We all have grief on some level at this stage of our lives. As we navigate the difficult, sad, and challenging journey of grief, Yoga for Living with Loss offers the perspective of how our chakras are both impacted and can relieve physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual congestion of grief.
While grief is certainly universal, our own personal grief is like no other and no one else’s. When I lost first my best friend of over 40 years and then my cherished big sister, my yoga practice gave me a place to breathe, cry, be present, and simply survive.
I have created Yoga for Living with Loss Video Series to share how I continue to navigate my losses through gentle yoga and studying the chakras. I hope you can find some comfort in joining me on this journey.
The Chakras are our seven main energy points of ‘wheels’ that relate to specific areas of our entire beings. Chakras are thought to be spinning disks of energy that should stay “open” and aligned, as they correspond to bundles of nerves, major organs, and areas of our energetic body that affect our emotional and physical well-being.
Grief, loss, and mourning shift our chakra energies both for the short- and long-term journey. Being aware of how our chakras are impacted by our grief can immediately bring us into more alignment and less chaos.
Our fifth chakra is named Vishuddha which means purification. It is located in our throat and neck area. It is the center of our communication, and therefore, our creativity. It is our chakra of expression, whatever form that takes.
It is the gateway and translator, where we speak and express and where we listen and hear. How we communicate through words, art, music, cooking, walking, knitting, and everything we say and do is our creative expression.
Vishuddha, the space of communication, is the place from which we speak truth, declare love, express belief, proclaim opinion, expound philosophy, send forth prayer, sing love songs or lamentations, whisper deepest wishes and share the language of our hearts. It is both how we express and how we listen.
Grief and loss can settle right here, in our fifth chakra. In our grief, we cannot communicate the depth of our loss. In my own grief, I experienced a painful stiff neck, that was telling! This is where our grief lands as we speak of the death, the loss, the loneliness, the despair. We get a ‘lump’ in our throat. We can’t speak. “I swallowed my tears.” ”Her voice was choked with emotion.”
We cry and even wail, letting this chakra open to our grief. We need to clear our throat. Expressing our grief releases the energy that can be withheld. But it must be with safety, and trust.
The throat chakra is also about speaking about our loss to close friends, with support groups, therapists, and wherever we can find comfort. Many times, we don’t bring up our loss or the name of our loved one… like we forgot.
In truth, we honor our loved ones by saying their names, recalling times we spent together and celebrating all that person brought into our lives. In certain religions, we name children after the departed to keep the name alive and present.
The color is blue. Our throat chakra is located at the center of our throat and swirls around our neck to the upper cervical spine. It is the narrow passage to the most ethereal of the chakras, intuition (6th chakra) and wisdom (7th chakra.)
Vishuddha encompasses the shoulders, jaw, mouth, and thyroid. The element is sound. Sound is a connection to spirit. It is also important to remember that sound isn’t always heard physically. We feel the vibrations of sound waves throughout our being.
When in alignment, you can speak and listen with compassion and feel confident when you speak because you know you are being true to yourself with your words.
When out of balance, there can be deficiency and excess. A deficient Vishuddha is seen as one who has lost their voice, speaks so softly as to be unheard. Excessive Vishuddha is one who speaks gossip, talks excessively, and interrupts often.
People with an imbalance in their fifth chakra can have variety of health issues like thyroid problems, throat, dental or jaw problems as well as shoulder, arm and neck stiffness, arthritis etc. An unbalanced Vishuddha centers on the throat and neck area.
The shadow side of Vishuddha is the lying, to ourselves and to others. Have you noticed how people change their tone when not telling the truth? When we neglect to tell the truth, we send negative energy to every cell.
- Child’s pose: Sit bum towards heels, head between extended arms
- Full or half, very gentle neck rolls open the throat passage
- Lion’s Breath: Inhale then a deep exhale with mouth wide open and tongue out
- Sphinx: Lie on belly side on mat, bend elbows with forearms on the earth, lift chin
Affirmations are sayings that you speak to yourself silently or aloud to give you a space to shift away from negative thoughts and feelings. Affirmations are positive statements that can help us to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts.
When you repeat them often, and believe in them, you can start to make positive changes. In our grieving process, affirmations allow us to say what we need to hear.
- I hear and speak the truth about myself and my beloved.
- I speak with compassion to myself.
- I listen with compassion to my inner voice and the voice of others.
- I speak my truth and wisdom freely to others.
- I express myself with love and truth.
- I can communicate easily.
- I give and receive communication in a balanced way.
- I can find solace in silence.
- I can receive and hear clearly the messages of the Universe.
The seven main chakras are energy centers that can be like guideposts to navigating deep grief. By recognizing that our throat chakra is the key to expressing love, compassion, loss, sadness, and creativity, we can release the ‘lump in our throat’ and find a bit of ease in our journey of grief.
EXTRA: Visit Yoga for Living with Loss for opportunities for classes, workshops, and the Yoga for Living with Loss Video Series as we navigate our grief without getting lost.
Do you connect your throat with your emotions? Have you considered what stands behind common phrases, such as, “I have a lump in my throat,” or “I choke on my emotions”? What do you know about the throat chakra and how it can help you deal with grief?