Transforming Fear to Joy

Freeing Your Neck & Throat with Yoga Actions (Part 1)

Last week, we looked at a yoga sequence and yoga actions focused on freeing the physical and emotional tension (holding patterns) in our heart space. Within our body, the physical element of air is concentrated in the heart region. Air connects us internally with our conditioned habits and externally to people and things, thereby yoking us to all that is.    Strengthening and opening the heart space cultivates healthy loving relationships with ourselves and with others. 

The ability to express loving-kindness in all our relations is further enhanced by strengthening and opening the throat and neck. Simply put, to think, speak and act lovingly requires us to find and free our authentic voice. In order to do so, our focus this week is on the throat diaphragm (TD), which is located behind the collar bones in the front body and in front of the upper shoulder blades (top edges) in the back body. Think of the TD as a circle which you are trying to fill with space — front to back and side to side.

In yoga philosophy, the TD is where the physical element of space is concentrated and where most of us have lost both our awareness and our capacity to create space.  In other words, if you feel pressed in by your life right now, this is the place where that pressure resides.  Often this pressure manifests as either a closing of the throat (not voicing what we think and feel) or an explosion of too-big emotions and hurtful words. In either case, we are reacting impulsively rather than responding from our authentic intuitive wisdom.

Thus, strengthening our TD creates the container for greater inner space, which then expands our capacity to hold space for clear seeing and calm abiding in our inner and outer world.  Here then is where we feel the freedom to respond authentically and to release our potential. To assess your own capacity for free authentic expression, sit quietly in Virasana for 1 to 2 minutes and ask yourself —

  • Who do I feel disconnected from?
  • Where do I feel crowded internally or too busy externally?

VIRASANA (Hero Pose) 2 minutes (await your answers)

For the remaining sequence illustrated below, practise these yoga