The 5th Chakra our Creative Center

In the philosophies of India, sound is considered the primordial ingredient of creation. Sound, crafted from the cosmic drum of Shiva in the celestial realms, was given to Brahma and Saraswati, the pair of deities that rule over creation and beginnings. The divine order o the universe, the essence of spirit, and the element of sound are intricately connected. Without sound, the universe will collapse again into nothingness, stolen by Mother Kali, in her final act of destruction. With sound, we are given the power to create from within ourselves using the same primordial energies that crate the world around us and indeed, our very selves.

With sound, we are given the tools to avert destruction. The fifth chakra facilitates a profound passage between the abstract information of conception, image and idea, and the manifested realm of the material world. It takes us through the heart where we communicate and connect with each other; through our power where we command and contain; through our emotions, and down into the coordination of the cells within our bodies. on the spiritual plane, sound brings us up through the lower chakras (using body, movement, will and breath) into resonance and harmony, information and understanding. It is the prime transmitter of consciousness itself.  Although sound may be the primordial ingredient of existence, it is consciousness–created from vibrational impact–that creates and maintains the very web of life. – Anodea Judith Eastern Body, Western Mind

Working with the 5th chakra truly brings us into alignment with our own creative capacity, but first we have to believe in our own ability to do that and in our own worthiness for owning such creations. The throat chakra is a tricky place, I find it so intricately linked to the other chakras as its often a gateway for expressing our chakra energy and needs in the world. When we can’t find this expression not only does the 5th chakra become blocked, but we also experience energy stagnation in other energy centers as well. For example, when we’re unable to speak our truth about our feelings, not only does our 5th chakra become blocked, but our 2nd chakra is also denied and energetically shut down. An open and flowing chakra then truly opens us up to health in many of our other chakras and in our capacity to make manifest the intention coming down from the higher chakras and the emotion, passion and physical experiences of the lower chakras. We can therefore, use our other chakras to help gain access to our 5th. The more we create flow through multiple chakras we open to better health and well-being in the body, mind and spirit. Try these practices below to open the 5th chakra by way of the lower chakras.

1st Chakra Body Movement

One of the best ways to free the voice is to first free up the body, and the body is ruled by the 1st chakra. Free form body movement helps us to get more comfortable in our skin, as we get comfortable in our own skin we get more comfortable with sharing our voice and speaking truthfully. This practice is so simple and can be done at any time. Turn on some music, preferably something with an accessible drumbeat and is somewhat unknown to you (i.e. don’t turn on your favorite Beyonce dance song as you most likely have a particular way of moving your body to this song). A favorite song of mine is The Rhythm is Not Mine (Instrumental) by John de Kadt. To do this practice, turn the music on, close your eyes and begin swaying with the music. As your body drops into the rhythm, widen the stance into a squat and continue to move. Involve the arms, the legs, the head, shoulders and neck. Keep your eyes closed, no judgement about movement and start to dance. Don’t worry about your dance moves, move in a way that feels authentic, represents the experience of energy and emotion in the body and keep moving. As you drop away the layers of worry around doing it correctly, you’ll find an authentic voice in your body’s movement which will eventually help you find an authentic voice in your 5th chakra.

2nd Chakra Emotional Release

image from energyenhancement.org

When we can give voice to our emotions, whatever they may be, we open up to the power of the 5th chakra. I have definitely found myself in tears in yoga class before and not really been able to express how or why I feel that way. The more we can open to the waves of emotion that arise for us on the mat, the more we can be open to the authenticity of our expression in the 5th chakra. Woodchopper is one of my favorite poses for releasing emotion locked in the body. A series of 10-12 is often enough to move energy through and open up to emotions. After the series, be sure to give yourself time to be with the flow of energy and let whatever comes up move through the body like a wave. Don’t hold on to anything that arises and don’t worry about unpacking where the emotion came from. Let it arise, be with it and let it go.

3rd Chakra Practice for Stimulating Creative Flow and Opening

image from yogajournal.com

The 3rd chakra and the 5th chakra are intricately linked. They hold either side of the heart and are both associated with creativity. The 3rd chakra is associated with more physical manifestations of creativity and the the 5th chakra with more consciousness based manifestation of creativity. Both equally important and both tied together. When we do 3rd chakra practices to clear out this chakra for creativity, we can also open the 5th chakra for the same energies. A heat building and clearing practice that I love is lion’s breath. It can also help clear 2nd chakra emotional blockages much in the same way that the Woodchopper can. Use this breath in any pose where you feel stuck and as you exhale bring your awareness to your throat and visualize vibrant blue light traveling out with the breath. As you take each lions breath you stimulate the 3rd chakra, release the 2nd chakra and open the 5th chakra.

The Power of Silence & the Throat Chakra

“Let your beauty manifest itself without talking or calculation.
You are silent.
It says for you: I am.
And comes in meaning thousand fold,
comes at long last over everyone.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
This week we explored a profound lesson of the throat chakra, silence. While the throat chakra is most often associated with sound, as our vehicle for communication, our ability to listen is also inherently connected into this energy center. We tend to be a culture of stimulus, we are constantly plugged in–to our TV, to our phones, to music and to our computers. Its hard to get away from stimulation and noise in our busy lives. I sometimes forget how much noise I have gotten use to experiencing. When my partner and I take a weekend away out of the city, I am always amazed at the sheer expansiveness of being in an environment without all the bustle of the city. Its amazing how it shifts my energy and my mood simply to find a quieter space in my life.
The throat chakra needs this same nurturing. Its important we find times for quiet and solitude in our lives. Not only does this give us give the opportunity to recharge our overstimulated systems, but it also gives us the opportunity to listen. If we are plugged in to constant input of noise and stimulation its hard for our intuitive messages and guides to speak to us (or at the very least to be heard). I invite you to take some more quiet time in your yoga practice these next few weeks and see what bubbles up to the surface. You can also explore these other practices as a way to connect with the benefits silence has to offer:
  • Select at least one evening a week to be an “unplugged night.” Turn off your phone, computer and TV. You can take it a step further by enjoying the evening by candlelight.
  • Take a walk and leave your phone or Ipod at home. Listen to the sounds of nature.
  • Commit to a daily meditation practice of 10-15 minutes. I like to practice in the morning when the day is still quiet and its easier to drop into a quiet meditative state.
  • Make a commitment to see to watch at least one sunrise a week.
  • Take a morning vow of silence. Awake, do your practice, shower and even have breakfast in silence. Notice how your day shifts as a result.
  • Pause during your day and listen for your breath. Spend at least one minute with the eyes closed connecting with your inhale and exhale.

