Practicing yoga and meditation can help us to become more aware of the connections between our body, our mind, and our emotions. This awareness is amplified when we combine asana with meditation, affirmations, conscious breathwork, Polarity (and other energy exercises), attention to the chakras, and aromatherapy with essential oils. Integrating practices serves to restore balance. This is especially true when we pay attention to the throat chakra — the fifth energetic center which influences our ability to speak our truth.
The chakra system is a map of the subtle and energetic body, revealing where and how the physical body intersects with the subtle body. (The subtle body includes our mind, our emotions, and our energetic experience.)
The Sanskrit word “chakra” is often described as a “wheel of energy.” Each chakra is a center of energetic activity that generates, assimilates, and expresses life-force energy, or prana. The chakras also represent the evolution of the human psyche and our emotional and spiritual development.
Adding essential oils to asana and energy exercises adds multiple dimensions to our practice. Therapeutic-grade pure essential oils stimulate the transmission of important information to the brain and affect physiological functions. Smell bypasses our cerebral cortex or thinking areas of the brain.
At the same time, oils connect us to our feelings and psyche through direct access to the limbic system. The limbic system is comprised of the regions of our brain that store emotional memory and rule our survival instincts and flight, fright, or freeze actions.
The Seven Chakras
Each one of the chakras is connected to the others.
The first five chakras are connected to the five elements. The sixth and seventh chakras are beyond the elements.
- Earth – security and survival
- Water – connection and relationship, procreation
- Fire – action, transformation
- Air – mental activity, compassion
- Ether (space) – purification, connection to source, speech
- Personal Spiritual Essence
- Universal Spiritual Essence
The Fifth Chakra, the Throat Chakra
The Sanskrit name of the throat chakra is Vishuddha, often translated as ‘purification.’ It is the place of our connection to source. Our connection to source is our connection to truth. Speaking our truth and keeping our word maintains our purity.
Ether — or empty space — is the element related to the throat chakra. We need space in our lives to experience the quiet necessary to tune into ourselves, to experience equanimity and, most importantly, to recognize and speak our truth.
The throat chakra is the center of communication and sound. It is the energy center that aids us in expression through speaking, chanting, toning and singing.
Unfortunately, we often repress feelings like grief and may even compromise authentic expression for fear of showing vulnerability. When we fail to speak up or don’t speak our truth, energetic correlations may lead to a sore throat, a sore neck, or even losing our voice.
The throat chakra is linked to the thyroid. In our endocrine system, the thyroid is one of the master controllers of our metabolism. This chakra also relates to our sense of hearing, the feeling of spaciousness in our lives, and our connection to spirit or source energy.
Connecting with Throat Chakra Energy through Practice
At its essence, yoga means to connect. Through yoga and meditation we can literally move and breathe awareness and connection into being; in our bodies, our minds and our emotions.
Think of a time you felt a lump in your throat. The sensation of restriction, closing off and shutting down, choked by emotions and words repressed and unsaid. Or the experience of your throat hot and raw, burning with raspiness, your voice worn down and ragged around the edges or all together lost, your neck tight with tension holding the burdens of what has become, for most, an increasingly frenzied and fast-paced modern lifestyle.
Now think of time you have been on your mat moving through your practice and are met with an emotion that seems to come out of out of nowhere. Sadness. Grief. Gratitude. Anger. Clarity.
This is what happens when our practice unbinds the bound. This is what happens when you have perspective and awareness around the connections between your mind, body, and emotions.
Perhaps you have studied the work of the late metaphysical teacher and author Louise Hay who among many books wrote, Heal Your Body, Heal Your Life.
She correlates each body part or system to specific emotions and thoughts and offers suggestions on how to communicate to those parts of ourselves so we can release the correlating emotions and thought patterns and ultimately heal ourselves.
Expanding further on this idea of the evident connections between mind, body and emotions, we gain an even richer and more vibrant picture of our inner landscapes when utilizing the elements, as seen in Nature, and their relationship to the chakras.
Essential Oils that Influence the Throat Chakra
Frankincense: sweet, woody; connects heaven and earth
Lavender: cleansing light floral; calming and relaxing
Peppermint: clearing and stimulating; can ease sore and tense muscles
Idaho Blue Spruce: woody; cultivates a sense of emotional clearing and fosters the ability to let go
Integrating Practice and the Throat Chakra
Practices to build resilience and internal resources related to connecting to and speaking your own truth for optimal well-being.
Using Oils in a Pose
Put a drop of one of the essential oils listed above in your left palm, slowly rub your hands together, evenly distributing the oil on your palms and inhale the scent deeply for at least three long and deep breaths. Take this moment to set the intention for cultivating a feeling of more spaciousness and for expressing yourself clearly and freely. (Make sure to avoid touching your eyes when you place essential oils on your hands.)
Roaring Lion’s Pose
Kneel on the ground or sit in a chair. On an exhalation, open your mouth as wide as you can, exhale through your nose and mouth and stick out your tongue, curve your tongue down towards your chin. Hold your breath and draw in your abdominal muscles.
Open your eyes, looking slightly up and stretch the muscles of your face. Remain in this posture for at least 5 seconds and up to 10 seconds.
Repeat the inhalation of your oiled palms and repeat two to three times. Yes, you will look a little funny, but who cares! Encourage bystanders to join in.
Polarity Energy Exercise for the Throat Chakra: Cook’s Hook-Up
This pose helps you connect to and contain your internal energy, and disengage from external stimulation. Lay on your back. Cross your right leg over your left as high as you can at your thighs. Cross your arms over your chest, palms facing down, and tuck your hands into your armpits. Close your eyes and allow your body to relax.
See if you can sense more space, the ether element. Hold for two to five minutes. Then uncross your legs, uncross your arms, and bring your elbows to the floor at the sides of your rib cage. Gently connect your fingertips together as if in prayer position over the middle of your torso. Breathe deeply and rest for at least two to three minutes.
Meditation & Affirmation for the Throat Chakra
“I now release the tension and noise of the outer world. I let go and dissolve the cords to other voices and beings. I cleanse and polish the five rings of the throat chakra with silky, blue energy. I surround and fill the wheel with my own will, that which I AM. [Breathe!] I allow the nerves, glands and tissues of my body to re-charge with the essence of that which I AM. I affirm that guidance I receive is true and harmonious with my well-being and my natural pattern. I declare that messages I send forth to others are sent with love, honoring their level of receptivity. I cease effort, release my will, and sink into silence.”
Relax your throat, jaw and tongue. If you feel like it, sing “I AM” on a comfortable note.
When we combine the use of essential oils with Polarity Therapy exercises and yoga asana, we give ourselves a profound self-care practice, helping us unwind and restore on very deep levels.
- Hair and Makeup by Tracey Giovanelli
- Grace is wearing clothing by Silly Yogi
- Photos of Grace Flowers by David Young-Wolff
Tracy Griffiths, BCPP, LMT, CAC is the co-owner of the Life Energy Institute and a Board Certified Polarity Practitioner Instructor. She is the creator and author of Aroma Yoga®, a blend of conscious movement, breathing exercises, and chakra meditations combined with therapeutic grade essential oils. Tracy leads the essential oil therapy component of the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) program and believes wellness should be easy and accessible to everyone: aromayogaguide.com.