Vishuddha Chakra

…here are the notes from the sessions we did on the throat chakra, sorry it has taken a while to upload them! xx Michelle

Vishuddha chakra


“In the throat is the lotus called Vishuddha, which is pure. This is the gateway of great liberation for him who desires the wealth of yoga and whose senses are pure and controlled. He sees past, present and future, and becomes the benefactor of all, free from disease and sorrow and long-lived” from the text Sat Cakra Nirupana (Chakra Bible p. 242)

Visuddha  means “purification.” We can purify ourselves through attention to ingest, both through the breath and through our nutrition, by  practicing yoga and meditation, and ‘right speech’  - speak only the truth that is pleasant. Do not lie. Do not speak unpleasant truths. (Buddha)

It is the focus point of Akasha Tattva – the power of space. Associated with the elements of ether, the field of subtle vibrations ancient Indians believed pervaded the universe. In the original Indian texts the first thing to be created, or to emerge out of the primal space was the vibration we call sound. These waves of sound constituted the whole of creation – all matter all thought, all energy.

Vishuddha represents charged potential, the ‘atha’, the now, a now filled with possibility and intention. It is the first vibration of prana as the intention to create. It is under the auspices of Vishuddha that our independent life began, it created the impulse that tugged on the crura of our diaphragm causing its first descent as we took our first breath in after birth.  We can live for quite long periods of time without food, and even without water, but without breath we would not survive for more than a few minutes. And yet we may spend most of our lives only half breathing, only half alive. Through our yoga and pranayama practices, we reclaim the birthright of our full breath and become fully alive.

Vishuddha is located at around the region of the  third cervical vertebrae which is directly in line with the lower section of the human jaw and the hyoid bone, a horseshoe-shaped bone located inside the neck that holds the tongue in place, and tis connection with the tongue is pertinent as Vishuddha governs our ability to communicate. Our voice imparts information about our emotions and our mental state, and it is not always possible to mask the information that our voice conveys, even when it is at odds with what we say. (How are you? I am fine!) Our voice allows us to express what we are feeling in our heart and thinking in our mind. Expressing what is going on inside us gives us a shared understanding and sense of belonging. Blocks in our ability to communicate may not cause a problem in the same way if the physical structures of the throat or nose were blocked, ie choking, but the curtailment of personal expression is as deeply disturbing to the energetic body, as the inability to breath would be to the physical body.  Lack of expression denies our existence, our individuality and our right to be heard. We need to think about what we are using our voices for. What would it be like if every word we spoke in one day was recorded and played back to us? What would we discover? That we have used our voice to complain, to dwell on our unmet emotional needs, to gossip, to slander?  Think of how you feel after you have engaged in gossip or negative self talk….

We could choose to use our voice to offer words of encouragement, praise, positivity? Think of the way you feel after singing, chanting, reading poetry aloud, and you’ll recognize how the vibrations and rhythms of positive use of voice refresh your body and mind right down to the cellular level.

And what are we telling ourselves? From a psychological perspective, when we face up to our own truth, when we stop telling ourselves lies, we are stripped bare and vulnerable. When we drop the mask of our social conditioning, which for many of us acts as a kind of cultural hypnosis, we wake up to our true potential.

Lying has a remarkable effect on the whole body. When we tell a lie, whether about ourselves “I am unloveable” or about someone else, conflict in the hemispheres of the brain release stress hormones that create measurable changes in blood chemistry and skin resistance. The reason lying never actually works fully, is that this stress cannot be fully disguised, and is communicated to the listener subconsciously, arousing doubt and suspicion. Fear, doubt and uncertainty all prevent open honest communication.

The evolution of our spoken language allowed us to begin to communicate complex concepts, it also allowed us humans as a species and to live more in our minds than in our bodies, and more in the past or the future than in the present. It is important then that we utilise our language as a means of personal expression of ideas and thoughts,  through spoken language or song, or symbolically through writing or the playing of music to maintain a healthy flow of energy through the throat centre. And our expression does not have to be perfect, or unique to be beneficial.

