Whether you’re Facebooking or face-to-face chatting, you’re engaging your Fifth Chakra. This wheel of energy is located in your throat and governs communication, faith, and understanding. It’s called Vishuddha in Sanskrit, which means purity.
Ideally, everything you express to others would be pure, honest and kind. Practically, you know there will be times when you wish you could “unsay” words spoken in anger or frustration. You also know there will be times when you need to tell someone a “hard truth.”
Discernment is vital to keeping this Chakra in balance. Holding back the truth isn’t all that different from lying. Not speaking out when it would be productive to do so denies someone else the help he or she might need to heal or move forward. It also betrays your real self, silencing the voice that wants to share your inner strength. As a Yoga Journal article says, “Voices are choices.” Each time you speak—or don’t—you are a making a decision about how and how much of yourself you are willing to share.
Going deeper, working in your Fifth Chakra invites you to think about what truth and honesty are. It frees you to not only understand but take a stand about the concepts and beliefs that matter most to you. Thinking before you speak is vital. Since Vishuddha is the first Chakra to focus solely on a spiritual plane, it is the logical bridge between the ideas and experiences you hold within and the words you use to convey them to others. It is also a portal that enables you to listen better to what other people have to communicate to you and to really hear them.
The more you explore the implications of communication and understanding, the more opportunities you’ll see for expanding your connection with Vishuddha.
The basics: Vishuddha, the Fifth Chakra, is activated in the pit of your throat. Focused on the spiritual realm, it is connected with communication, self-expression, purification, willpower and inner truth. [Click for details on all seven chakras.]
Its presiding deities: Ardhanarishvara (Shiva/Parvati) and the Goddess Shakini
Its element: Ether/sound
Its colors: Light blue or smoke gray
Its symbol: Chalice
Its sense: Hearing
Its aromas: Sage and eucalyptus
Its gemstones: Aquamarine, turquoise, tourmaline, and chalcedony
Its sounds: Musical note: G; Bija sound: Hang; Mantra/sound: Ham/Se
Its metal: Mercury
Number of petals: 16
Physical associations: Endocrine gland: Thyroid; Body parts: Throat, neck, arms, hands, brachial cervix, vertebrae
Imbalances: Physical: Weak voice, laryngitis, colds, sold throat, gingivitis, thyroid dysfunction, mouth ulcers, swollen glands, scoliosis, problems with teeth, hearing problems, jaw problems. Emotional: Difficulty communicating, shyness, egotism, mousiness, feelings of being unempowered, addiction, being overly critical, being uncreative,
A yogic lifestyle helps to bring this vital Chakra into balance. Here are some easy ways to begin:
Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
Benefits: This pose opens your throat (where the Fifth Chakra is), reminding you to cultivate easy communication with those around you.
How to do it: Begin on your back with your knees bent. On an inhale, lift your pelvis slightly and place your hands under your buttocks. Lower your hips back onto your hands. Arch your upper back off the mat and allow your head to gently drop back until either the crown or the back of your head rests on the mat. Focus on lengthening through the back of your neck. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then release and bring your legs into your chest.
Halasana (Plow Pose)
Benefits: Lengthening the back of your neck in the pose can balance the feeling of an overworked Fifth Chakra.
How to do it: Fold two blankets into firm rectangles about one to two feet across. Lie down with your shoulders on the blankets. Bend your knees up and bring your arms parallel to your sides. On an exhale, push your knees off the floor and bring your hands to your mid-back, just above your waist. Once your body is supported, straighten your legs and allow them to fall back over your head. Your toes will touch the floor behind you. Keep your neck long. Remain in the pose for one to five minutes, then roll back down on an exhale.
Purvottanasana (Upward Plank Pose)
Benefits: This pose stretches your whole front body, allowing you to focus on the relationship between your Fifth Chakra and its relationship to the rest of your physical body.
How to do it: Sit in Dandasana (Staff Pose). Place your hands several inches behind your hips. On an exhale, press into your hands to lift your body into an arc. Carefully drop your head back. Hold for 30 seconds and exhale.
Simhasana (Lion’s Pose)
Benefits: This throat opening breathing exercise helps clear away blocks that keep your Fifth Chakra from allowing you to easily share your thought with others.
How to do it: Kneel and cross one ankle over the other. Sit down on your heels. Place your hands on the same-side knees and extend your fingers, visualizing your hands as lion-like claws. Inhale through your nose. Then, as you exhale, open your mouth and stick your tongue out, exhaling with a “ha” sound. Repeat twice more, then change your legs and repeat the same number of times.
Eat to fuel expression and detoxify. Incorporate ginseng, gingko biloba, reishi mushrooms, barley, wheat grass, bananas, Echinacea and kelp into your diet. Avoid them if you are trying to cool an overactive Chakra.
Sing, chant—even scream—as part of getting in touch with Vishuddha. Express your truth wisely and learn from the truth of others. Focusing on your Fifth Chakra encourages you to contemplate, to meditate and also to share, to have faith and to work out the impurities that rob you of calm and peace. That’s a lot to talk about.