A balanced throat chakra can manifest in a number of ways:
- Ability to express your truth, or to speak out
- Communication (verbal or non-verbal, external or internal ), which includes listening as well as expressing
- Inclination to create, projecting ideas into reality
- Realizing your dharma, your purpose
Throat Chakra Out of Balance
An imbalanced throat chakra can lean in one of two directions: overactive or under-active.
An under-active or blocked throat chakra can contribute to feelings of insecurity, timidity, and introversion. People with underactive throat chakras tend to whisper; they are afraid of openly expressing their views. They are timid or unable to stand up for themselves. They may also be forgetful or unable to articulate and express their feelings.
On the other hand, an overactive throat chakra can lead to lying, gossiping, nonstop talking, and being verbally aggressive or mean. In the overactive mode, the throat chakra can make a person critical or judgmental. Someone who is shrill, loud and domineering, who yells and shouts at others (but does not allow others to speak) likely has an overactive fifth chakra.
Physically, an imbalanced fifth chakra can manifest as a variety of health issues like thyroid problems, throat, dental or jaw problems, as well as shoulder, arm, and neck stiffness.
Creative activities like painting, crafts, and especially singing can help to strengthen the throat chakra. Mantra meditation is a wonderful way to do this while finding zen in your day 😉 Yoga practices with a focus on the neck, shoulders, and jaw are also excellent for finding balance in this area.
The practice for this chakra focuses on the neck area – placing special emphasis on relaxing the shoulders away from the neck, giving it space.
Here’s the sequence for you to try at home. As always, if you’d like a downloadable pdf of this sequence, you can grab one below!
1. Supported Fish Pose: 2 minutes.
– Block underneath upper back, between shoulder blades
2. Remove block, hug knees to chest
3. Drop knees to the left for a twist
– Turn head to face knees, feel for length on right side of the neck; turn head to face up, feel for equal length on both sides of the neck; turn head to face away from knees, feel for length on left side of the neck
– Repeat to the other side
4. Roll up to sit in Vajrasana
5. 5 shoulder shrugs with lions breath
– Inhale lift shoulders towards ears; drop shoulders down as you exhale lion’s breath.
6. Slow circles with the head: 5 to right, 5 to left
7. Move jaw around, maybe yawn a few times
8. Seated side stretch to left and right
9. Cat/Cow x5
10. Tadasana on knees → With a straight line from knees to head, lean torso back as much as is comfortable (you’ll feel this in core and quads!) x5
11. Down Dog: 5 breaths → Forward Fold: 5 breaths → Tadasana
12. Standing Table w/arms next to ears: 5 breaths
– Hinge at hips, torso parallel to floor (90-degree angle with your body) → Forward Fold→ Standing Table w/arms out in a T shape: 5 breaths → Stand
13. Surya Namaskar C x2
14. Surya Namaskar A x2
15. Down Dog → Plank → Knees, Chest, Chin
16. Warrior 2: 5 breaths
– Start with gaze to side, then keeping length on both sides of neck, turn to look over front fingertips
17. Side Angle Pose: 5 breaths
– Start with gaze to side, then gradually lift gaze, keeping length in the neck
18. Warrior 2 → Triangle → Warrior 2: 3 breaths each
19. Vinyasa & Repeat 15- 17 on left side
20. Malasana: 5 breaths
– Right hand to the earth in front of the right leg, press arm into leg
– Extend left arm out to the left & turn to look at your left hand
– Keeping space in the neck, gradually lift the left arm and follow the hand with your gaze
21. Repeat 20 with opposite hand
22. Vinyasa to Downward Facing Dog
23. Right foot forward lunge w/hands down (inhale) -> Pyramid (exhale): flow back & forth x5
24. Low lunge twist: 5 breaths
– Left hand down, open right arm to right
– Keep neck long, slowly lift right arm to sky
25. Wide-legged Foward Fold: 5 breaths → Lizard: 10 breaths
26. Vinyasa & Repeat 23 -25 on left side
27. Warrior 2 → Triangle → Half Moon: 3 breaths each
28. Vinyasa & Repeat 27 on left side
29. Right foot forward low lunge w/back knee down
– Right hand on right thigh; make big circles with the left arm
– Reach left arm back, bend left knee, grab left foot with left hand (quad stretch)
30. Vinyasa & Repeat 29 on left side
31. 1/2 Camel with blocks: 5 breaths each side
– Place 2 blocks on highest height, either on inside or outside of feet
– Take left hand to left block, right arm to sky
– Repeat with right hand on block
32. Dancing Camel x5 each side
– Alternate left hand on block & right hand on block, flowing with breath
33. Camel Pose, with or without blocks: 5 breaths
34. Child’s Pose: 10 breaths
35. Supported Bridge Pose: 10 breaths
36. Shoulderstand: 20 breaths → Plow Pose: 5 breaths →Fish Pose: 10 breaths
37. Supine Twist: 5 breaths per side → Happy Baby: 5 breaths
38. Savasana: 10-15 min.