By Yoga Journal
Open your visuddha chakra by creating spaciousness around the throat and neck through which profound spiritual truths can flow.
One of the easiest ways to connect with the visuddha energy is to chant. Take a comfortable seat. Softly close your eyes and lips. Relax your face and jaw. Begin to make the sound "mmmmmmmm" at whatever resonant tone is natural for you. Feel the vibration all around the tongue, lips, cheeks, jaw, ears, and throat. Imagine this sound vibrating loose any tension in the throat neck and jaw region. Letting go of the times you have had to bite your tongue or have had a lump in your throat from the fear of speaking up. Feel the vibration purifying and freeing you rvisshudha energy.
Set Your Visuddha Intention
Now set your intention for this practice. To grease the wheels, here are some themes that relate to the fifth chakra: communicating clearly, honestly, and with compassion; releasing fear of speaking up for yourself or for others; being a good listener; learning not to overtalk or dominate conversations; refraining from gossip. Feel free to use any of these or choose your own. As long as your intention feels true for you it has value.
From a comfortable seated position, extend your spine long and root down into your foundation. Reach your right arm out to the right. Gently begin to release your head and let it hang to the right. Drag your right shoulder and shoulder blade down to create a stable foundation. Now extend your left arm out about 6 inches above the floor and reach out and down to create some traction and a big stretch on the left side of the neck. Spend 5-10 breaths here. Be patient. It takes time for the blood to move through and heal tight and stiff muscle tissue, so try to hold for as long as you can without pain. Make sure your breath is deep and slow and your eyes and jaw remain relaxed. Gently return to center, pause for a moment, and notice the difference, then switch sides.
In cross-legged seated position, bring your hands to your knees for leverage. As you inhale, arch your spine forward and gaze up, creating a backbend shape in the spine in a seated variation of Cow Pose (Bitliasana). As you exhale, pull the navel back toward the spine, hollowing front body in a seated variation of Cat Pose (Marjaryasana). As you inhale, head and tail move back and as you exhale, head and tail curl forward and in. This is a complete undulation of the spine that creates a compression and release action in the throat. Go slowly and let each movement span an entire inhalation or exhalation. Find a rhythm that feels good -- fluid but not fast. Continue for 5-10 rounds.
From Downward-Facing Dog, step your right foot forward and rise up into a High Lunge. The right knee is bent at a right angle and the left leg is reaching long and straight behind you. Reach your arms behind you and interlace the fingers. Move your pelvic bones down, as the heart rises up and opens. Lift your low belly and widen your collarbones. Gaze upward without jamming your neck and feel for the spacious of the rising heart energy. Spend 5 breaths here and then vinyasa through to the other side or transition through Down Dog.
Continue the Throat Chakra Tune Up by practicing the full sequence.
About Stephanie Snyder
Stephanie Snyder is a San Francisco-based vinyasa yoga teacher. She's written, modeled, and created DVDs for Yoga Journal in addition to presenting at Yoga Journal LIVE!