My public classes have just completed a week of exploring the vishuddha or throat chakra. In case you missed these experiential sessions on the vishuddha chakra, here are some highlights:
General Overview: You are capable of creating a sense of clarity, integrity, and spiritual engagement through activating and balancing your vishuddha chakra. The vishuddha chakra is the energy center of the body that asserts that you are capable of knowing, understanding, and speaking your highest truth. This chakra can be balanced by acknowledging and moving beyond self doubt, and by practicing meditation, yoga, or other practices that put you in touch with your deepest truths. An in-balance vishuddha chakra allows you to engage in the life you most desire through bravely articulating your highest truth. Balancing this chakra can also combat feelings of self-doubt and fear.
The vishuddha chakra asserts that “I SPEAK, and I LISTEN!”.
The vishuddha chakra rules the thyroid, parathyroid, neck, and jaw. It’s related to the color blue, the element ether, and the planet Mercury.
To activate the vishuddha chakra through yoga, practice ujjayi pranayama throughout your practice and use exhalations to relax the jaw, neck and shoulders. Another fantastic vishuddha pose is Simhasana, the lion posture. Both ujjayi pranayama and Simhasana use breath-work to stimulate the throat chakra and to help move stagnate energy through the neck.
15 minute home practice to activate the vishuddha chakra:
Centering exercise: Start in a seated position with the hands in granthita mudra (middle, ring, and pinky fingers interlaced inside the hands, index fingers and thumbs forming intersecting rings). Close the eyes and bring focus to the breath for several rounds of breathing. Next, as you inhale, envision bright, lovely light moving into your heart and expanding up into the collarbones, throat, and jaw. This light begins to glow with a blue tint that brings a sense of balanced clarity. With each breath, feel the balance between feeding the light as you inhale, and sending light outward as you exhale. Continue this breathing for several rounds. If you find this light visualization helpful, you can continue to use it throughout your practice.
Warm up: In your easy seated position, begin to tilt your right ear toward your right shoulder. Draw the left fingertips away from you on the floor, and allow the right hand to gently guide the head toward a stretch. Roll the chin down and then draw the left ear toward the left shoulder to repeat on the left side. Do this as many rounds as feels beneficial. Next, move through several rounds of cat/cow, following the breath. Take a few breaths to notice how this spine undulation originates at the tailbone and continues all the way to the neck and skull. Set an intention to notice your neck placement throughout this short practice.
Activate: Lift the hips to downward facing dog. Starting on your right side, come to warrior two. As you inhale, feel your side body grow long and tall, and feel your neck sitting atop your expansive torso. Keeping this length, move to side angle position (parsvakonasana). Hold this position for several rounds of breath or at least 30 seconds, and work to keep length in both sides of the torso and neck. After several breaths, return to downward facing dog and repeat on the left side.
Return to downward facing dog and lower the knees to the ground. Sit back on the heels and widen the knees, placing your hands on the mat in front of you. Begin simhasana, the lion pose by inhaling and tensing the muscles in the face, jaw and neck. On the exhale, gaze up toward your brow and release all the tension with a great roaring exhale as you stick out your tongue. (Google has some wonderful videos demos of this). Do this for several rounds, seeing if you can create any relaxation in the neck and jaw.
Lie onto your back. Bring the feet in toward the buttocks. Inhale length in the side body and press the shoulders and the back of the head into the floor. Note that no neck vertebrae should be touching the mat. Lift the hips for bridge position. Press into the feet to lift the heart, and hold for at least five rounds of breath. Repeat three times. If you were able to do bridge without the neck touching the ground, you may want to work into shoulder stand or half shoulder stand, staying mindful of the spinal vertebrae so that they remain off the floor. Hold for several rounds of breath (about a minute). When you come down to the mat, take a long matsyasana to open the front of the throat.
Integrate: Come to a seated position and inhale to create length in the body. On your exhale twist to the right, allowing the twist to originate at the pelvis and move all the way to the head. With each inhale create length in the spine, and as you exhale, relax and twist slightly, until you feel a stretch. Hold for at least 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Lay onto your back and hug the knees into the chest for a few moments. As you release toward savasana, take three rounds of deep inhalations and sigh them out, relaxing the face, neck, and jaw as you sigh. Rest for at least two minutes in this posture.