By Adam Ruggiero
We begin this journey at the throat chakra, vishuddha. This energetic center is of particular importance because of the overwhelmingly vocal nature of our interpersonal communication – not just with others, but with the spiritual realm as well; most prayer and meditation involves speaking to the ether or chanting.
While much of our outward appearance is left to the chance game of genetics, how we express ourselves verbally is almost entirely under our control – at least when we are in balance. In times of acute emotional distress – when we are most out of balance – what passes our lips often escapes reason or discretion. But even minor imbalances can affect what and how we speak to the world.
On the one hand, what we say reflects our state of being. A balanced self will tend toward kind speech, honesty, and a healthy ratio of listening to talking. On the other hand, how we speak to the world around us can be equally indicative of our present condition. When in harmony, our voices carry resonantly, but not too loudly. Confidence will shine through in our words and we will not shy away from opportunities to speak our peace.
Conversely, imbalances in the fifth chakra can leave us feeling meek or hesitant – our voice may “catch” in our throat. We may also tend too much toward caustic or overly sarcastic speech, gossip will bubble up more often and negative emotions are first in line to jump ship from the lips.
A restorative throat chakra yin practice aims to invigorate and loosen the head, neck and face. Just as the physical act of smiling can lighten your mood, so too can playing with the muscles involved in speech and expression revive the chakra that supports them. This practice must also include targeted, preferably silly, chants and breathwork.
Try out these Throat Chakra Yin Poses
Seated – begin with a chant to activate the throat; for example “lokah samastah sukino.” (May all beings be happy and free; may this practice contribute in some way to that happiness and freedom).
Seated neck warmups – gentle neck twists and lateral neck stretch; incorporate ujjayi breath – breathe in through the nose, filling from the belly to the bottom of the ribcage and up through the neck, exhaling also through the nose.
Squat – with hands clasped behind head, lengthen neck and back forward, targeting connective tissue along the back of the neck.
Seiza pose with lion’s breath– sit bones on top of heels, inhale deeply and exhale fiercely with tongue stretched along your chin, like a lion.
Sphinx pose with neck work – visualize a sky-blue light emanating from the throat; see it grow and energize, spinning with vital blue energy.
Child’s pose – sigh or utilize another lion’s breath; continue to engage the breath and vocal cords in the practice.
Marauding bear – release, move organically wring out the body where it is needed.
Half-saddle – with one leg stretched before you and one leg bent behind, lean back onto bolster or the floor; focus on the listening aspect of the throat chakra.
Stump – to release.
Supported fish – affirmation: “I express myself freely and joyously. I am worthy of being listened to.”
Wall arch – with knees bent and feet against the wall, arch your back and rest on the shoulders, neck and head; feel energy drawing into the throat and head by gravity from the lower chakras.
Viparita karani with bolster – legs extended up along the wall, envision nectar dripping down and pooling at throat center, nurturing your ability to speak truth.
Seed syllable chant – three rounds of chanting Ham (pronounced “hum”).