The fifth chakra (throat chakra meditation), located at the throat, is connected to the larynx, or voice box, and the thyroid and parathyroid glands, influencing both vocal expression and metabolism. Vishuddha or the throat chakra meditation also influences us on a cellular and molecular level; when harmony is present, everything is dancing together, expressed as health, wellness, and wholeness. When disharmony affects us, we see disease, atrophy, and chaos.
The throat chakra meditation is an expansive energy based on vibration. It is associated with the energy of light and sound that permeates the entire universe in waves. This is paralleled with the idea of the universal mind, a world of collective knowledge, called the Akashic Records in yogic philosophy, which the individual connects with on an intellectual level.
The thyroid gland secretes thyroxine, which affects the growth rate and metabolism of our cells. The rate of vibration affecting this endocrine gland can speed or slow the body’s metabolism. If the vibrations are too slow, the body may be sluggish and prone to illness; the mind as well may become stagnant, producing an uninspired and unmotivated character. If the vibration is too high, the metabolism may be overactive, burning energy too fast, resulting in high blood pressure and feverish symptoms and a mind that is rampant, anxious, and intolerant.
In yogic philosophy, the mind-body relationship is much more reciprocal than in traditional Western thought. Our state of mind directly affects our physical well-being; in the case of the fifth chakra energy, the verbal functions of the mind, both internal and expressed through the voice, determine the rate of vibration at which the thyroid functions. In this way, mantra and chanting, be it English or the traditional Sanskrit used in yoga, can positively affect overall health.
Modern science has shown that the brain is constantly producing neuropeptides which communicate with every cell of our body. Depending on the brain’s activity, they can help or hinder the body’s functions. Cultivating positive thought as well as taming excessive “mind-chatter” are essential aspects of a complete yoga practice.
The Jnanendriya (sense organ) and Karmendriya (action) associated with Vishuddha are hearing and speaking, respectively. Both bring our awareness into the larger world we live in, both as an observer and an actor. We must be careful to find balance in this reactive cycle and also be mindful of our internal world of sound, the harmony and disharmony within us that can be affected by both internal and external stimuli.
The yama (abstention/ethical practice) and niyama (observance/virtuous conduct) are Satya (truthfulness) and Atman Pranidhana (listening to intuition), respectively. Truthfulness must be practiced in both speech and thought and requires more diligence than one might think. We must become aware of our tendencies toward selective memory and mental prejudices to bring our thought and speech into harmony with our reality. Quieting the mind may aid in developing more deliberate and truthful thought and also cultivate Atman Pranidhana, the ability to listen to one’s own inner wisdom, the Guru within, which we hide with convoluted thoughts of self-doubt, insecurity, guilt, shame, as well as social influences.
If this throat chakra meditation is balanced, a person will be articulate, intellectual, and naturally explorative. When this energy is too strong, one may be loud, argumentative, and hyperactive. If the energy of the fifth chakra is blocked, a person may be sluggish, shy, resistant to change, and may develop phobias involving public speaking and social interaction.
Yoga for the Fifth Chakra or Chakra Breathing
There are many yoga poses, or asanas, which open the throat chakra. These are also called chakra breathing.
Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
Fish pose in the chakra breathing is a simple pose with many variations. Lying on your back, come up onto the crown of your head, using the elbows for support as you transition into the pose. The legs may remain on the floor or may be raised to a 45-degree angle. The arms are then brought together and raised parallel to the angle of the legs. One may also bring the legs into lotus pose.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
From a kneeling position with the knees and feet hip width apart and lower abdomen engaged, lean the head back, open the shoulders, and bring the hands onto the heels, being careful to keep the hips over the knees. If this is too stressful on the low back, bring the palms onto the sacrum. Concentrate on strong mid chest breathing.
Raja Yoga in the chakra breathing is also known as the Royal Road. It is a branch of yogic philosophy that uses mantra and visual techniques to purify the mind and bring our awareness of our inner vibrations to a level of consciousness.
The use of mantra may begin with the simple habitual employment of a positive statement that one repeats throughout their day for an extended period of time, internally and externally, as a practice. One such phrase may be “I am beautiful, I am bountiful, I am blissful. So Hum.” The affirmative thought cleanses the mind of negative thinking and helps manifest the statement into reality.
A simple visual exercise to awaken the mind’s eye is to use a simply made mandala, perhaps an image of a body chakra. Gaze at it for a few minutes then attempt to see it in the mind’s eye with the eyes closed. The key to this practice is to remain relaxed and not force the images.
Perhaps the best practices to restore balance to the fifth chakra or chakra breathing are things that Western culture does not often encourage in the individual: to energize, unbridled joyful singing; to calm the energy, extended observances of meaningful silence.
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