February 08, 2016

Tune in to Your Sounds

How do you communicate?  Are you direct?  Do you choose your words carefully?  What feeling do you try to convey?  Often when thinking about communication, we have a tendency to focus on the output - what was expressed out whether it was through words, music, illustration, etc.  We’re not as apt to think about the process.  A big part of communication, however, is the listening.  Do you really acknowledge what others are saying?  Do you recognize what you are saying to yourself?  Do you notice where these words that form in your head as thoughts come from (are they truly yours or are they coming from elsewhere)?  This area of communication is the realm of Vishuddha, which is also referred to as the throat or fifth chakra.

Physically, this energy centre is situated at the throat and works with the neck, shoulders and jaw.  These areas tend to be places where we store tension and tightness from the worries, anxieties and fears that we create in our minds.  Whether this angst is rooted in “reality” or a product of our mind, the strain that is produced in our bodies is very real. 

The throat chakra is dictated by the world of vibration and sound.  It doesn’t matter if we say a word out loud or if it is a thought in our mind . . . this word produces the same vibration and creates the same result.  In classes this week we do a pose which was introduced and taught to me as “broken wing.”  I’ve chosen to rename the pose “healing wing.”  What associations come up when you say/think the word broken or healing?  What pose and state would you rather create – one of being damaged or one of working towards becoming better?  I challenge you this week to notice those thoughts in your mind.  How do you talk to yourself?  What vibrations are you putting out about how you feel about yourself, your situation, or other people?  Where are these thoughts coming from?  Can you tell the difference between those thoughts that are truly emanating from you and your heart, and those that are planted there by other people, society, or your cultural upbringing?

Matsyasana (fish) to support and open the Throat Chakra
Start in a position lying down on our backs.  We’ll bring our legs straight, feet together.  The palms of our hands will be flat on the floor, and our arms will be straight with our forearms and elbows tucked in close to the side of our bodies.  On an inhale, we’ll press down into our forearms and elbows to lift the chest up.  The chest arches back as we drop our head back.  Our head may or may not reach the floor.  If we want to go deeper to bring the crown of the head to the floor, we’ll walk our elbows down towards our hips, but we will keep most of the weight in our hands and forearms (little weight should be on the head) as well as rooting down into the legs as they press into the floor.  Feel the lift of the chest coming from between the shoulder blades and feel the sensation of the neck as it opens up.  Stay in this posture from 5-20 breaths allowing the pose to help open our chest and throat, and relieve tension in the neck and shoulders.  When you feel ready to come out, gently press down into the forearms to lift the head off the floor and gently return to a comfortable position lying on your back. 

Akash Mandala Pranayama for the Throat Chakra

*** this breath technique comes from the Gitananda yoga tradition.

This technique involves a simple in and out of the breath done to a count:

  • inhale for a count of 6
  • exhale for a count of 6

Continue this pattern for at least 9 rounds focusing on the throat centre and the color blue.  You can either decrease the count to 5 or 4, or increase the count to 7,8, or 9.  Just ensure that the inhale and the exhale have the same count.

Below is an audio recording of this technique along with a visualization for the throat chakra that can be used with this breath. 

Happy Breathing and have fun with your week of inner listening.  Be sure to connect if you have any questions.

See you on our mats!

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