Last week in our chakra series we learned about the heart chakra, our chakra of unconditional love and balance. If you missed that post, check it out here! This week we’ll learn about the fifth chakra in our energy system, the throat chakra or vishuddha, our chakra of self-expression, creativity, and communication. We’ll continue to reference a book by Anodea Judith called Eastern Body, Western Mind, available here.
The chakra system consists of seven wheels of energy aligning the spine. Each chakra is associated with specific physical and emotional parts of our being. The lower chakras established our trust in the world and ourselves, as well as our identity. These are our core beliefs and are of mostly an internal nature. The remaining four chakras begin to move out and up, including our relationships with others and with the Divine.
The throat chakra is the communication hub of the energy system. It is where we express what’s inside of us, the make-up of the lower chakras. The throat chakra allows us to speak our mind with confidence and communicate authentically with others. It is where we say what we mean and mean what we say.
Attributes of the Throat Chakra
As the name suggests, the fifth chakra is located at the center of the throat. It is associated with the color blue and the sound element. As the communication center of our energy systems, the throat chakra is where we express ourselves and speak our truth.
The previous four chakras develop what can be thought of as our personality. Our characteristics and tendencies come from these chakras, whether we are trustful or suspicious, confident or self-conscious, empathetic or cold. It is in the throat chakra that we express these characteristics to the world.
“Communication is the essential function of the fifth chakra. As self-expression, it is a gateway between the inner world and the outer.”
Another major function of the throat chakra is to ensure we get our needs met. If we can’t accurately express what we need, there’s a very good chance we won’t get it. We may settle for less out of fear of expressing our true needs, or we might be afraid to say no. Being able to do this is highly dependent upon the self-confidence and worthiness established in the lower chakras.
Part of being a good communicator is listening, and the throat chakra deals with this aspect of communication just as much as our outward communication to others. A balanced throat chakra person will understand that listening is an essential part of having authentic, intimate relationships. The listening has to be authentic too; a good listener will be engaged and know how to create conversational balance.
Things that Affect Throat Chakra Development
Judith says that the throat chakra develops somewhere between seven and twelve years. By this time, we have formed relationships with family and friends, and we begin to learn how to communicate on a more advanced level. We learn that our words are powerful and can change the course of situations in our lives. That’s why Judith says that lies are the demon of this chakra. Lies both to ourselves and others distort reality and create mistrust. A family that keeps secrets or sends mixed messages will confuse the development of the throat chakra.
Any form of unhealthy communication that we were either involved in or witnessed can affect the development of this chakra. Parents who fought a lot and were constantly yelling or lying to each other, a family that went to great lengths to hide their problems, or discouragement of self-expression are all things that affect the way we learn to communicate.
Mixed messages can also confuse the throat chakra. We may have learned something in school but were told something else at home. We may have had a parent with inconsistent reactions to our behaviors. Whatever the situation, we become unsure of the truth. When we don’t know who to believe, mistrust develops, and our perception of truth can become distorted.
Judith lists a few more situations that can contribute to a throat chakra imbalance:
- Lies, mixed messages
- Verbal abuse, constant yelling
- Excessive criticism
- Authoritarian parents
- Alcoholic, chemical-dependent family
How to Know if Your Throat Chakra is Blocked
Someone with a throat chakra imbalance will have difficulties expressing their individuality. They may be timid in sharing ideas and opinions or feel as though everyone else’s ideas will be better.
Afraid to be ourselves, we might socially agree with viewpoints we don’t agree with internally. When we’re unable to express our true selves, our relationships can become shallow and surfacy.
Judith says that if we’re unable to express ourselves, we’re unable to be ourselves, and this discrepancy can cause spiritual unrest and affect our experiences in life.
“If the throat is blocked, so is the upward movement of energy, which cannot pass into the conscious mind. We have impulses without strategy, whim without will. We cannot get to our higher self. If instead we live up in our head with a throat chakra block, then we cannot speak what we know. We cannot translate knowledge into feeling or action, and therefore cannot manifest.”
If an individual’s self-expression is inhibited, they’re unable to genuinely portray themselves to the world. This hinders creativity, and one’s ability to share their individual gifts with the world. A person with a throat chakra imbalance will have difficulties expressing their ideas and insight with confidence. They may hold back out of fear of rejection, or think they have nothing to offer to the world that hasn’t already been thought of.
Here are a few more characteristics of a blocked throat chakra:
- Difficulty expressing feelings
- Introversion, shyness
- Inability to listen, interruptions
- Trouble standing up for oneself
- Being too dominant or, too passive in conversation
- Keeping ideas inside
Yoga Poses for the Throat Chakra
If any of the characteristics of a blocked throat chakra resonate with you, consider it a good thing! Now that you know, you can find ways to heal it. Writing in a journal is a great option; sometimes it’s easier to express ourselves in this way versus outward communication. With journaling, you can express yourself freely without fear of judgment and criticism. You may find that you gain confidence to express yourself verbally as you practice expression yourself in written word.
The throat chakra is associated with the color blue, so if you are into crystals or would like to give them a try, any blue-colored crystal is a great option here. Amazonite, turquoise, and blue apatite are just a few. For essential oils, try eucalyptus or frankincense.
You can also experiment with some spoken affirmations. Find some positive affirmation ideas online, or come up with your own, and repeat them out loud. Although it might feel weird at first, speaking these positive thoughts about yourself and the world can stimulate the flow of energy in your throat chakra quickly. Chanting is another way to stimulate energy; the mantra associated with the throat chakra is ham, pronounced like ‘hum’.
At Inspiring Actions, we recommend asana, or the physical postures of yoga, to help rebalance the throat chakra. Simple neck stretches can relax and soften this area, releasing energetic blockages. Asana will also help quiet the mind and bring clarity to our lives. Many people come to yoga because they become aware of that discrepancy between who they are, and who they’re meant to be. We want to help you find your true self and express yourself and your unique gifts and talents to the world.
At our studios in Hudson and River Falls, Wisconsin, as well as online, we offer so many options to find your inner calm and learn about yourself. It’s only by knowing ourselves and listening to our bodies that we can become our best selves. Check out our full list of classes here! We invite you to join us next week as we learn about the sixth chakra, our third eye chakra or anja.