8 Powerful Ancient Practices for Supercharging and Healing Your Throat Chakra
BY MICHELLE S. FONDIN
photo: danka and peter
2458 0 830 Positioned along the spinal axis, from the tailbone to the crown of the head, the seven main energy centers of the body are called chakras. Author Michelle Fondin explores and explains each one in the seven chapters of her new book, Chakra Healing for Vibrant Energy, which demystifies the role of the chakras in facilitating healing, balance, personal power, and everyday well-being. She offers meditations and visualizations, yoga postures, breathing exercises, and Ayurvedic dietary practices to learn about and work with the chakras. We hope you will enjoy this excerpt from the book, focusing on the throat chakra.
The Throat Chakra: Vishuddha
Element: Space (Akasha), Color: Sky Blue, Mantra Sound: HUM The fifth chakra, which is the first chakra totally on the spiritual plane, is located in the throat and governs communication and creative verbal expression such as singing, chanting, reading poetry out loud, and recitation. When the fifth chakra is illuminated, all the lower chakras transcend their limitations. The anatomical region of the fifth chakra includes the throat, neck, shoulders, thyroid, parathyroid, mouth, tongue, jaw, larynx, and vocal cords. The sense is hearing, and the sense organs are the ears. The Sanskrit word Vishuddha means “purity,” and I love this translation because it captures the true essence of the throat chakra. Its purity comes from speaking the truth that resides in our hearts. Pure means uncontaminated, clear, innocent, clean, or impeccable. When you reach this level of consciousness, you are exploring the part of you that is pure. The Ayurvedic dosha that rules the fifth chakra is Vata. The two gunas that rule this chakra are rajas and sattva. The color we attribute to the throat chakra is cerulean blue. The mantra, or bija (seed) sound, we vocalize for the fifth chakra is HUM.
Fifth Chakra Ailments
Ailments of the Vishuddha chakra include diseases of the throat and the thyroid and parathyroid glands, neck and jaw problems, speech impediments, colds, and hearing problems. From a psychological standpoint, imbalances can include unexpressed grief, sadness, anger, judgment, and feelings of depression.
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Fifth Chakra Energy
The power that lies within the throat chakra is the power to transcend space-time. Communication enables us to transcend space as sound waves travel through phone lines, cell towers, and internet connections. We can be virtually present in another place—through audio and more recently through video—without leaving our physical location. Communication happens on many levels, not only the physical. We communicate through words and sounds, facial expressions, body language, thoughts (also known as telepathy), and vibration. The organs and body parts in the fifth chakra allow us to create and absorb the vibrations of sound. Words have the power to heal when you speak inner truth to yourself. Your inner and outer dialogue about yourself determines how healthy you are. If you repeat to yourself daily, “I’m so fat and I’ll never get thin,” those words have the power to become your reality. However, if you tell yourself, “I’m working on getting healthier each and every day,” you will have quite a different outcome. Words from others also have the power to heal. When a child falls and skins his knee, he will heal faster if his parent says, “You’re all right. Get up and go play.” By chanting the sound HUM repeatedly, you will align the vibrational energy in the fifth chakra and cause your cells to remember their purpose and work toward the greater good, which in this case is keeping you healthy and whole. The ultimate healing power in the Vishuddha chakra enables you to synchronize communication between your inner and outer worlds and most importantly to clear the lines of communication to the Divine. Once you have harnessed this power, wherein there is no disconnection or disharmony in communication between you, others, and the Divine, you will have a clear path toward enlightenment. The first step toward this path is to seek and speak truth.
Recognizing Fifth Chakra Imbalances
Signs that the throat chakra is out of balance may include the Vata imbalance of talking incessantly without listening. This kind of nervous talking uses the voice out of fear of silence or fear of being alone. Another manifestation of imbalance would be using the voice to be harsh to others, such as putting a person in his or her place or being overly critical. Those out of balance can also use their voice as a weapon to hurt another person by not speaking or by yelling, screaming, or crying out loud to create drama. Speech impediments are disorders that can limit your voice or cause frustration in speaking. A person who feels suppressed and doesn’t feel he or she has a voice can experience blockages in the fifth chakra. Miscommunication and misunderstandings are also limitations of the throat chakra. This often happens when two people are talking at each other rather than to each other, and when one person isn’t listening or doesn’t understand.
Daily affirmation: I can easily speak my inner truth.
