Neck and Throat Issues – June

I have neck and throat issues. When I sit at the computer for more than 30 min. or drive long distances, I invariably have neck pain the next day. Also, I often get tongue-tied when I try to convey my ideas to other people. Are these issues related?

Physically, the throat needs the support of the upper torso muscles surrounding the heart center in order to be strong, flexible, and in proper alignment. Etherically, when the 5th Chakra, also known as the throat or Visshuda Chakra, the seat of self expression, has the support of the heart chakra we can draw on what is essential and communicate more effectively. It is the causeway between our discernment and our all embracing aspect. When energy flows freely between the poles of the thinking mind and acting heart, we become more open physically, emotionally and spiritually. Stress often causes our shoulders to creep up. We become like a turtle retreating into its shell. The shoulders need to be anchored down to support our neck gracefully. Sleeping on too firm pillows, and/or constantly bending our heads forward to peer at a computer or television screen, eventually stresses the neck. Thinking too much causes us to literally “lead ‘with our heads. Since the average head weighs 12 to 14 lbs. (about the weight of a bowling ball) the neck is strained when it’s not balanced at the apex of the spine. According to Yoga, thinking too much also drains the Navel Center of energy. The Navel represents our core strength and is ideally where all movement originates.Your dietery habits can also affect your neck. Eating late at night often causes a stiff neck the next day. The digestive meridians run through the sides and back of the neck and are reflecting the state of an overburdened digestive system.The neck is an important crossroads connecting the subconscious (solar plexus) and the conscious minds. Nerves run between the solar plexus region and the head, crisscrossing at the back of the neck. The solar plexus is where our inspiration and creative ideas are formed so the mind can retrieve these ideas and act on them. You could also say the neck is the causeway between earth and ether, or your ability to conceive of something and give it expression on the physical plane.If you often suffer from neck tension and cannot move your head easily through poses obviously your neck is not being supported by your upper torso. Remember, if you feel tension anywhere in the body, you are not being supported somewhere below. Down Dog and Plank poses are good for building support in the upper body. Always be sure to draw your shoulder blades down the spine, away from your ears. JALANDHAR BHAND (Neck lock)Neck lock is the most often used lock in Kundalini Yoga. A lock should not be thought of as a forceful closure but as a way of redirecting energies. Neck lock should be applied for all meditations and breathing exercises, especially while holding the breath in or out.Sit with a straight spine. Raise your self up on a blanket if necessary to be comfortable. Pull your chin straight back (not up or down) towards the throat. You will feel your sternum lift and your shoulders naturally want to roll backwards as your heart center opens. We want to feel a lengthening through the cervical vertebrae. Let the muscles of the jaw and face and throat stay relaxed. If you reach back with your hand you should still feel a gentle curve inwards on the back of your neck. We are straightening the spinal curves but not flattening them–just enough to let the energies flow encumbered. This neck lock will help your glandular and nervous systems to balance and make it much easier to stay focused and meditate deeply.Recapitulation Meditation for Self-ForgivenessSit in a comfortable pose and chant “Ma” continuously in a monotone. Feel your lips tingle as you create this sound. Also, feel the sound emanating from you sternum area. Listen to your voice create this sound of creativity and compassion. Do this for 11 minutes. Now let the light of your Heart Center (at the sternum) fill your body. Be open and forgiving with yourself. Dive deeply into the waters of memory. Starting with the first year of your life, remember as much as you can, year by year. Be the dispassionate but compassionate witness. Many people feel that a powerful practice need be replete with bells and whistles. This is an example of a simple technique which can open your heart to loving and being loved and to the “love from above.” It’s not possible to truly move forward as long as we have guilt or regrets about what came before.

This meditation uses the primal sound Ma to call upon the Divine Mother to accept the offering of our pain and fill that void with love for ourselves and the world. We are in this crucible of time and space to work on ourselves and grow. Every day offers new tests which give us the opportunity to redeem everything that came before and qualify everything that will come after. It may be, presently, that the Divine Mother, the energy of compassion and respect for life, is the hope for the world. May we all aspire to embody and express that compassion, beginning with ourselves!

All Best to You,Ravi Singh & Ana / 212.982.5518

by Ravi Singh & Ana Brett
Ravi and Ana been featured presenters at the Midwest Yoga Conference, The Toronto Yoga Show, and the Six Days on Freedom Retreat. Their clients have included Olympic Athletes and celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Lou Reed, Carrie-Anne Moss, Donna Karan, and The Red Hot Chile Peppers. They’ve taught in many diverse contexts: from Iceland to Maui, Canada to Costa Rica, from boardrooms and Park Avenue Penthouses, to scientists at Bell Labs, from Opera Singers at the Aspen Music Festival and street kids in Los Angeles to backstage at Broadway plays. They are Authors of the Fat Free Yoga DVD series and the forthcoming book Fat Free Yoga.