The ability to listen with the whole being to listen to our true nature and to act on its whispered wisdom comes from a balanced vishuddha.  Being able to actively listen to others is key to effective communication, hearing the different layers and meanings behind words and using silence to make space for other people to express themselves fully.

The fifth chakra is regarded as an important bridge from the heart, taking  us across the river of life from the body to the spirit represented by the upper three chakras. The outward flow from Visshudha is achieved through expression and communication, if this is blocked then the energy will find release either by moving down to the base chakra, manifesting as aggressive selfish behaviour, or moving up to the brow chakra where it becomes escapism. We see this in children who are blocked from expressing themselves, and this will follow us into adulthood.

Deficient : Confusion as to who we are and what our true purpose (our dharma) really is, giving rise to timidity, a fear of speaking up,  and sometimes manipulative behaviour. Neck stiffness, shoulder tension, teeth grinding, jaw disorders, headaches, problems with swallowing or eating, ear nose and throat ailments. If we find we are having ongoing problems with the neck or throat particularly then it might be wise to have a long hard look at our situation to identify what restrictions may be blocking our ability to express ourselves, and whether those restrictions arise from other people or from ourselves imposing limitations on ourselves from within.

Overactive: excessive talking, an inability to listen, hearing difficulties. Habitual and compulsive behaviour, trying to impose rigidity or non-change on to our world, which is characterised by constant and natural change. Dogmatic behaviour, arrogance, self-righteousness.

In balance: we learn to feel truly that we are  “in our body” and can express what we know and what we feel. Fluency in thought and communication, feeling secure and independent.  Brings us into resonance with all of life, rather than being fixated on ourselves and our own narrow concerns. When vishuddha is balanced feeling at peace is a regular and relaxed occurrence in our daily lives.

Symbol/Yantra:  16 smokey lavender blue (or turquoise) coloured petals (The human nervous system is hard wired to respond to the blue of twilight by settling down, becoming quiet and preparing to rest during the hours of darkness. As the body becomes less active, an observant detachment becomes more apparent, as physical objects become less visible, so the mental functions become more imaginative, vague and dream-like). In the centre a downward pointing triangle, inside the triangle a full moon, and inside the moon a white elephant, with its trunk pointing upwards, the symbol of sound. The elephant wears no restraining collar, indicating that is free and chooses to serve

Mantra: Ham , said to vibrate and energise the brain and throat, bringing sweetness and harmony to the voice.

Asana

….postures designed to bring energy up from base….

  • Breath with sound, turning head side to side
  • Knees to chest
  • Butterfly/supta baddha konasana
  • Stomach crunches
  • Bridge pose
  • Ruddy goose/cakravakasana
  • Vajrasana
  • Simhasana
  • Downward puppy shoulder stretch
  • Camel /Ustrasana)
  • Cobra /Bhujanghasana) (lift head without using hands)
  • Urdhva mukha svansasana
  • Dhanurasana
  • Pranamasana/Tadasana with hands above head
  • Natarajasana II
  • Nilayana padmasana/ standing half lotus to forward fold to squat
  • Vrksasana
  • Trikonasana
  • Pascimottanasana
  • Janu sirsasana/ maha bandha
  • Sirsasana
  • Sarvangasana
  • Matysasana

Mudra: chin mudra  tip of index fingers to base of thumbs palms up

Pranayama: ujjayi breath,  brahmari “bee breath” simhasana,  sounding ohm, gayatri mantra

References

“Seventh Heaven” by Barabara Kaplan Herring

“Healing Yoga” by Swami Ambikananda Saraswati

“The Power of Chakras and Chakra Healing” by Sue and Simon Lilly

“The Chakra Bible” by Patricia Mercier.

Additional material from BWY foundation course notes with Julia Wheatley, and from Yoga Campus Diploma course notes.

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