Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…

Sometimes students have written to or asked Swami Veda Bharati, Swami Ritavan Bharati, and other senior teachers in our tradition questions about practice.  This is one such “Question and Answer,” or Q&A.


Can anyone give me more knowledge on the Vishuddha chakra, the ether element...space energy...communications?? What is the Vishuddha chakra? I know its place in the body, the throat; it’s especially important in the psychic breath of the Ujjayi pranayama. To me it is a mystery.


Four have answered this question: Michael Smith, Stephen Parker (Stoma), Mrs. Lalita Arya (Ammaji), and Carolyn Hume.

From Michael Smith:

The best information I've found on Vishuddha Chakra is from the section on Vishuddha Chakra in Yoga and Psychotherapy: The Evolution of Consciousness (pp. 254-262), by Swami Rama, Rudolph Ballentine and Swami Ajaya -- where it is said:

Vishuddha Chakra (or 5th Chakra or Throat Chakra,) has to do with being nurtured "from above"  taking in what is given, being cared for, being tied to a reliable source of nurturance, of feeling basically secure – learning to surrender & accept, to receive grace and unconditional love -- and then the "creativity" and seva "service" that flows from that nurturance. Think of Anjali Mudra (the prayer position with the palms together and held between the heart and the throat), where energy and awareness are concentrated at Anahata and Vishuddha Chakras, and a devotional attitude is created, harmonizing Grace and Effort. "In the act of being creative, one nurtures himself by giving himself and accepting for himself guidance from the higher consciousness that lies within.  It is this sense that we say that the act of nurturing and being nurtured are one and the same."

Another good resource is the section on “Surrender” (pp. 123-150) in Healing the Whole Person: Applications of Yoga Psychology by Swami Ajaya.

From Stephen Parker (Stoma)

Here is one answer: Viśuddha means “purified.” This refers to the processes of tapas, “austerity,” replacing experiences of pleasure with experiences of joy and transcendent beauty by refining one’s enjoyments through concentration (tapas). Concentration at this cakra eventually yields control over hunger and thirst. It is also a center that concerns speech (the process of vibration moving through space) and hence creativity and expression. It is the seat of the dream state, so stimulation of this cakra through an intensive practice of simhāsana potentiates the experience of dreams and carrying mindful awareness into your dreams is one step on the path to yoga-nidrā. As the awakening of Kundalini slowly evolves in the cakra system, this stage concerns preparation of the mindfield through citta-prasādana (making the mindfield clear, pleasant and stable) for deeper practices of concentration and meditation that lead to samādhi.

From Mrs. Lalita Arya (Ammaji):

Ujjayi Pranayama is a technique that helps calm the mind and warm the body. When practicing Ujjayi, you completely fill your lungs, and breathe through your nose, meaning do not breathe through your mouth, as this happens unconsciously sometimes.

Vishudha - 'visha' means 'poison' and 'shudha' means to make pure. so this is the throat section which when concentrated on helps purify body and mind. For easy practice concentrate on the visual image blue in color with a downward triangle in a circle within a larger circle of 16 petals.

On the physical plane it is supposedly associated with the thyroid gland dealing with general health. On the specifics it is associated with speech, communication, expression - all related to sound. Also associated with music. Singers usually concentrate on this. This is the answer with technical details.

However, it is always advised that if you are an initiate in our Tradition of Himalayan teachers, you consult with a qualified teacher to guide in such practices. We read about all kinds of stuff connected with yoga/meditation practices, but are not always educated on the effects of their practices. Every action has a re-action and the same applies to our practice. One needs to be ready for a particular practice and be prepared to go through its entirety. Everything is a mystery until one understands its history and even then we need a competent Guide.

All the best with blessings of the Tradition.

From Carolyn Hume

In Path of  Fire and Light, Volume 1 in the chapter “The Awakening of Kundalini,” Swami Rama wrote: “The fifth chakra is located in the vertebral column at the hollow of the throat. It is called vishuddha chakra, which means ‘purified.’ Here there are sixteen lotus petals. Each contains one of the vowel sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet and represents a quality that is cultivated with mastery over this chakra. The akasha principle – space, ether, or the void – is the force of this chakra. The color of vishuddha is blue and its bija is ham. The sense of hearing is controlled by this chakra. Vishuddha is the center of receptivity and creativity. Devotion, surrender, trust, and willingness are qualities that it engenders. Musicians and artists are said to have their energy concentrated there.”

And in Lecture #7 during the 2013 Sangha Gathering, Swami Veda Bharati said, “One whose throat chakra [vishuddha chakra] is open becomes both eloquent and goes into natural silence. Not one word of his wasted. His words become effective, and he goes into natural silence. He does not want to speak. He does not want to speak. He has control over hunger and thirst. People who are suffering from diseases like bulimia and anorexia nervosa, I tell them to concentrate on the throat center. People who are suffering from chronic coughs, I tell them to concentrate on the throat center with a visualization of a full moon – but then there are other intricacies. So, one whose throat chakra has opened doesn’t go about shouting at the world. He develops a serene voice, an effective voice, and is very selective with his words. He becomes a master of languages, but doesn’t use it for showing off. And silence to him becomes natural.”

It is well to take heed of what Ammaji has written regarding consultation with a qualified teacher, preparation, and mystery.

When I heard this question, I immediately thought of the will - Thy will be done...and to the state where there is no distinction between Thy will and my will.

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