Healing the Physical Body
In order to effectively speak your truth, your throat, vocal cords, mouth, jaw, and hearing must remain healthy. Eating the wrong foods and maintaining poor posture can contribute to ineffective vocal expression. If you find speaking, singing, chanting, or projecting your voice to be challenging, the following changes may aid throat chakra healing. First, dry mouth can be rectified by reducing caffeine and alcohol consumption and by decreasing the number of dry foods in your diet such as crackers, chips, dried fruit, and nuts. You can also keep your mouth moist and throat lubricated by swishing and gargling daily with an organic food-grade sesame oil. Take one to two teaspoons in your mouth and swish for one minute, then gargle lightly and spit it out. It will leave a light film in your mouth. You can do this before bed and you will reap the benefits of a lubricated mouth and the anti-bacterial effects of the sesame oil. Phlegm in your throat can be corrected by reducing cold dairy, sugar, and processed foods. 1. Chanting and Singing Saying the chakra mantra sounds or other mantras out loud is great for toning the throat and strengthening the vocal cords. Singing brings about joy and can be transcendent. It’s no wonder so many of us sing in the shower or alone in the car. It brings out a side of us that is often hidden. Liberate your fifth chakra energy by singing out loud—not only in the shower or car. 2. Head and Neck Exercises Because we tend to position the neck improperly when using electronic devices, it’s very important that we stretch our necks frequently to release the tired muscles. This exercise can be a valuable tool for healing the throat chakra. Sit tall with your back straight. Have your head in a neutral position with your chin neither up nor down. Rest your hands on your lap with your palms facing up. Turn your head to the right, then bring your chin down and draw a semicircle with your chin as you bring it to your left. Then bring your chin downward from the left side and draw a semicircle back to the right. Continue back and forth eight times. Next, return your head back to a centered, neutral position. Take the first two fingers of your right hand, place them on your chin, and bring your chin to your chest. Hold it there and breathe. Release your head, and repeat with your left hand.
Yoga Asanas and Pranayama Exercises to Heal the Fifth Chakra
Try these exercises to help heal and align the Vishuddha chakra. To view a video demo of these exercises, go to www.youtube.com/c/MichelleFondinAuthor. Click on the Playlists tab, and select Chakra Healing Asanas & Pranayamas. Scroll down the list until you find the one you’re looking for. 3. Ujjayi Breath Often referred to as the ocean breath or affectionately coined the Darth Vader breath, the ujjayi breath is excellent for toning the throat and calming nerves. This breath brings heat to the body and therefore is yang in nature. To begin the ujjayi breath, sit tall and close your eyes. Pretend you’re going to fog up a pair of glasses to clean them, and exhale the word ha. Now close your lips and exhale the same way but with your mouth closed. Inhale and exhale the word ha. This results in a partial constriction of your throat. You are breathing from the lower belly, inflating the belly as you inhale and contracting it as you exhale. In the beginning, it’s difficult to inhale the word ha, but with practice it becomes easier. Once you get the hang of it, see if you can prolong each inhalation and exhalation to the count of four. Use this breathing technique for throat chakra healing and anytime you’re feeling stressed. 4. Lion’s Breath—Simhasana This silly-looking breath is effective at toning the throat, mouth, and jaw, and clearing out the lungs and bronchial passages. To practice the lion’s breath, sit on your heels with your knees wide open and place your hands on the floor in front of you. If it’s challenging to sit this way, you can stand and place your feet wide apart instead. Take in a deep breath through your nose, and as you exhale, open your mouth wide, stick out your tongue, and say the word ha emphasizing the h on the exhale, as if you are a lion roaring. If you want to add another physical component to complete the asana, bring up your hands and make claws as you exhale. It’s great for releasing negative energy. 5. Bridge Pose—Setu Bandhasana Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your feet hip-width apart and parallel, your toes forward, and your arms alongside you with your palms facing down. Press your palms down and lift your pelvis up. If you can, bring your hands together on the mat underneath your pelvis and interlace your fingers. Walk your shoulders inward toward your spine, and lift your pelvis even higher. Look straight at the ceiling, and keep your head steady. Hold for five to ten breaths. To lower, separate your hands, bring your palms to the floor, and lower your pelvis to the ground. As a counterpose, bring both knees to your chest and roll gently side to side to massage your back. Bridge pose stimulates the thyroid, parathyroid, and thymus glands. 6. Plow Pose—Halasana To begin, lie down with a thinly folded blanket underneath your head and neck. Rest your arms alongside your torso with your palms facing down. Bend both knees with your feet flat on the floor. Press into your hands and lift your legs. With your legs joined and straight, bring them over your head until your toes touch the floor above your head. You will be folding your body completely in half. You can either leave your arms on the floor or bend your elbows and support your back with your hands. Hold the pose for several breaths. To come out of the pose, lower your knees toward your forehead and gently lower your back to the floor, one vertebrae at a time. To recover, do reclining butterfly pose or hug your knees to your chest, and roll your back out side to side.
