“Speak your truth, even if your voice shakes.” – Sara Barnard
Over the first seven weeks of Dru Yoga classes we have been journeying through the chakras or energy centres. This week we arrive at the throat chakra or Vishuddha. This chakra is all about communication and self-expression but it is not just all about speaking, the first step is listening. Communication is the key to all healthy relationships and listening is very important, listening to others to really hear what they are saying. But it is also about listening to yourself, not just sounds but ‘listening’ to your body, your feelings and your intuition.
In our journey up the central column or channel of the chakras we have passed the halfway point of the heart or Anahata chakra. Vishuddha (throat chakra) bridges the heart and the mind, so when this energy centre is clear the wisdom of both is integrated. At the end of each class I say “bow your wise mind to your compassionate heart” and we do this be lowering the chin towards our chest.
In our physical layer or body, to bring awareness to the throat chakra we focus on the area of the neck around the level of our thyroid gland, which regulates energy and metabolism. In the emotional layer the throat chakra is related to expression of yourself through truth. In the mental layer focus on this chakra supports you to communicate clearly with ease and clarity.
The throat chakra area is one I struggle with personally as I oscillate between slowing down too much and stagnating or going into overdrive and getting stressed! I have an under-active thyroid (though within the low end of normal!) and often get a sore throat and tension in the neck/jaw area. In terms of communication I also tend to bounce between extremes of not speaking my truth or talking too much and too loud. I am a Libra so it is all about balance!
The colour associated with Vishuddha is blue, a turquoise or aqua blue, like the vast horizon of the sky on a summers day. The element is ether, space or Akasha in Sanskrit. Can you connect with this element of space, the space inside and around your body? To become more aware of your connection to the space element, first tune into the qualities present in your body – warmth, coolness, heaviness, lightness, movement and stillness. Then bring your focus to the space around your body. Notice the temperature of the air, sounds you can hear, and the light in the room you’re in. Shifting attention between the body and the space around us can help bring about a sense of being more connected to the world around us. It can give the mind a break from stress and chatter.
Some practices to bring awareness to the throat chakra include those that open the throat and shoulder area as well as practices that involve sound and chanting. Restorative inversions like Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose) or supported half shoulder stand, bring energy towards the throat chakra. Fish pose, Camel pose, and any back-bends that involve a gentle opening of the throat area can also help enhance the space element within us, cultivating more clarity and lightness. Some pranayama (breath practices) that bring awareness to the throat chakra are Brahmari (humming bee breath), Simhasana (lion’s breath) and Ujjayi (ocean breath). Mantra practices are also a practice for your tool box for fifth chakra practice.
Each week at the end of class we have been exploring the sounds associated with each chakra, the Bija mantra (stimulating sound) and a resonant or clearing sound. When in doubt to which you need use both, the clear first and then stimulate. When chanting the resonant sounds hold them until you run out of breath and then chant again. The Bija or seed sounds are repeated rhythmically. After chanting the sounds be still and notice, sense or feel the effects the different consonants have on your body.
|Resonant / Clearing Sound
|Om Lam Namaha
|Oh as in road
|Om Vam Namaha
|Ooo as in pool
|Solar Plexus Chakra
|Om Ram Namaha
|Ah as in father
|Om Yam Namaha
|Ay as in pray
|Om Ham Namaha
|Eee as in speak
|Third Eye Chakra
|Mmm as in ommm
|Ng as in sing