by Monique Minahan
The birds are chirping even though it’s still dark. This kind of silence – the kind that isn’t devoid of noise but rather full of presence – is the backdrop for my practice today.
Physically located at the level of the throat, vishuddi chakra represents a gateway between body and mind, through which the energy of this chakra can be suppressed or expressed. As an energetic center for communication, creativity, and expression, this chakra is not just about speaking. It’s also about feeling heard.
Instead of beginning with the beeja mantra ham, I explore the concept of toning, where body and breath invite a sound vibration to form, whatever that sound may be. The tones I create symbolize speaking my truth, as opposed to regurgitating truths I’ve been taught by others.
I begin on my exhale breath with a guttural groan. As I refrain from judging or perfecting it, I watch it transition through numerous auditory forms, eventually settling on a cathedral-like ahhhhh.
From the seat of an observer I acknowledge the things I have heard in my lifetime: from my inner dialogue, my conversations with others and what I’ve been taught to be true by people in authority.
And I sense the times I’ve refrained from speaking my truth over the years, whether out of fear of being punished, disapproved of or not understood.
With the intention of freeing my voice both physically and energetically, I begin ujjayi pranayam. I place a finger at the front of my throat, the glottis, and visualize the breath entering there, at the front-body location of vishuddi chakra, known as the chakra kshetram. I place another finger on my cervical spine at the back of my neck, visualizing the breath exiting through the spine, the back-body location of vishuddi chakra. Then I reverse the cycle so it begins at the back of the neck and travels forward. This practice focuses my awareness, breath and entire being on the physical and energetic center of vishuddi.
Vishuddi is often translated as “purification,” but I think of it more as refinement. As a pause between body and mind where I begin to distinguish the chatter of my unconscious mind from a higher level of knowledge. An energetic space where I can observe the way things have been and choose to create a new song for my life.
I sit a little longer listening to the sound of my breath. Before opening my eyes I speak out loud my vision of how my voice contributes to the chorus of life. I hear that truth with my ears and I seal it by bowing my head to my heart.
Part 6 of a 7 part series. You can find part 5 here: Anahata, The Heart.
Mo is a writer and yoga teacher who believes in peace over happiness and love over fear. She likes to set her sights high and then take small steps to get there. You’ll find her walking the dirt path behind her house with her little fluffy dog, practicing walking her talk by keeping her head high and her heart open. Contact: moniqueminahan.com