Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Chakra Series - Yin Yoga for the Throat Chakra - Vishuddhi

The sanskrit name for the throat chakra is Vishuddha. “Visuddha/Visuddhi” is derived from the sanskrit word “shuddhi” which means to purify. The throat chakra is related to purification, communication and self-expression.

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Neck Release - PART 1 - No hands
 It is where we communicate our truth to the world.  Here we give our voice, music or sound and also hear what the world has to reply.  This chakra opens us to higher wisdom and is considered to be the center of dreams.

PART TWO - With Hands
The physical location of the chakra is at the throat.  The related organs are the laryngeal nerve plexus, vocal cords, mouth, throat, ears, thyroid and parathyroid glands.

Benefits: All the nerves connecting the different organs and limbs of the body pass through the neck. Therefore, the muscles of the neck and shoulders accumulate tension, especially after prolonged work at desk.  These asans release tension, heaviness and stiffness in the head, neck and shoulder region.

Contra-indications: These neck moves should not be performed by elderly people and those uffering from low blood pressure, high blood pressure, vertigo or extremem cervical spondylosis.  Expert advice should be sought for any of these problems.  Cervical spondylosis patients should strictly avoid forward bending of the neck.

Forward Bend Sitting on the heels
 According to Hindu tradition, this chakra is described as having a "white color" with sixteen "purple" or "smoke-colored petals". Within the symbol is a sky-blue downward pointing triangle containing a circular white region like the full moon. This represents the element of akashi or "aether".  Downward triangle is the sacred feminine or the yoni. The moon encompasses psychic energy, clairvoyance and communication without words
Benefits: Stretches and strengthens the back muscles and separated the individual vertebrae from each other, releasing pressures on the discs. Often nerve connections emantating from the spinal cord are squeezed by these discs, gicing rise to various forms of backaches.  It regulates the functioning of the adrenal glands, tones the pelvic meuscles and the sciatic nerves and is benefical for both the male and female reproductive organs.Regular practice relieves constipation.

Contraindications: Not be performed by people with very high blood pressure, slipped disc or those who suffer for vertigo.

Breathwork: Count down from 16 as a group

Thread the Needle - Twisting Child's Pose
The bija mantra (seed sound) is the syllable हं haṃ, and is written in white upon the chakra.

Benefits: Gently compresses the muscles of your upper chest. Opens the upper and outer muscles of your shoulder.. Detoxifies and calms your body with the slight twist. Sends fresh blood to your upper extremities.

Contraindications: Avoid if you have any serious shoulder or neck injuries. Anyone with back or hip conditions should take care not to overdo the twist

Symbolism: Turning to the archetypal meaning of the thread, it symbolizes the agent that links all states of being to one another. Threading a needle is the symbol of passing through the center, the target, the gateway.  Also mending something as opposed to throwing it out 

Breathwork: Inhaling and Exhaling Ham

Upward Plank
A ruling deity of the chakra is Sadashiva, who has 5 faces and 10 arms.   He holds a trident, chisel, sword, vajra, fire, a great snake, a bell, a goad, and a noose, and is makes the gesture of dispelling fear. He is clad in a tiger skin. The right half of his body is a white Shiva, and the left half of the body is a golden Shakti. Reminding us to blend the masculine and feminine within us.  Softness in strength and strength in softness. In yoga, flexibility and power together.

Benefits: Strengthens the shoulders, thighs and wrists, and tones the lumbar region of the spine and the Achilles tendons.

Symbolism: To see a wooden plank indicates something that is in need of repair or that you need to maximize your resources and make something out of seemingly nothing.

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Flapping Fish
The ruling goddess is Sakini Shakti who  represents mastery over the elements and the psychic realm. She is shining white, seated on a red lotus, and with five faces, three eyes each, and four-armed, with a bow and arrow, noose, and goad.
Benefits: Stretches the spine, shoulders, and hips. Massages the abdominal organs. Relieves lower backache, neck pain, and sciatica. Helps relieve stress. Improves digestion. Especially good in the second trimester of pregnancy for strengthening the lower back. Therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome

Visualization: Visualize a candle flame. Now visualize that flame  in your solar plexus down to your navel and up again through the trunk of your body.

Symbolism: A last burst of energy before you give up

The element associated with the chakra is ether which is represented in the full moon in the yantra. According to ancient and medieval science, aether (Greek: αἰθήρ aithēr), also spelled æther or ether, also called quintessence, is the material that fills the region of the universe above the terrestrial sphere.