Opening the Neck to Open the Throat Chakra

This week was our first exploration of the throat chakra. As a society we tend to have unbalanced throat chakras. Advances in technology and social media have lead to an over abundance of “communication” but communication that is inauthentic and doesn’t provide true connection. You can see this physically manifested in the over-stretching common in so many people who spend their days at the computer. The neck is long in the back and constricted in the front, the cervical curve is lost. Energetically this speaks to a blockage in the front of the chakra (the giving side of the chakra) and a weakness in the back of the chakra (the receiving side of the chakr). We can all benefit from a little throat chakra work!

The throat chakra is the center for communication. It is the place from which we speak our truth and connect with others. It is the first chakra above the heart and represents the first chakra in the “upper” chakras associated with wisdom, spirit and thought. To begin working with the neck, starting with the physical structure is the easiest avenue. As a result of our poor posture, many can benefit from working the neck, stretching and strengthening. This combined with vocal work will help loosen and open the throat chakra and facilitate better communication and listening.

Neck Stretches

The most basic way to access and work with the throat chakra is through the structure of the neck. Begin your practice with some basic neck stretches. Turn the head from left to right several times. Drop the chest to the chin and lengthen the crown forward. After several breaths, lengthen up through the chin as you lift your gaze to the ceiling. Do not let the head drop back, keep the cervical spine long. After several breaths, drop the chin to the chest then on inhale roll the right ear to the right shoulder. Bring the right hand to the let side of the head and apply gentle pressure, lengthen the left fingertips toward the floor. Find some small movements, shake the head yes and no and open and close the mouth. Release the right hand, take a few more movements. Bring the right hand to the right side of the head and press the head up to center as you find a neutral spine. Complete the same sequence on the other side. Take an exhale and drop the chin to the chest, roll the head from side to side with the breath. After several rounds complete full circles with the head in both directions. Finish the sequence by bringing the chin to the chest, squeeze the shoulder blades together on the back. Breathe here for 5 breaths.

Woodchopper: Clear Out the Blockages

image from energyenhancement.org

One of my all time favorite throat chakra clearing exercises! The picture shows the hands going between the legs, in my variation I have students stand feet shoulder width apart with a little bend to the knees. Arms are lifted up alongside the ears on inhale and on exhale the arms are swept alongside the legs and back behind the body. On the exhale make a loud “HA” noise, or if any other sound needs to escape use that. As you prepare for the practice and move into it, imagine all the spaces in your life when you haven’t been able to speak your truth, speak your mind or perhaps even share your voice. With each “HA” allow yourself to release these memories and release the energetic blockages they’ve created in the throat.

Restorative Neck Stretches

End the practice with several restorative neck stretches. Start on the back and bend the knees, set the feet to the floor and come up into bridge pose. Take a block and slide it underneath the fleshy part of the butt and the sacrum. Rest here for 3-5 minutes. Let the back of the head be heavy. To come out rise up onto the toes, lift off the block, slide it out of the way and roll down one vertebrae at a time. Next prepare for a supported fish pose. Roll over to the side, come up to your seat, take a bolster and lay it lengthwise on the mat. Sit on the edge of the bolster and recline back. The shoulders should be on the bolster, the edge of the bolster follows the length of the bolster as the back of the head touches the floor (see a more supported version above for those with neck injuries). Stay here for at least 3 minutes. Breathe into the front of the throat. Ensure the teeth are not clenched. Breathe. To come out roll over to one side into fetal position, press up to a seat and clear the mat for savasana.

The Throat Chakra: Finding Your Voice

With all this talk of sound I felt it would be important to move into the throat, the 5th chakra, Vissuddha Chakra:

Color: Cobalt Blue
Seed Syllable: HAM
Element: Ether
Rules: Thyroid, jaw, neck, mouth, throat, tongue, larynx
Planet: Mercury

Because the 5th chakra is located in the throat and governs higher communication, speaking, hearing and listening, it helps us to understand our inner truth and convey it with our voice to the outside world. The sense for the 5th chakra is hearing. Chanting, singing, speaking, reading aloud are all good for the 5th chakra. The vibrations of all these things affect the body down to the cellular level.

The element for the 5th chakra is ether/space. It is connected to the cosmos, which consists of these elements. Deficient energy in the 5th chakra can cause neck and shoulder problems, jaw disorders, throat problems, an under active thyroid and a fear of speaking.

On the other hand, excessive energy in the 5th chakra can cause hearing problems, inability to listen, excessive talking and an overactive thyroid.

Here are some yogic suggestions to work with the throat chakra:

Asana
– Matsyasana (fish pose)
– Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
– Setu Bhanda Sarvangasana (bridge pose)
– Neck Stretches

Pranayama
– Ujjayi (conqueror breath)

Bhandas
– Jalandhara Bhanda

Mantra
All kinds of mantra and chanting are excellent for releasing the throat chakra.