Visuddha, or the throat chakra, is the fifth of seven main chakras that run down the centerline of the human body. It’s associated with self-expression, communication of the truth, creative thinking, and effective listening. Individuals with a healthy and toned throat chakra can speak their desires into being and benefit from a profound source of creativity. A balanced throat chakra also gives them the ability to listen deeply to other people — a true superpower because knowing that others hear you is a universal human need.
Read on to learn about the importance of maintaining a healthy throat chakra as well as five yoga poses to help you strengthen yours.
About the Throat Chakra
An underactive throat chakra can negatively affect a person’s self-expression, which directly influences their interpersonal relationships and ability to live a fulfilling life. Key symptoms associated with an underactive or blocked throat chakra include:
- Fear of Speaking
- Low Creativity
- Social Anxiety
- Frequent Sore Throats
- Dental Problems or Mouth Ulcers
Yet, an overactive throat chakra also has repercussions. Some common symptoms of this condition include:
- Overly Critical Behavior
- Talking Over Others/Not Listening
- Arrogance and Rudeness
- Ear Aches
- Neck Pain
The process of balancing the throat chakra requires a proper diet with plenty of nutritious, lubricating liquids like juicy fruits, warm soups, and sauces. Other ways to heal the throat chakra include vocalizing — singing, humming, and chanting (e.g., the “Ham” mantra) — or generally developing a practice of speaking your truth by saying what you need and desire. Writing all of this down in a journal provides an effective way to practice speaking your truth. Breathwork as well as the conscious and intentional relaxation of the throat, neck, and jaw can also prove beneficial to the throat chakra.
Here are five yoga poses known for their power in healing and balancing the throat chakra:
1. Neck and Head Rolls
- Start in a comfortable seated position with your hands resting on your knees.
- Drop your chin down to your chest and rest here, feeling a stretch in the back of your neck as you take several warming, energizing breaths through your throat.
- Maintain your downward gaze and make half circles from the centerline of your body to the right, drawing your chin toward your right shoulder, and then roll back through your centerline and over toward your left shoulder.
- When your neck feels warmed up, make four or five full neck circles in one direction before changing directions to balance out both sides.
2. Lion’s Breath (Simhasana Pranayama)
- Sit on your heels with your knees either together or opened wide.
- Inhale deeply and raise your hands straight up.
- Exhale and drag your hands down through the air as you open your mouth, extend your tongue, and open your eyes wide.
- Make an audible sound from deep within your throat as you complete this step.
- Repeat this step three or four times. (If you cough or notice you have a dry throat, that’s okay. Continue the exercise and try to breathe even deeper.)
3. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
- Start by sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.
- Bend your left knee, bringing your left calf to the back of your left thigh and tuck your left foot close to your groin or under your buttocks. (The outer edge of your left foot should stay on the mat.)
- Cross your right leg over your left leg, bringing the sole of your right foot to the floor beside the outside of your left thigh.
- Point your right foot and left knee forward with your right knee pointing straight up and pulled in close to your chest.
- Inhale and lift your left arm upward. As you exhale, thread your left arm across your body between your right thigh and chest.
- Bend your left arm at 90 degrees and press the back of it into your right thigh.
- Swing your right arm behind you and place your palm (or tented fingers) on the mat close to your buttocks/lower back.
- Inhale to lengthen your spine upward and then exhale to come into a twist that originates in your lower back.
- Sit here for several full breaths, allowing your spine to open and twist deeper every few breaths.
- On the fifth or sixth breath, turn your head to look behind you as you twist in your throat and engage the Visuddha chakra.
- Hold here for another two or three full breaths.
4. Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)
- Lie on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you and your arms by your sides.
- Draw your knees toward your chest and use your abdominal muscles to peel your hips off the floor. (You also can use your hands to help you.)
- Bend your elbows to help support your body weight in your hands, and then walk your hands up your back as you bring your legs and hips perpendicular to the floor.
- When you can bear your weight in your triceps and the back of your head — with the soles of your feet reaching straight up — you’ll achieve the full pose.
- Make sure you don’t bear any weight in the back of your neck.
- Keep your gaze straight up at your feet and don’t turn your head side to side.
- Hold this pose for at least five full breaths and up to two minutes as you focus on the breath flowing through your throat, imagining healing energy pooling in your Visuddha chakra.
- Come down by sliding your hands away from your back and rolling your spine down one vertebra at a time.
5. Plow Pose (Halasana)
- Begin in a shoulder stand (see above).
- Bend at the hips and lower your legs toward your face. (Keep your legs straight as you do this, if that’s available to you.)
- Reach your flexed toes toward the floor. (If you can’t touch the floor, practice this pose in front of a wall so the soles of your feet reach the wall.)
- Press your toes into the floor (or the soles of your feet into the wall) and extend through the backs of your legs.
- Feel the deep stretch in the back of your body as well as a continued, concentrated flow of energy through your throat.
- Come out of this pose by rolling your spine down one vertebra at a time until you can lie flat on your back.
- Rest on your back, using your breath to relieve any tension.