The fifth chakra, called Vishuddha which means "purification" is located at the throat center is the gateway between the body and the mind. The throat chakra allows us to draw from both our physical experiences, and mental intellect and intuition to enable clear and eloquent communication. It is ruled by by the element ether and governs our sense of hearing, the thyroid gland, and the structures of mouth and throat. Imbalance here can manifest as an inability to listen or an inability to speak for ourselves. When balanced communication is clear and we are able to live authentically and in alignment with our personal sense of truth.
Color: Sky Blue
Body Systems: Speech, Endocrine
Parts Affected: Mouth, Ears, Neck
When Excessive: Inability to listen
When Blocked: Inability to speak
When Balanced: Eloquent communication, authentic living
Mudra: Vishuddha Mudra (see also Physical Healing Mudras)
Bija Mantra: Ham
Press thumbs onto sides of ring finger at middle joint, extend all others. Rest hands with palms up.
Benefits: Activates and purifies the throat
Practice Tips: Use for blocked speech, thyroid imbalance
Contraindications: High blood pressure, stroke
"No" Head Movements
From seated position, inhale turn head to left without pushing into any pain. Exhale and turn head to the right keeping the chin level. Repeat 10 times.
Benefits: Stretches and relaxes muscles of neck and upper back
"Yes" Head Movements
Inhale and lift chin and drop back of skull slightly without crunching back of the neck. Exhale lift back of the skull and lower chin and pull it toward throat. Repeat 10 times. Benefits: Stretches and relaxes muscles of neck and upper back
Side Neck Stretch
Drop right ear to right shoulder. Place right hand on left ear for extra stretch (DON'T pull on head!). Hold 5 breaths. Release head and lift back up to center gently. Repeat to the other side.
Benefits: Stretches and relaxes trapezius
Ujjayi (Glottal Breath)
Begin by breathing through the nose with even length inhale and exhale. Create a soft glottal contraction to increase sound only on inhale, relax throat when you exhale through the nostrils. Listen for the oceanic sound the breath makes and watch for any variations in the sound trying to keep the sound smooth and even. Start with 10 cycles.
Benefits: Increases lung capacity, reduces blood pressure
Practice Tips: Use to help regulate your breath pattern and to slow the breath down
I attend Cheryl's class regularly and feel that my practice has improved immensely over the past few years due to her expert coaching. Her teaching style is clear and compassionate and her previous experience in teaching adults is evident in her organized approach and easy to understand instructions. I also appreciate that Cheryl not only teaches us about how to correctly position ourselves, but also touches on many aspects of yoga philosophy, which in turn has deepened my personal practice and heightened my awareness of the connection between mind and body, breath and relaxation.