Saturday, September 7, 2013

Vishuddha - Throat Chakra

The fifth chakra is called Vishuddha, which means “purification.” Purification of the body through attention to diet, yoga, meditation and exercise opens us to experience the subtler aspects of the upper chakras. This energy center is localized in the throat area and relates to communication, creativity and self-expression the ability to voice our dreams.

The sense associated with it is hearing, and the verb associated with the fifth chakra is “I speak.”

Since the heart chakra is the bridge between the lower, more physical energy centers and the upper, more metaphysical ones, as we ascend through the chakras, the fifth is the first primarily focused on the spiritual plane. The throat chakra, Vishuddha, is associated with the color turquoise blue and with the elements sound and ether, the field of subtle vibrations ancient Indians believed pervaded the universe. The Visuddha chakra resonates with our inner truth and helps us find a personal way to convey our voice to the outside world. The rhythm of music, creativity of dance, the vibration of singing, and the communication we make through writing and speaking are all fifth chakra ways to express ourselves.

When our center of communication is clear, we’re able to express our truth without worrying about what others may think. In contrast, with a congested fifth chakra, we feel anxious about how other people will react to our views and are likely to censor ourselves.

When this chakra malfunctions, you can encounter physical problems such as sore throat, stiff neck, colds, thyroid problems and hearing problems. Deficient energy in this chakra leads to neck stiffness, shoulder tension, teeth grinding, jaw disorders, throat ailments, an underactive thyroid, and a fear of speaking. Excessive talking, an inability to listen, hearing difficulties, stuttering, and an overactive thyroid are all related to excessiveness in this chakra. Depending on the ailments, different neck stretches and shoulder openers, including Ustrasana - Camel Pose, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana - Bridge Pose, Sarvangasana - Shoulderstand, and Halasana - Plow Pose, can aid the fifth chakra.

The glands that it affects are the thyroid and parathyroid. The other body parts related to the fifth chakra are the neck, throat, jaw, shoulders, arms and hands.

Some yogis notice that drinking more water and letting go of products such as tobacco and dairy helps to loosen up the neck and shoulders and clear the voice. In addition, sound itself is purifying. If you think of the way you feel after chanting Indian kirtans, reading poetry aloud, or simply singing along with your favorite music, you'll recognize how the vibrations and rhythms positively affect your body, right down to the cellular level.

An important and life-supporting function of the Chakra is the purification and detoxification of harmful substances that accumulate in the body and primarily come from the food we eat and the air we breathe. This detoxification is brought about by Udāna Prāna, which has its seat in the throat. Udāna Prāna enables us to swallow. The food that is broken down by saliva is purified of toxic substances by this Prāna and is then passed on to the digestive system. An active Vishuddhi Chakra united with a strong Udāna Prāna contributes substantially to the preservation of health.

It is not just the external world that is extremely polluted, but also the psyche and consciousness of many people. For as long as the pernicious, toxic qualities of discord, rivalry, envy and resentment eat away at our mind.

The Vishuddhi Chakra is a place of purification and balancing. The breath that flows through the throat, and therefore through this Chakra, plays a big role in this. The Yoga technique of Prānāyāma (conscious guidance and regulation of the breath) exerts a strong influence on the Vishuddhi Chakra, at both the physical and astral levels. Through the power of the breath (Prāna Shakti) in the Vishuddhi Chakra harmful residues are removed from the body on a physical level, and in the mental sphere the thoughts emotions, consciousness and subconscious are purified and harmonized.

Until we have mastered the Vishuddhi Chakra we have only two possibilities – to either spit out or to swallow the mental poison that penetrates from outside or rises from within.

We spit out hurtful words, mean thoughts and bad behaviour, and swallow bad treatment, insults, doubts and complexes. Both infect our consciousness and subconscious. Numerous psychic disturbances are a result of things we have swallowed. We undergo our first formative experiences in the womb. There are many things we must digest in the course of our life, many things “to swallow”. In childhood we are unable to express many emotions due to fear or helplessness. Much of that which still causes us difficulty today has been bottled up within us from this time. How are we able to cope with the disappointments and insults that we have experienced in the past, particularly in childhood?

Here are three things to think about which may help you with this:

Trust that every experience in life has its sense and goodness.
Visualise your situation in those days. You felt yourself dependent, unable to control situations and not free.
Make yourself aware that you are now grown-up and free, and the situation of those days no longer has validity.
Through such intellectual analysis and realisations we are in a position to rid ourselves of many complexes and fears from the past.

