Also known as Vishuddha Chakra, the Throat Chakra is situated at the base of the throat and operates through verbal communication and our ability to speak our truth meaning that, if blocked, it can be difficult to find the words to communicate and express how we are feeling.
In order to open the lines of communication without fear of judgement or criticism by others, Vishuddha Chakra needs to be balanced. Learn more about the chakras here and read on for some yoga poses to help with balancing the throat chakra.
Beginner - Baby Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Lying on your stomach with your feet extended, press the tops of your feet against the mat, place your palms on the floor beside your chest and line up the fingertips with your shoulders.
Drawing your elbows towards your ribs, press your hands firmly into the floor and draw your chest forwards and upwards into a gentle back bend.
Feel the abdominal muscles engage against the floor as you lengthen the tailbone towards the feet, pressing the pubic bone into the mat.
Broaden across the collarbones, drawing the shoulder blades downwards and lifting the base of the skull away from your shoulders to create space in the front of the chest and throat area.
Intermediate/Advanced - Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Kneel on your mat with your legs hip distance apart and the hips directly over your knees. Press your shins and the tops of your feet into the floor.
Place the heels of your hands on your lower back, fingertips pointing downwards.Encourage your shoulders and upper arm-bones back and inhale to lift your chest.
Slowly, begin to lengthen through the spine and lean the torso back, keeping the hips above the knees. From here, extend your right hand back and place it on your right heel.
Do the same with the left hand making sure that your hips are still above the knees, press your thighs forward. If it is difficult to reach the heels, turn your toes under to close the gap!
If not too much of a strain, lengthen through the back of the neck and gently drop the head back. Stay here for a couple of breaths and then bringing your hands to your hips and leading with the chest, lift your torso to an upright position.
Intermediate/Advanced – Supported Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
Begin by lying flat on your back with arms by your sides, palms down and legs extended. Bend your knees, placing the soles of the feet on the floor.
On an inhalation, begin to engage the core, using the abdominal muscles to raise the hips slowly, tucking your knees in towards your chest and gradually lifting your hips, lower back and middle back off the floor.
Bending your elbows and inching them towards each other so that they are shoulder width apart, place both hands on the lower back for support and slowly begin to lift the thighs and gradually straighten the legs pressing the balls of the feet towards the ceiling.
Work towards stacking the feet and hips over the shoulders in one long line. Keep the gaze towards the chest as you press the shoulder blades into the upper back keeping the throat open with space between the chin and chest.
Hold for a couple of breaths before either moving into Plow Pose (see next) or slowly releasing the hands to the floor by your sides, palms down, rolling the upper back, middle back, lower back to the mat, bending the knees and releasing the feet to the floor.
Intermediate/Advanced - Plow Pose (Halasana)
This pose is generally practiced as a follow up from shoulder stand. Follow the above steps for shoulder stand and then, when the breath is steady and you feel you have released any tension in the head, neck and shoulders, slowly release one leg behind your head.
If this feels comfortable, release the other leg behind your head. If the hamstrings or your back feels tight, keep the knees bent and place them next to your ears. Otherwise, straighten the knees and touch the toes to the ground behind your head.
From here, you can interlace the fingers and manoeuvre the shoulder blades closer together keeping stillness in the head and neck. Work on creating length in the spine by encouraging your hips over your shoulders.
Stay here for a couple of breaths releasing any tension you might be holding on to and then bend the knees (if legs are straight) and gradually uncurl the spine the rest the hips on the mat and hug your knees for a couple of breaths.
Intermediate/Advanced - Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
Sit on the floor with the legs fully extended, placing your hands on the floor behind you, fingertips just under the buttocks. Create a diamond shape by bringing the thumbs and index fingers of each hand to touch.
Slowly begin to allow the head to extend and lower back while moving the elbows out of the way. Maintaining control, allow the crown of the head to rest on the mat.
Eventually, lay your arms by your side. Allow the neck and shoulders to release as the throat and heart begin to open
Be mindful as you practice these poses to work within your abilities and range of movement. These poses should not be practiced if you are suffering from glaucoma, diarrhoea, high blood pressure, neck pain or headaches.
It’s also best to avoid inversions such as shoulder stand while menstruating or during and just after pregnancy.
If you have any medical concerns, be sure to speak to your doctor before practicing yoga.