The 7 Chakras: A Guide for Modern Yogis
Chakra No. 5: The Vishuddha or Throat Chakra
The Fifth Chakra is most commonly known as the throat chakra. Vishuddha is Sanskrit for purification or purity center, referring to our throat and its ability to govern our speech and creative expression. The Vishuddha or pure energy calls upon our communication center to be one of authenticity and truth and in our lives. In this article, we will look toward the fifth chakra of our throat to see how we can balance and use the energy of pureness and honesty to communicate our truth out in the world.
Where is the Throat Chakra located?
The Vishuddha chakra is located in our neck and throat, as well as our cervical spine. The organs associated with this area of our body include our “reptilian brain” (the lower part of our brainstem which is the oldest area of the brain and governs much of the subconscious mind), our thyroid, parathyroid, trachea (windpipe that allows air to move in and out of the lungs), as well as our pharyngeal plexus.
Symbolically, the fourth chakra is where we move from our physical self and our individualization to our higher consciousness of love, intuition, and spiritually. The lower the chakras govern our survival, creativity and personal power or our aspects related to “me” while our upper three chakras are associated with truth, intuition, boundlessness and enlightenment or our aspects related to “we.” It is said that through the bridge of the fourth chakra, with love and compassion, we as human beings move from a state of “me” to “we” or from individual to collective. Many offer that the fourth chakra is where enlightenment begins.
What is the significance of the Throat Chakra?
The primary purposes of the throat chakra are communication and creativity expressed from a place of purity and authenticity. The throat chakra governs our aptitude in hearing and speaking the truth as well as effective, clear and honest communication. It is said that the talent expressed with the throat chakra is balanced is truth. Here in the throat we explore what it looks like to find our true voice, our highest intention and it is spread via our communication and creative expression.
What are the elements of the Throat Chakra?
Color: Blue – relates to our self-expression through speech and communication. Blue embodies the spirit of truth and purpose. It is a mentally-relaxing color and its pacifying effect brings great relaxation and calming to the nervous system. Blue is ideal for sleep problems or a hyper active mind. It connects us to holistic though and the wisdom and clarity within our hearts and minds.
Essential Oils: To balance this chakra, use essential oils that detoxify and clear sinuses. Some examples are eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass, chamomile, and clary sage. Find one or a combination that opens up your throat, neck and shoulders.
What is it like when the Throat Chakra is out of balance?
When our throat chakra is out of balance it most likely will show up in our self-expression and communication.
If our throat chakra is excessive a person may exhibit inappropriate talk, interruptions or talking too much or over others. Talking is used as a defense and these people have trouble listening or hearing others. Someone with an excessive throat chakra may participate in gossip, have a stutter or excessive loudness in their voice. They tend to have trouble or an inability to keep confidences and secrets.
A person with a deficient throat chakra will have a hard time communicating in general. They often have fear around speaking or speak with a small or weak voice. This person may refer to themselves as shy or an introvert and have a difficulty putting things into words. They may be more secretive and private.
Physically, an imbalanced throat chakra shows up as disorders of the throat, ears, voice or neck. Also tightness of the jaw and or toxicity in the body (due to a lack of purification within the body, the chakra’s name) can be signs of imbalance.
What does it look when the Throat Chakra is in balance?
A person whose throat chakra is open and balanced exhibits clear communication, lives creatively, has a good sense of timing, rhythm and resonant voice, is a good listener and is able to connect through honest and open communication. This person speaks authentically and speaks to their truth in all circumstances. Physically, they show up as calm, have relaxed nerves and are open in their shoulders, neck and jaw.
What poses awaken the Throat Chakra?
Throat opening and compression postures will assist in balancing the fifth chakra. Examples of throat opening postures include Matsyasana (fish), Ustrasana (camel), standing backbends and Anahatasana (heart melting pose). Examples of throat compression postures which help to detoxify and purify the throat include shoulder stand, rabbit and forehand to knee postures.
In many yoga postures you can add jalandhara bandha or “throat lock” by tucking your chin to your chest firmly and compressing the front of your throat. This energy lock is a great way to ignite and cleanse your throat chakra.
Lastly, adding chanting or an OM to your yoga practice is a great way to open and bring more throat chakra balancing to your yoga practice. Next time your teacher offers an OM or chanting in class, try it on to bring more of the Vishuddha energy into your practice!
What other practices heal the Throat Chakra?
These below practices, paired with a throat balancing yoga practice, can powerfully help balance your fifth chakra:
- Mantras – repeat any of these out loud or in your head
- HAM, pronounced “hAA-um”
- I hear and speak the truth.
- I express myself with clear intent.
- My voice is necessary.
- Foam rolling out shoulders and neck
- Chanting and singing
- Silence practice
- Voice release exercises
- Non-goal-oriented creative writing and journaling
- Gurmukh with Cathryn Michon. The 8 Human Talents, 2000
- Judith, Anodea. Wheels of Life, 1999
- Judith, Anodea. Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System As a Path to the Self, 2004
- Myss, Caroline. Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing, 1997
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Mary has completed multiple Teacher Trainings with CorePower Yoga and found great purpose and joy in sharing yoga with others. Mary loves creating thoughtful classes that provide an inspirational atmosphere for students to explore their bodies and minds. Mary is trained in power vinyasa, hatha, a restorative yoga techniques. A dancer from the age of 12, Mary specializes in vinyasa-style yoga classes that combine breathe with movement and flow like a dance.
Mary's intention is to teach people that “yoga is not about touching your toes, it is what you learn on the way down.”