People whose Vishuddhi Chakra is blocked are often blind to their own mistakes and try to lay the blame and responsibility for their unhappiness and misfortune with others.

To blame others for events that plague us is a fundamental mistake. Nothing can strike us that is not found in our Karma; and was therefore caused by us. A bad influence can never harm us unless an allied vibration is resonating within us at the same time. Exactly those qualities that we condemn in others we find also in ourselves. In fact, nothing “bad” in itself exists. It is always concerned with projections that arise from within us.

Srī Kabīrdās, said:

“I set out to look for a bad person and could not find one anywhere. Then I looked into my own heart and saw no-one worse than myself.”

To recapitulate: Our unconscious is located in the Mūlādhāra Chakra; the subconscious lies in the Svādhishthāna Chakra: the consciousness begins to rise from the Manipūra Chakra; it unfolds in the Anāhata Chakra in order to express and manifest itself in the Vishuddhi Chakra.

In the Anāhata Chakra the consciousness can be compared with a Lotus blossom that has risen above the surface of the water. Just as waves appear on the surface of water when it begins to move, energy manifests as rising “waves of emotion” when it begins to flow. While the Lotus blossom is still beneath the surface of the water it is only slightly affected by the movement of the waves; this means that whilst our energy is oscillating between the Mūlādhāra Chakra and the Anāhata Chakra it is more subconscious than conscious and the waves of our emotions are still not all that violent. Emotions can only expand and grow when there is space, and they find this space in the Anāhata Chakra and the Vishuddhi Chakra.

When the Anāhata Chakra unfolds it is like the melting of a glacier – the consciousness is inundated with emotions. But when the Vishuddhi Chakra begins to loosen up, it is like a breach in a dyke and leads to an emotional flood of immense force. And through this the opportunity is given to finally lay bare the roots of our problems and remove them.

Patanjali said:

“Problems can only be resolved when one discovers the true cause.”

If one merely cuts a weed and doesn’t pull its roots out, it will immediately grow again. When we raise our problems into the Vishuddhi Chakra we then have the option to encapsulate them and either push them back into the subconscious again or free ourselves from them forever. The final inner healing is only possible through realization and knowledge (Gyāna).

In the Vishuddhi Chakra we are challenged to reflect on our situation in life and to put the following questions to ourselves: “What do I want to realize? What obstacles need to be overcome to realize this? What problems are confronting me and how can I resolve them?” Through meditation we attain clarity about ourself and our innermost desires and motives. We often prevent the resolution of our problems through our own prejudice and our own fixed or one-sided thinking patterns. Through MANANA (reflection) and meditation we can find possibilities for the resolution of issues that we were unable to discover before.

However, before you dive into the Vishuddhi Chakra, examine yourself honestly as to whether you are really ready to look in the mirror of your own reality.

Do not be afraid and risk the journey of discovery into your own self. Do not shy away from the sediment that appears with a little “stirring” of your psyche. You are that which you would like to experience – you are that which you would like to realize – you are that which you would like to know. You are everything – but you are constantly running away from yourself. Do not allow yourself to be put off by obstacles, or deceive yourself – raise everything from within to the light of consciousness; both nectar and poison. Purify the harmful substances in the Vishuddhi Chakra and realize your beautiful inner powers. Make your life in this world a light in the darkness.

Through Prānāyāma and Āsanas that have an effect on the Vishuddhi Chakra we can quieten the thoughts and emotions and bring them into harmony. In this way we protect ourselves from rash actions and prevent our words being like knives or arrows and injuring others.

Mahāprabhujī said:

“The truth should always be spoken with love and not with ‘knives’, because physical wounds that are caused by a knife heal again, whereas those caused by words are very difficult to heal and often remain lifelong (in the subconscious).”

We can seriously harm others and ourselves through words. Therefore, we should speak fewer rather than too many words, and weigh them up in the heart and the Vishuddhi Chakra before we speak. With friends it is easy to find pleasant, beautiful words, but to treat those we do not count as friends with love and friendship is a great virtue and an art. A very effective Sādhana for learning control over words is silence (MAUNA).

All exercises that have an effect on the Vishuddhi Chakra also have a beneficial influence on the voice and speech. Through them our words gain in wisdom and beauty. That is why work on this Chakra is particularly recommended for writers, poets, journalists, teachers, politicians, actors and singers.

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