Benefits: Improves and deepens breathing.  Helps remove backaches and keeps the spine supple.  Tones ovaries and uterus and helps with menstrual and other gynecological disorders.  Stimulates the appetite, alleviates constipation and is beneficial for the abdominal organs, especially the liver and the kidneys

Contra-indications: People suffering from peptic ulcer, hernia, intestinal tuberculosis or hyperthyroidism should not practice this asana with guidance.

Symbolismi: In India, both Hindus and Buddhists have special reverence for the cobra. Hindus believe in the immortality of the snake due to the shedding of its skin, and a snake eating its tail is a Hindu symbol of eternity. It also may represent the sacred feminine, protectiveness, intuitiveness, wisdom, strength, unpredictability, a defensive nature or even evil. 

Sphinx/Seal Pose
Meditation upon this chakra is said to bring about the following siddhis or occult powers: vision of the three periods, past, present and future; freedom from disease and old age; destruction of dangers; and the ability to move the three worlds
Benefits:  Deep compression and stimulation of sacral lumbar arch. Stimulates the door of lide. Tones the spine. In Seal stomache gets a great stretch.

Contra-indications: Bad back or tight sacrum problems. Pregnant use bolsters and don't put belly on floor

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Symbolism:Sphinx - Power, Watching Over. Seal - Being Comfortable in your own skin

In its most abstract form, the throat chakra is associated with higher discrimination, and is associated with creativity and self-expression.

Benefits: Deeply arches the sacral/lumbar spine and opens the top of the things.  Opens the ankles.  Stretches hip flexors and opens the shoulders.  Great for dropping shoulder or hunched backs

Contra-indications:  Those with weak backs should do gentle variation.  If you have neck issues don't drop the head back keep chin to chest.

Symbolism:Endurance.Transport. Protection. Survival. Conservation. Journeying. Stamina.

Cat Cow on Hands and Knees

Tiger Pose
Vishuddha is often associated with the thyroid gland in the human endocrine system. This gland is in the neck, and produces hormones essential for growth and maturation. Excessive stress, namely fear and fear from speaking out, affect the throat chakra and thyroid problems may occur.
Symbolism: The tiger puts a special emphasis on raw feelings and emotions. The tiger symbolizes primal instincts, unpredictability, and ability to trust yourself. By affinity with the tiger  , you may enjoy dealing with life matters spontaneously, trusting your intuition and acting fast when needed.

Lion w/ Lions Breath
Although this chakra is located in the neck and the throat it is also associated with hearing, it is also related to the ears, and due to its association with speaking, it is also associated with the mouth. 

Benefits: It relieves frustration and releases emotional tension.  Tension is removed from the chest and diaphragm.  Useful for people who stutter or who are nervous and introverted.  It develops a strong and a beautiful voice.

Symbolism: The symbolic meaning of lions primarily deals with strength. The lion brings a message of balance and sound judgment. The lion shares the world of both night and day, the lion bears a message of prudence to us. In other words, the lion asks us to not overdo in certain areas of our lives. Rather, keep an even mind and an overall balance in our life activities.

Breathwork: Lion's Breath

Knees-Chest and Chin
The success and failure in one's life depend upon the state of this chakra (whether it is polluted or clean).

Rabbit Pose
It is believed that when Vishuddha is closed, we undergo decay and death. When it is open, negative experiences are transformed into wisdom and learning. 

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Symbolism: Symbolic rabbit meanings deal primarily with abundance, comfort, and vulnerability. Traditionally, rabbits are associated with fertility, sentiment, desire, and procreation. Rabbit meanings are also closely linked to the seasons, the changes of Mother Earth, and specifically Springtime. 

Guilty feelings are the most prominent reason for this chakra to block the Kundalini energy moving upwards

Benefits:A traditional text that Matsyasana is the “destroyer of all diseases.Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas) and the muscles (intercostals) between the ribs. Stretches and stimulates the muscles of the belly and front of the neck. Stretches and stimulates the organs of the belly and throat. Strengthens the muscles of the upper back and back of the neck. Improves posture.  

Contra-indications: High or low blood pressure. Migraine. Insomnia. Serious lower-back or neck injury

Symbolism: Fertility. Eternity. Happiness. Knowledge. Transformation

Breathwork: Breathe green. With each inhale imagine your heart center—and possibly the rest of your body—filling up with a soft, green light and with every exhale feel your heart center purge pent-up negativity. Don’t be too forceful on your exhalations. Rather, focus more energy on your positive, “green” inhalation

Sleeping Thunderbolt 
Singing is a great way of stimulating the throat chakra in a beneficial and harmless way, whereas rubbing or hitting the throat area is not and can be harmful.
Benefits: Massages the abdominal organs, alleviates disgestive complaints and constipation. It tones the spinal nerves, makes the back more flexible and realigns rounded shoulders.

