Learning to express yourself and your truth is what the fifth chakra is all about. Learning how to express your opinions, desires and beliefs is important and understanding how to balance the throat chakra is what can allow you to stop oversharing or to speak up.
Yoga is a powerful tool that can help to open this chakra, as many have this chakra closed, for fear of not wanting to speak up and share their truth and disrupting the peace.
But it’s your voice and your truth that could also help others speak theirs. By using your own voice you give yourself and others the permission to speak up too. It’s a powerful chakra!
Throat Chakra Basics
Location: The base of your neck where the V shape, the beginning of your collar bone sits
Element: Ether (space)
Meaning: The throat chakra is related to speaking your truth and using your voice. Emotions associated with this chakra include denial, abruptness and judgment.
Other names: Fifth chakra, vishuddha chakra
Translation: Very pure
How Does Yoga Help Balance the Throat Chakra?
Just like the heart chakra, poses that open the throat chakra often open many if not all of your other chakras. It’s through deep backbends and other, simpler poses that use the neck and allow it to move that help to balance the throat chakra.
For a part of the body that we use a lot, it’s not something that most take the time to take care of with simple stretches or movements. Yoga helps with this and gets stagnant energy out so that you can feel your voice getting stronger!
Throat Chakra Poses for Self-Expression
Get ready to speak your truth and get deep into some neck muscles that you most likely didn’t realize needed a good stretch with these vishuddha charka poses that will open your throat chakra in juicy ways.
Come into a seated position that is comfortable. This could be cross-legged sitting on your mat, blanket or a block. Or you can sit on your heels, your shins tucked under. Bring your hands to your knees or cupped in one another at your lower belly.
Inhale and sit up with a straight spine. Exhale, allow yourself to settle. Inhale one more time, exhale, allow your chin to come to your chest. Take a breath or two here to feel the stretch in the back on your neck. Inhale, roll your neck to your right slowly, stopping when your ear comes in line with your shoulder. Exhale, roll your neck so your left ear comes to your left shoulder.
Continue doing this slowly, allowing yourself to feel into the stiff parts of your neck, perhaps pausing where you feel tightness. Option to hold your head on either side by gently placing your hand on the top of your head. No need to pull, the weight of your hand is enough to give you an extra deep stretch into the side of your neck.
Cat and Cow Pose (Marjaryasana and Bitilasana)
Come down onto your mat on your hands and knees. Have your shoulders stacked directly over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Spread your fingers wide, your hands firmly on the mat, pointing towards the top of your mat. Option to have your toes tucked or untucked, this is just based on preference. On an inhale allow your belly to gently drop towards the ground as you arch your back and look up to the sky in cow.
Exhale, curl your spine as you push into your hands, dropping your head as you come into cat. Inhale, come back into cow. Feel your sit bones push back and out, you’ll feel this nicely in your hamstrings. Exhale, back into cat. Focus on the point between your shoulder blades and push that point up as you pull your belly button in.
Inhale back into cow. Without moving your hands feel them grip the mat in a pulling back sensation that will open your chest as it shines towards the front of the room. Exhale back into cat.
Repeat as many times as feels good and move with your breath. Slow down as much as you can and focus on the different sensations for each part of your spine as you warm it up. Don’t be afraid to play around either, allowing yourself and your spine to bend into whatever shapes feel good.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Come onto your knees with your arms by your sides. Separate your knees about shoulder-width apart. Option to have to your toes tucked for a less intense backbend or flat, the shoelace part of your foot on the ground for a more intense backbend. Bring your hands onto your lower back, your fingers just above your bum so that your fingers are facing down and your palms press into your lower back, like your about to slip your hands into the back pocket your jeans, only a bit higher.
Push into your feet as you inhale and lengthen your spine so that it’s straight, the crown of your head reaching towards the sky. Keep your shoulders away from your ears. On an exhale, slowly begin to bend your back, beginning to arch through your upper back first. Keep your glutes engaged as you do so and your hands pushing into your back for support. Shine your chest forward and up, arching through your entire back as you begin to look to the sky and then back.
Go as far as feels comfortable. If this means that your hands stay on your back, that’s fine. If you feel that you can go further then continue arching, allowing your hands to come to your heels. Option to tuck your toes here if your feet flat on the ground doesn’t feel accessible yet. Continue to use your glutes to push your hips forward, your chest is open towards the sky and if comfortable, allow your head to fall back so that you’re looking at the back of the room. If that is too much on your neck, continue looking up. Hold for 3-5 deep breaths.
To come out, be sure to place your hands back on your lower back to help support your spine coming out of this deep backbend.
Shoulder Stand Pose (Sarvangasana)
Begin by laying on your back on your mat with your legs out long and your hands by your sides. Take a deep inhale. Exhale push into your hands as you engage your abs and pull your legs up, lifting your back off of the ground as you do so, coming up onto your shoulders.
Bend your elbows so that you hands can come to support your back, bringing them as far up your back as is comfortable as you reach your toes towards the sky. Pull your elbows in close to your sides so that they are pointing to the top of your mat.
Engage your glutes to lengthen your spine and keep your legs reaching towards the sky in a straight line. Keep your neck in a straight line with your spine, avoid looking to either side. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
To come out safely, gently allow your legs to come over your head towards the back of your mat, placing your toes on the ground if possible for the full expression of plow pose. From here bend your knees so that they come by your ears. They may or may not touch the ground. Place your arms and hands back flat on your mat. Using your abs and arms for support slowly uncurl your spine, gently placing your spine back on the mat one vertebrae at a time until your back is in the position you started, lying flat on the mat. Take a few breaths before moving into any counter poses.
Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
A counter pose to shoulder stand, be sure to take a couple of breaths before continuing into fish. From laying on your back, bring your legs together. With your arms long and palms facing down, lift up either side of your bum and tuck each hand so it’s under a bum cheek.
Come up onto your elbows by bringing them under your back, allowing your chest to open to the sky as your shoulders come off of the ground. Allow your head to fall back, placing the crown of your head on the mat so that you’re looking towards the back of the room. Point your toes as you reach your legs towards the top of your mat. Take 3-5 deep breaths.
Variations: Fish can be intense for some, especially if your back is not feeling very bendy or your chest is tight. For a more relaxed version with all of the same benefits, take supported fish. Allow your legs to be long, placing them how ever far apart feels comfortable. Bring a block and place it on the lowest or middle level under your upper spine, just under your chest. The goal here it to open your chest so avoid having it too high on your spine. You can then let your head fall back to touch the mat or take another block and place it under the back of your head on whatever level is comfortable. Your head does not have to be lower than your chest but if it is it allows for a deeper neck stretch that opens your vishuddha chakra.
Yoga for Throat Chakra Sequence
Try adding these throat chakra poses into your next sequence and see how different your voice and confidence is!
Video coming soon!