It's been a bit of a struggle to get in the flow this month, and I am sure many of you are in the same boat. If you are like me, I usually feel fluid to deal with what life throws at me - now it's a different story, as the energy around me isn’t flowing in its familiar pattern.
During my Reiki teachers' zoom call yesterday my Master, Elaine Grundy, commented that our internal state of flow is not only how we weather the storm, but where we find peace, optimism and acceptance. I feel so blessed that I'm in a bit of a “Bali bubble” here, yet the effects of this moment are being felt the world over, and sometimes we have no choice but to accept what is.
At a time when the talk of working from home, exercising from home, and schooling from home is constant, it seems we are feeling the pressure more than ever to be “productive”, however after the new moon last week I felt like I was treading treacle - stuck in a sticky mess, working hard but not achieving anything.
So even though my focus for April was on the Throat Chakra, I’ve been back over my Sacral studies to remind myself about flow, even practicing some of the techniques listed in my Sacral blog. Sometimes keeping the boat upright is a constant job, therefore I always use my Reiki, Yoga, and clear intentions to restore balance to areas that have slipped, either because of my own actions, the environment, or other external forces.
This past month on social media I shared a personal insight into the three main areas where the Throat Chakra has disrupted my status quo, and in this blog post I will be sharing some tips and recommended techniques for you to help combat this, whilst opening and strengthening your throat.
1 - Communication (Speaking)
The Throat Chakra (known as Vishuddha in Sanskrit) rests in the middle of your neck, right at the throat. It is intimately connected to all your self-expression, so it affects (and is affected by) everything to do with communication.
If you have a blockage in the Throat Chakra you might struggle to articulate your true feelings, unable to identify your own needs, or perhaps never feeling understood.
I realised an imbalance lay within my Throat Chakra when I discovered my fear of chanting mantra, both in public and private.
I have always felt my deep dulcet tones should not be aired and shared, and I hate the sound of my voice when on video, yet I have always envied those in a choir or singing group for the incredible mood-boosting and energy-lifting properties of collective singing. The more I learn and practice mantra, the more I realise the powerful healing and transformative energy of sound. Like the symbols in Reiki, I feel that mantra is an energy transformer.
As with many things in life, those which we resist are normally the things that we need the most. If you crave power fast-flowing yoga, you should probably try doing moon or yin; if you only enjoy low intensity exercise, you should probably throw in a few burpees once in a while. So I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to use mantra in my personal yoga practice and in the classes I teach; I recite the Reiki mantras, and even try to sing-a-long when I go to *kirtan.
I know if I do this the flow of energy through my throat chakra increases, which helps me with self-expression, communication, and deepening my unconscious relationship to mantra, and of course also reduces the likelihood of a sore throat.
*Kirtan is devotional singing, usually accompanied by musical instruments - in Sanskrit word that means "narrating, reciting, telling, describing" of an idea or story, specifically in Indian religions. While in lockdown you can find virtual kirtan to join from home. I fully recommend joining Ellen from The Practice Bali - the next one is Saturday 9th May @2pm You can book online here [https://www.momoyoga.com/the-practice-bali/ ] And once isolation is over, go and join a physical kirtan as the vibrational experience is amazing.
I want to write a more detailed blog on mantra and how we infuse it through our Tantra yoga practice, but for now here are some to try (all Youtube links):
Om or AUM - (Sound of the Universe)
Om Shanti (Om Peace)
Tina Turner Mantra (Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu - Peace Mantra)
I taught a meditation mantra in class this week, that for me felt very appropriate and calming. You silently repeat the following mantra for 2 minutes:
May I accept things as they are
May I be undisturbed by the comings & goings of events
May I be at peace
Then you repeat the same mantra but replace “I” with a loved one or your family for around 2 minutes.
Then you repeat the same mantra, but replace the loved one with someone you have a challenging relationship with for a further 2 minutes.
Then you repeat the same mantra but replace the challenging relationship with your entire community, tribe, or even the world (you can choose what resonates with you) for the final 2 minutes.
Affirmations can also be used to send powerful messages to your system and the universe. Quantum physics, the law of attraction, and Reiki all use affirmation for manifestation.
The rules are simple:
-In the present tense (as if they exist already)
-Use ‘I’ (not in an egoic sense, more as an embodiment of you true self)
-Believable (focusing on what you truly want in life and are positioning yourself to receive)
-Positive (in order to encourage the highest vibrational energy into your manifestations)
-Single (ideally focus on one at a time)
In Reiki 2 we use the sending symbol to send universal life force to our affirmations. We write a note, send Reiki for 15 minutes to the affirmation, being present to the feelings, intention and focus of what we have written. And when we send Reiki, the Universe ALWAYS responds - it just might respond differently to what our expectations or preconceptions about the outcome are.
