The vishuddha chakra is located at the throat and neck, and incorporates our hearing and thyroid gland, as well. This chakra’s element is ether (or, space), and it rules our communication and listening abilities. The throat chakra represents the first of the “heavenly” chakras, and as such, it is meant to communicate our connection to ourselves and our highest intentions. The Sanskrit for this chakra, vishuddha, translates as purity, which indicates that our system of communication ideally expresses our highest truth.
The throat chakra is correlated with the sense of hearing. It is through this chakra that we take on information and hear the words of others. In this day and age of information onslaught, we often take on information that brings us down. Think of how inundated we are by negative news feeds, and toxic journalism that soils our sense of self. In order to uphold this chakra’s balance, we must carefully curate the information we take on, and what we listen to.
This is not a suggestion to hide our head in the sand and avoid news at all costs…but must we be overwhelmed by it? It is one thing to remain educated, it is quite another to allow these sources of information to lead us into fear or closed-mindedness. This holds true for communication we receive from individuals. Harmful communication from others is some of the most psychologically damaging stuff around. The negative voices in our head often repeat the words of those who hurt us, and create a cycle that is challenging to recover from!
But, not impossible.
Keeping Ourselves Pure
Others say what they say. Ultimately, we have no control over that. What we do have control over is our own level of purity and consciousness…our own level of worthiness. To know we are worthy keeps the energetic field of this chakra resonating at a level that negativity cannot stick. Imagine a sponge. If a sponge is dry, it soaks up whatever soppy mess is thrown at it. However, if a sponge is already wet, it cannot take on any more liquid.
Basically, we need to stay saturated with our own worthiness and higher truth. This ensures that no matter what life throws at us, we remain steadfast in our own belief about ourselves. The more we immerse ourselves in positive internal communication, the less that outside forces effect us. This is not a suggestion to start using chintzy positive affirmations all the time (“I’m smart, I’m funny, and gosh darn it, people like me!”), but rather a notification of the following:
No one else can make you feel anything.
If someone else’s words or actions have an affect on you—and they do, we’re all human—that effect is determined by the contents of our own mind. Wayne Dyer says it best when he talks about karma. He says, “How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours.” This empowers us to start getting to the heart of our own reactions and ensure that they line up with our beliefs. If we believe ourselves to be wholly worthy of love and belonging, then we react from a place of love and belonging. If we believe ourselves to be unworthy of love and belonging, then we react from a place of unworthiness.
Our greatest work in terms of our throat chakra is to fill ourselves up with beliefs that support our health, wellness, personal growth, unlimited capabilities…our worthiness of all that is good and beautiful in life. Every single one of us is deserving of these things. It is high time we start telling ourselves that!
While it is certainly a good idea to continue to curate the communication coming our way, the best practice for elevating and balancing our throat chakra involves our internal communication. We lock in positive changes in this regard in three ways: through what we think, what we say and what we do. It is not enough to simply think good thoughts or say positive affirmations out loud. We must behave as if the best of what we believe about ourselves is already true. Because, it is.
Our belief is fostered by that threefold mechanism of thought, word, and deed that sets it into place. As we start filling ourselves up with the thoughts, words and actions of whole-hearted purity, then that is how we move into the world. Coming from this saturated place, the world can spin on, and we remain steadfast in our lightness and self-worth.
Throat Chakra Practice
A practice for the throat chakra focuses on simple neck stretches, chanting, and the restorative pose, legs-up-the wall (Viparita Karani). Use of the bija mantra, HAM, heightens the cleansing and empowering effect of the physical asanas on the energetic components of our body. The chanting practice balances all seven chakras, and allows you to be in perfect alignment with your highest truth. With the following practice, we set an intention with a brief invocation.
- Begin seated. Close the eyes and turn the attention to the breath. Clear the mind, and say the following invocation out loud:
I am worthy.
- Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position (called Sukhasana) and place the hands on the neck. Say the bija mantra, HAM, three times, connecting with the resonance of the sound in the throat.
- Simple Neck Stretches: While sitting in a comfortable cross-legged position, tuck the right hand under the seat, palm down. Tilt the head to the left, drawing left ear down toward left shoulder. With head tilted, rotate chin upward, and then downward, finding many different areas of stretch on the right side of the neck. Repeat on other side. Finish neck stretches with three slow circles of the head in one direction, and then the other. Optional: Chant HAM on exhale, silently or out loud.
- Chanting the Chakras: While in Sukhasana, close the eyes and place the hands on the legs. Take a deep breath, and chant LAM for the root chakra out loud on the exhale. Place one hand on the sacrum, and one on the lower belly. Take a deep breath and chant VAM for the sacral chakra out loud on the exhale. Move the hands to the solar plexus and the mid-back. Take a deep breath and chant RAM for the solar plexus chakra out loud on the exhale. Place the hands on the heart. Take a deep breath and chant YAM for the heart chakra. Place the hands on the throat. Take a deep breath and chant HAM for the throat chakra. Place two fingertips on the third eye. Take a deep breath and chant OM for the third-eye chakra. Put one hand on the crown of the head and press down slightly. Keep the mouth closed, and chant MMMM on the exhale as you feel the resonant vibration of the hum throughout the body. Repeat this process as many times as you like.
- Legs-up-the-wall Pose: Find an available spot on a wall. Sit next to it, and lie down on the floor, seat on the wall, torso extended perpendicular away from it. Roll onto the back, and extend legs up the wall. Stay for as long as you like. This is a deeply restorative posture for the entire body, especially the throat chakra. Optional: Chant HAM on exhale, silently or out loud.
- Shavasana: Lie on the ground, with feet apart, and hands turned palms up by the side. Tuck shoulders underneath the body to open the chest. Close the eyes and feel the light of the throat chakra spread through the body with each breath.