Healing the Emotional and Energetic Body
For many of us, one of the hardest things to do is to speak truth. I’m not referring to telling the truth, which at times is challenging in and of itself. I’m talking about speaking your inner truth, the truth that resides within your heart. The truth that is the pure essence within your personal soul, the voice that comes from your highest Self and gives authenticity to your words. It speaks of who you are as an individual and brings light to your uniqueness in every way. 7. Reflecting on Speaking Truth Try this interesting exercise. During the day, focus on your words and see if they match how you truly feel. Resist the temptation to judge or admonish yourself; just notice. You may be amazed to discover times when you don’t think you’re “stretching the truth” but you are. Keep in mind that I’m not talking about joking around or exaggerating to prove a point but rather deliberately changing the truth to mislead another person or yourself in any way. For example, if you get on the scale to weigh yourself and you weigh 160 pounds, but you tell your spouse, who asks, that the scale read 150 pounds, that’s deliberate. You might think, “Well, what’s the harm in that? It’s just a number on a scale.” That might be so, but if it weren’t a big deal, why would you change the number? Ultimately, speaking truth and being mindful of your inner truth is about flexing a muscle so you can live a life of excellence, marked by coherence between body, mind, and spirit. The more you flex your muscles of deception, the bigger they get. And the more you flex your truthfulness muscles associated with Vishuddha, the bigger those get. In the end, you have greater gains when your truthfulness muscles are flexed and toned. Living in and speaking truth doesn’t mean you always have to tell all. It is your absolute right to say things such as “I’d rather not say,” “I’m not sure right now,” or even “Now isn’t the right time for me to express this.” If truth means you will hurt someone and that isn’t where you’d like to go with the conversation, you can always stay silent, unless staying silent means you might harm them. For example, if your friend asks you if you love her new red dress and you don’t like it at all, you could either stay silent or say something like, “I really like the flowered dress you wore last week.” You’re using a softener to avoid hurting her feelings, but you’re not lying. However, if she says to you, “What do you think about this new guy I’m dating?” And you google the guy and find out he has a police record and you don’t tell her, then you could potentially be harming her by not revealing the truth. Do you see the difference? As you go through your day with this exercise, say to yourself, “Is what I’m about to say going to hurt my integrity in any way?” and “Will I be disconnecting from my spiritual self by saying what I’m about to say?” You’ll notice that if you can answer those questions honestly, you’ll go about your day honoring truthfulness.
Healing the Spiritual Body
Gaining the awareness of the fifth chakra is like awakening from a deep slumber. You begin to see things differently. Words spoken or written take on new meaning. As you emerge from the darkness of the lower chakras, spiritual truths seem to fall into place and link together like the pieces of a puzzle that seemed so complicated before. You may find yourself on a sudden spiritual journey, seeking to take in as much information as you possibly can. It’s an exciting time for you as you begin to wonder where all this wonderful truth has been hiding your whole life. 8. Energy-Body Healing with Gems and Colors The color sky blue is associated with the fifth chakra. Lapis lazuli, known as the “stone of truth,” is great for speaking your truth. You can also use aquamarine and turquoise gemstones for this chakra. You can wear or hold to your throat chakra the stones blue kyanite and blue iolite to help enhance clairaudient or psychic hearing abilities. Excerpted from the book Chakra Healing for Vibrant Energy: Exploring Your 7 Energy Centers with Mindfulness, Yoga, and Ayurveda. Copyright © 2018 by Michelle S. Fondin. Printed with permission from New World Library. newworldlibrary.com About The Author Michelle S. Fondin, author of Chakra Healing for Vibrant Energy and The Wheel of Healing with Ayurveda is an Ayurvedic lifestyle counselor and as a yoga and meditation teacher. She holds a Vedic Master certificate from the Chopra Center and has worked with Dr. Deepak Chopra teaching yoga and meditation. Find out more about her work at michellefondinauthor.com.
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