By Faye Martins
The Chakra system is based on the wisdom of ancient Indian Yogis. According to Yogic philosophy, the human body contains seven major chakras or energy vortexes that lie along the vertical subtle pathway of the spinal cord. Each chakra corresponds to different colors, life experiences, skills, deities and emotional patterns. When the chakras are spinning and vibrating in a balanced way, we feel joyful, alive, empowered and full of energy. When the energy of a particular chakra becomes unbalanced, we may feel lethargic, blocked, sad or lonely.
The Fifth Chakra is known as the Vissudha or Throat Chakra. It is associated with the elements of air and sound as well as the subtle, energetic vibrations that comprise the universe. The Throat Chakra is also associated with the color turquoise. This chakra is located in the mouth, neck, jaw and throat areas. One of the primary aspects of human life that this chakra corresponds to is our ability to speak up for ourselves and speak our own truth. Singing, chanting sacred mantras, writing and dancing are all ways that we can creatively express our truth.
When the Fifth Chakra becomes blocked, we may experience a lot of tension in our neck, throat, shoulder and jaw areas. We may even develop TMJ or hypothyroidism. Whenever we swallow our own personal truths, we encapsulate it with muscular tension in this region of the body. This tension can be profoundly uncomfortable and over time may even create a misalignment in the spine, neck, shoulders and jaw. When the Visuddha Chakra is over-stimulated, a Yogini or Yogi may talk too much, be unable to listen to others and may even develop hyperthyroidism.
There are many effective Yoga poses for opening up and re-balancing the Throat Chakra. All backbending asanas will open up the front of the chest, throat and neck. Many standing poses, including all three Warrior poses, will help to release tension and stress in the neck, shoulders and jaw. Inverted postures such as Shoulder Stand and Plow Pose will also help to balance the Vissudda Chakra. Ustrasana or Camel Pose is one of the most profoundly effective Yoga asanas for opening up the entire Throat Chakra area.
Ustrasana or Camel Pose
To practice Ustrasana, warm-up your body first with a series of Sun Salutations and standing postures. When you are warmed up, kneel on your Yoga mat. If you need padding for your knees, kneel on a folded blanket. Keep your knees hip-distance apart. Place your hands on the back of your sacrum with your fingers pointed up. Take one inhale, with your exhale slowly lean backwards against your hands as you puff your chest up towards the sky. You may keep your chin tucked into your neck to alleviate any neck discomfort, or stretch your neck and head back for a deeper throat stretch. Hold for five to ten breaths. Come up slowly and rest for a few minutes in Extended Child’s Pose.
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