Words unsaid, and tears unshed: these block the throat chakra. Truth denied, words unheard and isolation can make this condition worse. The throat chakra, the fifth of the seven chakras, or energy wheels, are the topic of today’s discussion.
There are over 100 chakras identified in ancient texts.
The chakras, first discussed in the Vedas, specifically in the texts of the Upanishads, were not originally aligned with the Eight Limb path of Raja Yoga; the yoga most commonly practiced here in the west. They became popular again as part of the New Age practices. The seven chakras I refer to are only a fraction of the more than 100 chakras in the ancient texts. This discussion is only a fraction of a full understanding of the chakras and their wealth of meaning. I combine recovery with aspects of the chakras as this makes them alive and useful for me.
The throat chakra is the first of the more ethereal, universal, spiritual chakras: the gateway to universal connection. This is the seat of listening and speaking, the distiller of the truth both spoken and heard. Our right to be seen and heard is a gift; the challenge is lying (to self and others.) Light blue is the color associated with the throat chakra and its associated energy as vibration.
An Inability to Express Self
In early recovery a face saving lie was always the first to spring from my mouth; often I had no idea what the “true truth” was; I imagined what would make you happy, make you like me, avoid trouble or disappointment. This lack of ability to express myself freely also impacted my ability to create, to express myself in many ways. Self criticism blocked me from trying anything new, from trying new recipes to writing my fourth step. Perfection and the opinion of others stopped me in my tracks.
I remember even as a kid having such an intense sore throat from swallowing my feelings, holding back my tears, choking on my unexpressed need to be heard. I was also denying my personality, my uniqueness, that special something that is ME. First I didn’t know me. Later I thought I saw myself and found myself completely lacking.
In my zeal to be agreeable; to be part of; to make you like me, I would also interrupt what you were saying to agree with you. I would talk over your related experiences to recall one of my own so that I would “prove” what we had in common, or in someway override your expression to assert my own. I didn’t engage in these behaviors because I was full of myself, but because I had not yet learned to listen. My desire to “be like you” overwhelmed my ability to really listen to who YOU ARE, and let that land in a pause before going on.
Learning to Listen
Both were signs of out of balance throat chakra. I can’t express myself; I can’t listen. Luckily through practice and time, and the steps (many times) I have been able to listen to MYSELF and hear what I need, give myself permission to be me and then to express myself with more compassion, wisdom and skill. I can also stop talking and listen with more compassion, wisdom and skill.
What are some questions I can ask myself to see what condition my throat chakra is in?
- Am I committed to my word?
- How transparent are my motives?
- Do I struggle to verbalize my thoughts?
- When trying to share my opinions, do I feel nervous, or…
- Do I tend to aggressively push my opinions onto others?
- Do I use my words to hurt others, or to try to empower them?
- Is miscommunication a common problem in my relationships?
- Is there agreement between my thoughts, words and actions?
- Do I keep a lot of secrets from others, for fear of not being accepted?
- Do I live my “truth”?
- What unfinished communication might be creating obstacles in my life?
These are a lot of questions as the power of this chakra is both subtle and nuanced. It has the aspect of looking into self talk / self listening and the way we speak and talk to others. The steps of ACA and other twelve step programs work beautifully in unearthing the lifelong habits / samskara that have influenced the out of balance condition of this chakra.
How can we support ourselves in finding balance?
Affirmations such as:
- I can give voice to my emotions, difficult and pleasant.
- I honor my voice and let myself be heard.
- My contributions are honest and deserve to be expressed.
- I am an empathetic listener.
- I consider my motivations before I speak.
Yoga postures, including:
- Forward bends
- Simple inversions
- Head, neck and shoulder releases and strengthening
Breath practice that involves soft vocalizations.
Mantras—like affirmations, they focus the intentions with stimulating the throat.
Using color, scent, and sound healing.
There is a lot to study and discover about all the chakras: this is just a light overview. We all have one or more chakras out of balance at any given time. It is the human condition. It is when one of the wheels really begins to “squeak” that our attention is drawn to it. Be kind as you explore. This is but another tool is our toolbox to support us in long term recovery.