Known as the voice of the body, the throat chakra is an expression of our inner truth and authenticity. It is also a pressure valve that allows the energy from other chakras to be expressed, therefore if it is out of balance or blocked it can affect the health of every other energy centre, and certainly, your voice. When it is in balance we can express what we think and what we feel comfortably. We can communicate our ideas, beliefs, and emotions. We can sing with ease and freedom.
2 - Communication (Listening)
The throat chakra is associated with hearing, speaking, listening, and communicating. When it comes to listening, it's not only actively listening to others, but also as I mentioned earlier, listening to one’s own inner voice. In the busy world we live in, I feel it’s so easy to get stuck in a habitual almost robotic state trapped in the routines of life, after all, we are 'creatures of habit'. The one thing the current situation has forced us to do is stay home, and I understand for a lot of people this has resulted in a much-needed pause as well: to read books, listen to music, watch the birds in the garden, and observe their own thoughts.
I believe committing to quiet time is crucial. Obviously that can take many forms: for me it's meditation, both as part of both my yoga practice and my Reiki self-healing, plus walking my dog in nature. That’s when I do most of my reflection and contemplation, and most importantly, listen.
The quieter you become the more you can hear
With this in mind, another great way of listening to yourself is by writing in a journal.
It's a wonderful daily habit to get into, but particularly useful when you’ve got a lot of stuff going on. Many of us may try and push emotions down as a natural protective mechanism, but we all know you can’t put a lid on it forever. You might hear the murmurs and simply choose to ignore them, but one day it could manifest itself physically. I recently took my daughter to see a clairvoyant, and without going into too much detail, he told her that her bad tummy is quite simply a product of swallowing and stifling stuff down. The effect was showing up as a physical symptom.
Therefore one of the best and easiest ways to “free up” your throat and clear out stagnant energy, is to write in a journal for just 5 minutes everyday.
You might like to get one with a lock and key (particularly if it's for your teenage children, so a snoopy sibling or a tempted parent can’t see), as you want your journal to be a place where you can be unfiltered: share your wants, needs, frustrations, even overwhelming rage, or deep sadness. As the old saying goes, “it's better out than in”, and often this form of expression can give you nuggets of information that previously went unseen, or that you were subconsciously hiding.
We are living in uncertain times right now, and we are all trying to make sense of what's happening, internally and externally. If us adults are feeling uncertain, unable to tell what is true (reading anything in the media is a prime example of this), then I would assume kids are struggling too, they just might not know how to express their feelings.
Family dynamics, couple dynamics, housemate dynamics, are all put under great stress when life throws a Covid-shaped curve ball at us. If you are on your own that represents another dimension entirely, where the stories we tell ourselves are largely responsible for our mental wellbeing.
Frustrations can show in many forms and people display them differently. Family life this month has been a true test on my Throat, and I had to take a step back to think about what every individual in our household needs right now. Clear communication is essential: make sure you are being mindful of others by asking yourself, did I fully listen and understand what was said? And how can I reply in a considered and kind manner? Here are some of our “family communication rules”, from my home to yours...
🍲 Eat Meals Together
🎲 Schedule Family Time
👨👩👧👧 Establish Family Routines
👨👧 Allow for One-on-One Time
🚫 Allow for Alone Time
✅ Attack the Problem, Not Each Other
👏 Kindness, Appreciation and Empathy
💕Cut One Another Some Slack
3 - Authenticity
Being “authentic” can be a scary thought. Recently I attended a virtual parenting workshop and the host broke down in tears during her introduction. She’d had a bad day - like the rest of us, she had had a day where her boat was at the bottom of the wave, and when you're in that position it's always difficult to see out. She told us about her situation, with her family being separated, and the challenges she was facing right now. Some people may see her tears as vulnerability, but I know everyone on that call resonated with what she was saying, and from that came authenticity.
When you are sharing from the heart and speaking your truth, then everything you say has more weight, also allowing your attendees to be more open in sharing their vulnerabilities. I am not saying that you should burst into tears every time one of your clients or students walks in, but it is also completely ok to share your stories and your lows.
My words have the power to change lives including my own
Being authentic is also about speaking your truth internally. The power of the spoken word and the stories we tell ourselves should not be underestimated. Affirmations, mantra and song all carry immense power through their vibrational qualities. When recited, they invoke a wave of spiritual healing on a cellular level.
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I hope I’ve inspired you to incorporate some throat-soothing methods into your daily routine; perhaps picking up a notepad and jotting down your stream of consciousness; or maybe taking to the kitchen and boiling up some soothing bone broth; or maybe you’ll be singing along to Tina Turner’s rendition of Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu for the next week. You do what feels right to you (and your throat), and let me know which of my methods has proved most cleansing for you.