Do you want to feel confident, be able to speak your truth, and know the right thing to say in all situations? You might need to pay some extra attention to your throat chakra. One of the seven main chakras in the body, it relates to communication and confidence, but a blockage or imbalance results in a variety of physical and emotional ailments.
WHAT ARE THE CHAKRAS?
Practitioners of yoga and Ayurveda pay just as much attention to the subtle body, which relates to life force energy (called prana), as they do to the bones, muscles, and organs of the physical body. The chakra system is a key component of the subtle body, and one of the most widely studied. The Sanskrit word chakra translates to “wheel” or “disk,” and it refers to energy centers, or spinning circles of prana, within the body (one of which is located at the throat).
While there are many chakras in the body, the seven key chakras are situated along the spine. These seven energy centers are located at the tailbone, sacrum, solar plexus, chest, throat, third eye, and crown of the head. The chakras are visualized as swirling circles of color, following the order of the colors in the rainbow; the first chakra at the tailbone is red, and the seventh chakra at the crown of the head is violet.
Each of these seven chakras is associated with different body parts, values, and aspects of living. When all seven chakras are balanced and open, we enjoy good mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. But when one or more of the chakras is underactive or overactive, the body or mind will suffer.
THE THROAT CHAKRA
The fifth of the seven chakras is the throat chakra, also called the Vishuddhi chakra, which translates to “pure” or “purification.” In the rainbow of the chakra system, it’s associated with the color blue. The center of the throat chakra sits right in between the collarbones, but it radiates all the way down to the heart and up to the third eye. Not surprisingly given its location, the throat chakra governs the mouth, jaw, neck, and throat, including the thyroid gland. It is also our source of communication, self-expression, and creativity; it’s what enables us to speak our truth. With a balanced throat chakra, we are able to speak truthfully and confidently with clarity and kindness; we’re able to express ourselves, to find the right words, and to enjoy creativity.
But when the throat chakra is blocked or unbalanced, we become anxious, insecure, and excessively fearful of judgment or ridicule. Those feelings inhibit our ability to speak our truth and express our dreams, needs, and desires. It follows, then, that public speaking can become nearly impossible when the throat chakra is out of alignment, and even social situations can be very difficult.
More specifically, an overactive throat chakra leads us to use our voice in negative ways; tendencies toward lying, gossiping, and interrupting all reflect over-activity, as do speaking inappropriately and spending too much time trying to make oneself heard. On the other hand, excessive shyness, secretiveness, and an imperceptible voice, as well as being unable to express oneself, are the result of an underactive throat chakra. In addition, a blocked or unbalanced throat chakra leads to a variety of physical ailments, including laryngitis, thyroid disease, dental problems, TMJ, and neck pain, in addition to excessive or compulsive eating.
UNBLOCKING THE THROAT CHAKRA
Fortunately, there are many tools available to us that help to unblock and balance the throat chakra. First, many yoga poses target the throat chakra, particularly backbends and other heart-openers. For example, fish, camel, and cobra are all poses that open the throat chakra. Shoulderstand and plow pose also work the throat chakra by compressing it, and lion pose supports it by strengthening the lungs and lessening feelings of self-consciousness. Making shoulder circles and doing simple neck stretches, like turning the head left and right and tilting the head to each side, help reduce the tension that can create blockages.
Meditation is another powerful tool for working with the chakras, including the throat chakra. During your meditation, focus your attention on the spinning wheel of blue energy at the throat and meditate on your desire to speak your truth. Chanting is also useful for unblocking the throat chakra, whether you do it alone or in a group. Chanting a mantra like “So hum,” which translates to “I am” can be very effective, but the content of the chant isn’t as important as the action of doing it. Even singing in the shower or along with the radio can help. Lastly, you have to practice speaking your truth; get comfortable expressing yourself, practice talking with those you trust, and speak even if nobody can hear you.