'Watch your mouth and hold your teeth...'. 'There is power in the tongue...'. 'Be careful of how you speak...'. Chances are if you've heard one of these statements in this lifetime. The throat, outside of it being one of the first parts of digestive process, it is our main communicator. It is how most of us express ourselves and relay information. With it's level of significance, the energy that surrounds it is just as important.
The fifth chakra in the energy series, is known as the Throat Chakra and is the first of the three spiritual chakras. With the Sanskrit name, Vishudda, breaking down to mean 'pure' or 'purification', this chakra is related to the element of sound and encompasses the essence of faith and understanding. Through the throat sound is pushed into the air and in turn its vibration can be felt throughout our entire body. The fifth chakra is the chakra of communication, expression and judgement and it rules one's self expression and ability to speak one's truth. This energy governs the anatomical regions of jaw, neck, mouth, tongue, larynx, thyroid and parathyroid. Vishudda is also known as the Kanth Padma (Kantha meaning throat) or Shodash Dala (which is related to the number 16) and has the symbol of a circle with 16 petals as well as a crescent with a circle inside. The corresponding color to the Throat Chakra is aqua or turquoise, with various shades of blue as the secondary color(s).
Balance vs. Imbalance
Having the ability to express oneself with a level of ease and facility, in every way not just verbally is a sign of a balanced chakra. In addition, artistic and creative expression and contentment is also a tell tale sign of a great balance within this energy. However on the contrary when the Vishudda is blocked or imbalanced, the energy flow connected to it can be noticeably hindered . There's multitude of physical as well as emotional symptoms can manifest as a result of the blockage. Some physical signs of an imbalance can include chronic sore throat, frequent headaches, mouth ulcers, hoarseness, thyroid issues, dental issues, and TMJ (Temporomandibular disorders of the jaw) just to name of few. While the physical symptoms can be daunting and even painful the emotional symptoms can be just as bad. Some of these symptoms can include fear of speaking, an inability to express thoughts and feelings, extreme shyness, social anxiety, staggered creativity, detachment and stubbornness. Just like the other chakras, there is a dual side to the imbalance. With a perpetuated (or overly active) imbalance one can be arrogant, domineering, deceptive and manipulative, with an underactive imbalance one can experience anxiety, insecurity, fear, even stoic like feelings. An imbalance in the throat chakra can adversely affect various aspects of your life on a personal and a professional level. One can begin to avoid social situations or even become very distrustful of their own inner voice.
One of the suggestions to heal the Throat Chakra is to actually try to align the lower chakras that come before it, the Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus and Heart Chakra. Chances are if there is a blockage in the Throat Chakra, there is a blockage in other chakras as well. When aligning the first (Root) and second (Sacral) chakra, it helps to overcome fears. Opening up the third chakra(Solar Plexus) helps you realize your personal power and gives you confidence to express yourself. And opening the fourth chakra (Heart) helps you better understand the matters of the heart. So once you find balance in the other chakras in turn you ought to be able to verbalize your desires, wants, needs and opinions in a way that is healthy and conducive to you. Another method, is through meditation; by meditating one is able to bring peace and serenity to the body, mind and spirit. This tranquility will allow ease in expression of thoughts and opinions along with balance. As mentioned the corresponding color of this chakra is aqua or turquoise (bluish colors), some gemstones that are connected to it are sapphire, blue topaz, lapis lazuli and aquamarine. These gems are good to use during meditation to help one envision this color radiating throughout their throat area. In your yoga practice, try the Camel Pose (Utrasana), Bridge Pose, (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana) and the Plow Pose (Halasana). These poses are known to stimulate the thyroid and parathyroid glands along with bringing energy and heat to the throat area. Singing, humming, and reading aloud are also great ways to open up this chakra. Breathing is essential to the alignment of the Vishudda, two Pranayama (breathing) exercises that one can use to stimulate the throat are Ujjyai breathing (Darth Vader breath) and Lion's Breath. In addition one can chant; the mantra sound associated with the opening of the fifth chakra is HUM, By doing any one of these practices, you can achieve alignment and healing in the Throat Chakra.
True and authentic expression is not something that generally comes easy. Being able to express and verbalize ones feelings, opinions, and thoughts is something that we all tend to struggle with. Even having the ability to tell it like it is has to be used delicately to assure that there is no malice or ill will with your intention. Speaking your truth does not give you pass to be hurtful or critical towards others. Knowing how to listen and receive information is just as important as knowing how to say what's on your mind. Giving someone your full attention is the highest form of listening. All in all it's about balance. Understanding how to speak your piece will essentially give you peace that you are searching for.