Vishuddha or our throat chakra, is our fifth chakra and has the role of purifying awareness and giving us that sense of inner clarity. On a day to day basis, it is that piece of us that learns from our experiences rather than going on to make the same mistake over and over. This especially applies to our negative experiences and if we learn to approach them as something we can learn from, we are exercising our Vishuddha chakra.
Our throat chakra is responsible for speech, communication and self expression. When we are able to speak the truth and express ourselves clearly, our throat chakra is balanced. Its position lies between our Ajna (third eye) chakra and our Heart Chakra and it is the link between that which we perceive (third eye), expressed in a truthful manner (throat chakra) and which in turn affects our Heart chakra. When we act in this manner, we maintain a clear energy between these three chakras and we are able to express our thoughts, our feelings and emotions.
In addition to speech, Vishuddha is also the chakra of listening and sound. Again, we see the connection to our Heart chakra in that when we hear sounds, like a sad song, it can affect us emotionally. Sounds can help raise our energy and bring us closer to a state of understanding, thus connecting us to the third eye chakra. Sound of course, is related to all our chakras with each having a particular frequency.
The symbol for Vishuddha is a sky blue flower with 16 petals and its element is ether. The ether is associated with a sense of clarity and purity and it is through ether that sound is transmitted in chakra/yoga philosophy. Within the flower is a circle which represents a place of emptiness and if we are to travel further along the chakra system, we need to understand this emptiness and all that it entails. In this way, we come to understand ‘purity’ and in Sanskrit, this is the meaning of Vishuddha.
The mantra for the Throat chakra is HAM. A white elephant, the mount of Indra, represents this chakra and Indra is the most powerful of the Vedic gods. Sakina and Sadahiva, two other Hindu dieties are also commonly ascribed to Vishuddha. Mercury is its planet and the gemstones topaz and aquamarine are used in conjunction with this chakra. Peppermint, sage, eucalyptus and cloves are also associated with the Throat chakra.
When we hear someone speak with a strong, clear voice, their Throat chakra is strong. Conversely, someone with a weak voice can work on the Thoat chakra to help balance its energy. Problems in the this chakra also tend to lead to difficulty in speaking, such as stammering or ailments along the jaw or teeth, tonsillities, stiffness in the neck and shoulders.
If the energy in our Throat chakra is overactive, we can become dogmatic, engage in excessive gossip and display a lack of listening skills. We may begin lying and using our hands in an overly expressive manner.
Connected to the Thyroid gland which is in the neck, an unbalanced Throat chakra can give rise to an overactive or underactive Thyroid. Extreme stress or fear can affect our ability to speak and this in turn can affect our Throat chakra and thyroid gland.
If you want to treat the Throat chakra, a good place to start is with the plants listed above – take peppermint or sage tea or use eucalyptus aroma. A massage using oils from these plants is also beneficial, especially if concentrated in the shoulders and neck area.
Yoga poses beneficial to Vishuddha are the Lion pose (Simhasana), Crescent Moon pose (Anjaneyasana) and practicising Jalandhara Bandha (the Chin Lock).