Contraindications: Should not be practiced by people suffering from neck problems, sciatica, slipped disc, sacral ailments or knee complaints,

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Symbolism: A thunderbolt or lightning bolt is a symbolic representation of lightning when accompanied by a loud thunderclap. In ancient Hellenic and Roman religious traditions, the thunderbolt represents Zeus or Jupiter (etymologically 'Sky Father'), thence the origin and ordaining pattern of the universe, as expressed in Heraclitus' fragment describing "the Thunderbolt that steers the course of all things".

1/2 Shoulderstand
The element of sound is an integral part of the throat chakra. Sound is a rhythmic vibration of air molecules as they are impacted by matter in movement. All sound is a vibration, and all things, living and nonliving, have a unique vibration. At this level, we do not see the world as individual things or their activities but as a complex interwoven net of energies with characteristic vibrational rhythms.

Benefits: Helps those with low blood pressure. Balances the nervous susrem, strengthens the neck muscles and brings a rich supply of blood to the brain.

Contra-indications: People with high blood pressure, heart conditions, ear inflammations, weak eyecapillaries, problems with thyroid or pituitary glands.

Supported Bridge

Communication is the activity and function of the fifth chakra. Here we have language, a complex pattern of sound and rhythm, through which we symbolize the physical world around us. Through symbol, we have a more efficient way of dealing with the world. I can describe my car, but I can’t bring it into the room with me. I can call New York without actually going there. Our minds work with symbols. We think in words, as well as image and sensory memory. The world of the upper chakras is symbolic of the world below.

Communication involves both listening and speaking. If one’s fifth chakra is closed down, then there is fear of expressing oneself, fear of speaking one’s truth, or excessive shyness. The voice itself is timid and the words are few. If the chakra is too open, we are so busy expressing that we forget to listen, or our voice is dissonant, and we are unable to enter into resonance with those around us.

Symbolism: In the tarot, the bridge card means progress, connections, and stability. Often people view bridges as the only way to reach a destination, and therefore bridges are a way to overcome obstacles. Bridges also represent transitions. “Crossing over” is a euphemism for taking that journey from life to death. 


Ideally, the fifth chakra should be connected to the self—to all the other chakras above and below—to visions of the mind and the feelings from body with equal ease. 
Chanting is an activity that increases the overall resonance of our being, allowing all our internal systems to enter into a rhythmic harmony. When chanting is practiced as a group activity, it enhances resonance and communication with the group as a whole.
Benefits: Stretches the pelivs, regulates the kidneys, acitvates the intenstines and removes excess weight.
Contra-indications; Not recommended for people who are infirmed, suffering from hernia, sciatica or slipped discs

Symbolism: Snails symbolize many deep and powerful things that most of us might not realize. These little crawlers are more in-depth than ever imagined. Keep in mind that not only are there land snails, but there are also sea snails so in this regard this species bridges the gap between elements. And any animal that bridges the gap between two elements bridges the gap between the mundane and the spiritual worlds.

Legs Up the Wall
The fifth chakra is also a center of creativity, another form of symbolic communication. As we open up this center, we open up our creative potential. The greater our resonance within, the greater the power within our creations.

Benefits; It reduces edema in the legs and feet.It relieves tired leg muscles.It gives you all the benefits of inversion, without the effort.It is super calming for the nervous system. It helps quiet the mind.

Breathwork: Ujjayi

SUPTA PAWANMUKTASANA - both sides and then both legs together
As children we sometimes receive the message "children should be seen and not heard.” This can be very detrimental to the growth and development of the throat chakra.

Here are a  number of core emotional, health and life survival issues related to the throat chakra:

Throat Cancer
Thyroid issues: metabolism challenges and weight issues
Parathyroid Challenges such as osteoporosis and osteopenia
Ear, Nose and Throat Issues (small children are notorious for having ear infections, runny noses and sore throats...perhaps it is because they are living in an adult world where they are not able to sufficiently express themselves)
Stiff neck and Shoulders
Speaking untruths, and creatively being deceitful without lying
Lack of Integrity
Becoming cunning
Frustration with inadequate communication
Shyness and lack of courage to speak your truth
Speaking too bluntly
Breathwork: Ujjayi
Final Spinal
When properly nurtured in our youth, and when surrounded by secure and balanced parents or caregivers, we learn to creatively express our desires and communicate with the world in harmonious and empowering ways.

In a balanced state, the fifth chakra will manifest as follows:

Ability to speak and voice the Truth
Being a good listener, and likewise, others will listen to you as an authoritative voice and a respected leader
The subtle ability to hear beneath the words, all of what is being spoken and unspoken.
Being an inspirational communicator and speaker

Breathwork:  Ujjayi


Breathwork: Quiet Breath


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