Cat Got your Tongue?

One of my dearly beloved chakras for meditation is the oft overlooked throat chakra. She lies above the Earth-ier simple to understand trio of Kapha chakras, yet below the etheric mystical ones. Which asana would even open this energy center, let alone mudra and dristi? Read and find out. Consider the Vishudda as a cross over between Pitta and Vata dosha, both a creative and energetic center. Air flows in, oxygenating blood to power us. Food goes in for fueling. Words, thoughts and emotions erupt out. Songs vibrate, mantra emanates from the throat. Keep this chakra pure by not talkin’ smack, nor eating poorly.

How would I know if I even NEED to work on this energy center? This gland in the neck produces hormones essential for growth and maturation. Excessive stress, is known to stunt the growth of children. Emotional  OR physical stress. I mean not just a lack of food, but children raised in fear, who fear from speaking out, are said to  have occluded this chakra. As adults rounded shoulders, caved chests, an inability to make eye contact are all hallmarks of a weak throat chakra. Singing is a harmless and amusing way of stimulating the throat chakra, mantra may be more traditional. For many years as a young person I chanted the Lotus sutra while meditating. This focused practice helped me gain confidence.

Speech creates sound vibration and sound vibration allows me to resonate with others. Consider the power of singing with your church choir. The voices of the many sound as one. When my son was small I made up silly songs for him. What parent can resist? That’s healthy open throat chakra energy. What happened when I married husband number one? He, a professional musician shut down my amateur Soul Train. I was off-key. oops. wasn’t embarrassed to sing silly, but Bob was embarrassed to have a spouse devoid of talent. He specifically requested I cease. Desist. Stop. That effected our marriage more deeply than I expected.

God intends us to trip through life blissfully unaware of how others perceive us. We’re built for projection. In our natural state we assume what others think of us instantly, seamlessly, subconsciously. Through yoga the veil can be lifted to reveal unadulterated truth. This is not a practice for the faint of heart. Once burdened with other’s disapproval and disappointment regenerating freshness, innocence and originality, is challenging. After I quit singing I was less free, less animated, and generally more self-conscious. That ain’t good. Reader I left him. Beware of being too accommodating.

Women of my generation, (I’m in my 50s) were raised to be “nice.” In a pre-feminist society nice girls didn’t have opinions, didn’t make decisions, didn’t compete with the boys’ club. In the 70s a man who offered his opinion was  “authoritative”, and a woman? She was a bitch. A man who made decisions was “confident.” And a woman? She was a shrew, a ball-buster, or a nag. A competitive man was a game-changer. A competitive woman was pathetic. A tom-boy or a dyke but never an athlete. Hey, I don’t make the rules, I just make wry observations of the human condition. Woman older than me first made note of these terrific disparities in perception. Aren’t we lucky times change?

Ok Kumari, you say, but You Yogi Lady never met my sadistic boss. (It may surprise you that maybe I have.) Sometimes it’s politic to stay silent and sometimes it’s not. When my throat chakra is clear I sense the difference, intuitively. Remaining mute won’t feel like I am “stuffing it.” I will chose to remain silent. Comfortable in my choice. Don’t feel compelled to speak up. Silence can be golden. You should never “always” have to do anything. Beware of rules. In speechlessness meditation can be found, awareness and sensitivity. The fourth part of “Om” is silence. Let there be pauses in your mantra.

Awareness creates an opening for fine subtle feelings. When a yoga class is opened with the sound of three om I feel a shiver of excitement about starting; bonded with the others present. A shared experience is about to begin. Om is all that and more. Essentially om is the seed sound of the universe. Don’t chant mindlessly like empty chatter. Chant mindlessly like a monk. Give om the same respect you would the sound of rain dropping or the wind blowing through the pines. Consider how ancient is this sound, om. How many people have said it since the beginning?

Another way to connect with the throat chakra is through asana. Brahmanasana, Camel pose or Ustrasana, Bhujanasana. Even the Sanskrit name sounds like a work out for your throat: oooooooo-straw-sana! Kundalini stretch pose, or a tightly contracted Apanasana work the neck in another direction. Full range of motion for the neck is wonderful to preserve. A stiff neck is limiting, can cause headaches, can diminish peripheral vision. The edges of our sight enable us to see movement before we can rightly make out substances. An open throat chakra keeps me alert. A closed one catches me off guard. An overly stimulated throat chakra may be at the root of drama addicts, enabling behaviors and co-dependency.

What about mudra? The above pictured mudra is associated with the throat chakra. Cross your fingers on the inside of your hands, without the thumbs. Let the thumbs touch at the tops, and pull them slightly up. It’s like you’re making a nice open circle with your hands like an open throat. Make your dristi for the Throat chakra the base of your throat. Use mudra to seal poses, meditation or asana. Think of them as hand gestures for yourself. Through this Chakra, one can realize truth and knowledge; honesty, kindness and wisdom and how these elements can be conveyed through non-violent communication. Through this chakra flows the power to hurt, spew cruelties, and abuse. Energy is like that.

In addition to mudra, manta, dristi and asana what can I do to enhance my throat chakra? Incorporate the first two limbs of yoga: yama and niyama. The five yama are Ahimsa (not-harming), Satyam (truthfulness), Asteya (not stealing), Brahmacharya (celibacy), Aparigraha (renunciation). In relation to throat chakra specifically no talk stink. No lie. No take. No act. No nothing. Niyama? Shauch (cleanliness), Santosh (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Swadhyaya (self-study), and Ishwar-Pranidhana (divine contemplation.) Specific to the chakra? Don’t put junk: drugs, smoke or polluted food down your throat.  Speak when necessary. Don’t let the cat get your tongue! Resonate with capital “N” Nature.

How do I know when my throat chakra is spinning freely? Some results appear occult. Lucid dreaming occurs spontaneously. Intuiting what another is about to say. Knowing who is on the other end of the phone before it rings. Hearing a song you were just thinking about. Smelling more acutely faint aromas and odors. Noticing detail. None of this is frightening or particularly interesting when one is well grounded. These are merely natural results; the eyes ears and throat are closely connected. Have fun with your new-found powers.

Y’all play nice!

Sat Nam