Vishuddhi, the throat chakra, located within the neck and expanding down towards the shoulders and up into the area of the mouth and lower part of the face... its sanskrit translation: visha = impurity, poison suddhi = purify
So, located at that critical point between the heart and the mind, it is all about communication. We may have swallowed and suppressed all sorts of toxic problems and unpleasant experiences during the course of our lives which need to be purified. When Vishuddhi is in perfect balance we are able to express the pure truth coming up from our hearts. We listen carefully to others and to our own hearts and are able to express ourselves clearly.
The element of Vishuddhi is akasha (ether or space) and whilst it cannot be seen or touched, it can certainly be heard and felt at a subtle level since this is the realm of pure vibration... the subtle vibrational field all around us.
The image of this chakra is a lotus with 16 petals each bearing a Sanskrit vowel, the colour is often described as cerulean blue (but this will vary from person to person) and there is an inverted triangle symbolising the transcendence of energy from the heart to the mind and the higher chakras. The seed sound or bija mantra, HAM, is written in Sanskrit in the centre of the triangle.
Take a look at the list below to discover whether your vishuddhi may be out of balance ...either overactive or underactive):
- thyroid problems, loss of voice, earaches
- sore throats, swollen glands, neck and jaw problems
- speech impediments, colds, hearing problems
- feeling unable to speak out, feeling unable to express oneself
- holding on to unexpressed grief, holding sadness, holding anger
- very judgmental, talking too much without listening
- miscommunicating, frequent misunderstandings
- only hearing what we want to hear, not hearing what makes us uncomfortable
- gossiping, speaking harshly, telling lies
Sadly, at the moment, it seems that my own vishuddhi is out of balance... I have a significant speech impediment which makes verbal communication and expression much more challenging than has ever been the case in my entire life. For someone who has genuinely never had an issue with standing up and speaking out loud in public this has been quite a shock! Therefore, it is with great personal interest that I have been researching this blog and I am happy to share some recommendations for restoring balance here.
As the centre of communication and EXPRESSION, it can be very helpful to find a means of expressing ourselves creatively. We are all different and with varying talents and inclinations... painting, drawing, writing, acting, crafting, journaling... the list is endless. A very obvious one is to simply SING! Whether that be in a choir, in the bath or shower, outside to the birds or simply singing along to your favourite songs in the car or at home, belt it out! Taking part in a kirtan to chant mantras is amazing. Any of these will certainly help to activate vishuddhi.
To free up energy blockages in our major centres we can, of course, practise any of our Dru EBRs. Of particular benefit are those neck movements from EBR 1 where we carefully take our necks through a good range of movements to help gently activate vishuddhi. Here is a link to a 10 minute version of the sequence, https://druyoga.com/yoga-online/video/energy-block-release-1-short-version
Postures which can be helpful include, shoulder stand, plough, fish, bridge, cobra, and camel. We must be cautious when working with postures particularly if we experience any sense of constriction in the throat which feels uncomfortable. It is advisable to work on these postures with an experienced teacher who can guide you through them carefully. The shoulder stand, the plough, and the bridge can all create the 'jalandhara bandha' which is a lock in the throat to contain prana. If we create this lock it can really stimulate and activate vishuddhi. The fish, the cobra and the camel on the other hand really open up the front of the throat which can be very freeing but can also cause the cervical vertebrae to compress uncomfortably. It really is most important that we listen to our bodies when practising yoga, easing into postures within a safe range for ourselves.
Breathing techniques are very helpful for this centre and include ujjayi breath, the lion breath and the pigeon breath. Ujjayi breath is very simple: breathe in and out through the nose holding a slight constriction in the throat; you can actually hear the breath gently moving through the throat a bit like ocean waves... or darth vader! The lion breath is much more dramatic, if you’d like to try it you will find a few variations on YouTube, here is short one, https://youtu.be/GbSr8RY_sp4 ...and why not come along to a Dru yoga class to learn and practise the pigeon breath!
This is a huge subject and if you are interested in it I recommend the book ‘Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound’ by David Frawley. You could also consider the Dru Sound and Mantra course for a fully immersive experience.
And my final recommendation is to practise SILENCE. Having worked with physical practices, breathing techniques, affirmations and chants try just sitting in silence. Listen to any external sounds, then start to listen to your own body particularly your own breath moving through your throat, can you hear the sound SO as you breathe in and the sound HAM as you breathe out. Sit with this awareness for a while and then allow your awareness to drop down into your heart and listen. Can you hear the truth in your heart?
It can also be very powerful to practise silence for a whole day or part of a day, the realisations which can arise are surprising...
It is only when we are truly silent that truth arises; then we can express that truth in whichever way works best for us... for me right now it’s through a blog!
OM AHAM OM SOHAM