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We have officially crossed over from the chakras of physicality and experience to the chakras of spirit and expression. We have reached the throat chakra, or vishuddha chakra; the fifth chakra in the chakra system.
If you’ve missed the first four chakras, be sure to check those out!
Vishuddha Chakra Overview
In Sanskrit, vishuddha means ‘pure’, which speaks to what we’re looking to cultivate with our throat chakras – purity of expression.
As the name suggests, the throat chakra is located at the base of the throat and neck. Given its location, the throat chakra is connected to the mouth, jaws, and tongue. It’s is also linked to the shoulders and the neck.
The element associated with the vishuddha chakra is ether, which is often described as space. We can think about it as a spaciousness around the throat and neck. This spaciousness allows spiritual truth to flow.
We can see that we have entered into a completely intangible element, signifying that we’ve crossed over to the more spiritual chakras.
Connecting the Chakras
The farther up we go in the chakra system, the more important the preceding chakras become. In order to fully tap into the power of the vishuddha chakra, we have to have done a certain amount of work in our other energy centers.
Have you addressed any issues or imbalances with chakras 1 – 4? Doing so will increase your understanding and sensitivity, which will give you deeper access to the offerings of the more subtle upper chakras.
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.
The throat chakra’s emphasis is on expressing and projecting the creativity generated by the second chakra
Overactive Throat Chakra
The throat chakra becomes overactive when we’ve spent a lot of time trying to make our voice heard. This can happen if you’ve often felt ignored or invalidated when you’ve tried to express yourself. You may have tried to overcome this by giving yourself a louder voice.
This can manifest as interrupting others a lot, being unnecessarily loud, lying, gossiping, non stop talking, and being verbally aggressive or mean.
An overactive 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.
Underactive Throat Chakra
The throat chakra can become underactive when we have been ignored and invalidated to the point of shutting down. This can lead to feelings of insecurity, timidity, and introversion.
This can manifest as shyness, or being very quiet. You might feel that you are unable to express your emotions, or you struggle to find the words when wanting to speak your truth.
Finding Balance in the Vishuddha
When your throat chakra is balanced, you will be able to speak clearly and truthfully; with love, kindness, and compassion.
You will feel able to express your truth, or to speak out for what you believe in. Communication (verbal or non-verbal, external or internal ) is healthy, which includes listening as well as expressing.
You might feel an inclination to create, projecting ideas into reality.
Calming an Overactive Vishuddha
If you’re feeling a bit overbearing with your voice; or overly critical or judgmental, then your throat chakra is likely overactive.
Find balance, by practicing mindfulness around your speech. A beautiful way to do this is to ensure that anything you say passes through the three gates of speech:
- Is it true?
- Is it necessary?
- Is it kind?
If what you are about to say cannot successfully pass through all three gates, then perhaps it is better left unsaid.
Energizing an Underactive Vishuddha
If you’re feeling timid, struggling to stand up for yourself, or having a hard time expressing your beliefs, then your vishuddha chakra is likely underactive.
Creative activities like painting, crafts, and especially singing can help to strengthen the throat chakra. Mantra meditation is a wonderful way to do this as well!
You can also energize the throat chakra by speaking your truth!
Practice expressing your emotions and truths when you’re alone, perhaps in front of a mirror. It doesn’t matter if what you have to say is received by anyone other than you. If speaking your truths out loud is a struggle, even to yourself, start with writing them down and reading them aloud.
As your vishuddha chakra awakens, this will come with more ease.
Whether your throat chakra is overactive or underactive, yoga practices that focus on creating space in the neck and throat area can be helpful in bringing balance.
So that is the focus for the vishuddha chakra practice below: the neck and the throat. Placing special emphasis on relaxing the shoulders away from the neck, giving it space.
Remember that the element for the fifth chakra is ether, or space. We want to bring spaciousness to the throat and neck so that our truths can flow freely!
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.
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