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Chakras are the swirling energy centers found throughout the body that regulate the flow of prana (energy) through the body. Chakra locations are associated with the endocrine glands and areas of the body that contain large bundles of nerve endings. Vishuddha, the fifth chakra, is located at the throat or pharynx plexus, near to the location of the thyroid gland. By practicing postures that help to open and engage the muscles surrounding the chakras and by bringing your focus to these areas during your practice, your energy flow will be more balanced.
Vishuddha is our center for communication, both verbal and non-verbal. When this chakra is open, communication is effective and from a place of truth. When this chakra is unbalanced, you may feel as if you are not being heard. Imbalances in the Chakras can manifest in physical ways, such as having pain in the mouth, jaw or neck or having a sore throat. Emotional manifestations can also occur and may be expressed by talking too much or inappropriately or maybe not feeling able to communicate.
As you move through the following postures, stay mindful of your intention and keep you focus on the throat by engaging the Ujjai breathing technique of constricting the throat to create an internal hissing or sighing sound.
Crescent Low Lunge: From Mountain Pose, step the right leg back lowering your knee to the mat for additional support and resting the top of the right foot on the floor. Align your left knee above the ankle and let the pelvis sink towards the floor, bringing the stretch into the thigh. Bring the arms up next to the ears reaching the fingertips up and behind the body as you begin to arch the back and lift the heart. Hold for 5-10 breath and then repeat on the other side, stepping the left leg back. Counter this pose with a standing forward fold.
Camel Pose – Ushtrasana: Resting on the knees and shins in Firm Pose, begin to bring your body into position for your most comfortable variation of camel pose. For the less intense seated backward bend, slide the hands behind the body, with your fingers pointing away. Pressing down through the floor, begin to lift the hips off of the heels, pressing the pelvis up and relaxing the head back to a comfortable position. To move into a full or half camel variation, lift onto the knees bringing the hands to the lower back, fingertips pointing down the body. Moving the pelvis forward slightly as you arch the back. If you feel comfortable, slide one hand at a time down to the leg, ankle or heel bringing the body deeper into the back bend. Hold for 5-10 breath and then move with control our of the posture, leading with the chest as you come up. Counter this strong and energizing pose with a few breath in Child’s Pose to rest.
Bridge Pose – Setu Bandha Sarvangasana: Lying on your back, bend your knees bringing the bottoms of our feet to the mat, sliding your heels towards the hips into a comfortable position. Curl the pelvis under and press into the feet, as you lift the hips up creating a diagonal from the shoulders towards the hips. Lengthen the back of your neck tucking the chin slightly under, allowing the Ujjai breath to flow through the body. Hold here, preparing for fish pose.
Fish Pose Matsyasana: From bridge, slide the hands under the body, palms down and lower the hips and back onto your arms. Straightening the legs, move on your next exhalation pressing into your hands and bending the elbows to lift the chest up. Relax the head back into a comfortable position, letting go of tension in the jaw and throat as you take 5-10 abdominal breath. Exhale as you lower, straightening the arms, returning your body to the mat and bringing the arms out from under the body.
Circle Pose Chakrasana: Lying on your back bring feet to the mat and press your hands down next to your ears, elbows up and fingertips pointing at the shoulders. Take a deep breath and as you exhale, press through the floor with your hands and feet, lifting your back off of the mat. Hold in a comfortable position, where your breath can flow with ease keeping your focus in front of the body or on the mat. When you are ready to come out of the position, move with control lowering the shoulders and then rolling the rest of the body onto the mat.
Half Shoulder Stand Ardha Sarvangasana and Plough Pose Halasana: These inversions provide compression in the throat engaging the Vishuddah Chakra as they also work to lengthen the back of the neck. From Savasana, draw the knees on to the chest and then stretch your legs up. With your arms resting at your side, letting your legs rock forward and back gaining some momentum. Then press down into the floor as you lift the hips up transferring your hands to the hips or lower back for support. Take a few breath here in a Half Shoulder Stand and then whenever you feel ready, begin to make your transition into Plough Pose. Pressing the heels away from the body while lowering the toes to the floor above your head. Keep the back strong and engaged, hips over the shoulders and the neck straight as you keep your focus up on the ceiling or legs. Breathe about 10 conscious breath and then with control, walk the hands along the body and roll the spine back onto the mat.
Savasana: At the conclusion of this practice, allow the body some time to rest spending a few minutes here to allow our energy to balance and our practice to integrate. Relax into the mat, letting the ankles find a comfortable position and bringing the arms in at your sides, turning the palms up. While you are here, take at least 10 deep and controlled breath into the stomach, letting the belly rise as you inhale and relax in as you exhale. As you finish your practice slowly reintroduce movement and allow the body some time to get used to being upright.
Additional postures to practice include those that open the throat and engage the muscles of the neck, chest and upper back such as twisting postures and neck rotations. Always remember to move the neck with intention and control making sure to allow for some time between the postures to rest if you are so inclined!
- Affirmations for Vishuddha the 5th Chakra:
- I am open, clear, and honest in my communication.
- I know when it is time to listen.
- I express myself creatively.
- I have integrity.
- I am at peace.
Additional Chakra Sessions:
Finding Personal Power, Yoga Poses for the Manipura Chakra
Let go and Find your Truth, Namaste.
Ashley Freeman is a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance. Certified in Raja Yoga, her experience includes private in-home lessons, workplace wellness programs, and group instruction teaching various class formats and yoga styles. Find her on Google+