Vissudha can be translated as “purification” and lords over the neck, shoulders, throat and voice. This is the chakra of communication, creativity and refinement of purpose and thoughts. To be balanced in this chakra is to have a clear and resonant voice, the ability to listen well and live a life of creativity. To live creatively does not necessarily mean to be involved in a visual or otherwise technical art form as profession or in your leisure time, but rather to live creatively is to understand that you make each moment as you live it. It is an understanding of karma in your life but also of dharma, or the underlying truth of your being as having a purpose. Dharma is like the warp and weft of our life fabric; it connects us all through our highest purpose, our dharmas all interconnect and create a strong backing against which reality and the actions of our fellow beings are played out via cause and effect (karma). In the end, when all the drama and secondary emotions like anger, jealousy, greed and resentment are stripped away everyone’s dharma is Truth, peace and love. The manifestation of this truth is your choice.
Perhaps most damaging to this chakra are lies and the secrets we hold of pain and suffering. This damage may be blatant and look like a childhood spent in an alcoholic home or it may be tied more to expectations and subtle but pervasive criticism. Truth may not have been safe to share in a home full of secrets. This chakra asks us to examine how it feels to “swallow your truth” or to be the victim of a “razor tongue”. How can we understand purification if we are coming from a muddy story of mixed messages and fear?
Imbalances in this chakra may look like compensation. Talking too much, speaking out of turn, interrupting, having a voice that is too loud or dominating, gossiping, and the inability to be an active listener are all indicate a hyperactive or excessive 5th chakra. As this is the purification center of the chakra system, imbalance could also manifest as toxicity of the body. Skin issues, a strongly coated tongue, swollen lymph nodes around the throat and skull and halitosis may also be present.
Issues of the 5th chakra may also present in an avoidant/deficient fashion. Having too soft a voice to be understood, fear of speaking, inability to speak about feelings or express yourself in words, poor auditory recognition, poor rhythm or being tone deaf are all manifestations of an imbalance. There may have been a time in your life when being heard was not safe, and to blend in and fade away was the best defense against danger. It then becomes the work of the 5th chakra to heal that perception so that you may fully step into your truth and the power to speak it.
While in your asana practice bring awareness to your jaw and neck. See if you can consciously relax the tension of your jaw and soften your shoulders away from your ears. Seated neck rolls, supported shoulder stand, plow pose, standing forward folds and self-massage of your occipital ridge on the edge of a block or large book are all helpful to add to your asana practice.
To heal and clean this chakra we must make sound. General toning, singing, om-ing, storytelling and learning compassionate communication skills are all beneficial for both avoidant and excessive manifestations of imbalance.
The four steps or components of Compassionate Communication or Non Violent Communication (NVC) as developed by Marshall Rosenberg are:
These are concrete actions we have observed in a specific time and context. Try to keep your evaluation of these observations out of this as it will come across as scolding or judgmental.
Ex: “I notice that when I came home your dishes were dirty in the sink.”
How do you feel in relation to what you observe? You are responsible for your feelings, so own them. Do not place that responsibility on the other party or defer and say it does not matter.
Ex: “I feel angry/upset when I left the sink and dishes clean and come home to find them dirty.”
General and universal needs and values that create the afore mentioned feelings.
Ex: “I have a need to have clean dishes because I am eating at home.”
Action that would enhance your wellbeing, with the understanding that the answer may be “no” in which case you would empathize with the other person and further investigate what is keeping them from saying yes.
Ex: “I request that if you dirty dishes that you clean them promptly or let me know that they need to soak.”
The seed sound of the 5th chakra is Ham with a long “a” as in father. Lay comfortably on the earth supported by a bolster and let your hands rest comfortably on your chest, your belly or the earth. Take a full inhale and chant Ham repeatedly to yourself for as long as your exhale lasts. If you are trying to develop your sense of timing you could also chant to the beat of a metronome.
To clear out tension or too much verve in chakra 5 you can tone “Eeee” as in Deep. Either laying or sitting on the earth experiment with different tones and pitches as you take your full exhale to chant “Eeee”. Be loud, be soft, or be somewhere in the middle but as you tone see what comes up for you; do you not want to be heard? What would happen if you were?
Gandhi said that the ways of truth and love have always won. Be compassionate and kind as you boldly speak your truth. Shine on.Ben, Chakra, healing, Hilly