The Vishuddha Playlist

Several years ago, during the time of my divorce, I would sometimes feel the sensation of a too-tight turtleneck around my throat. It was the first time I truly recognized chakra energy at work in my body. I began to see the link between this unpleasant sensation and my own history of voicelessness. A history that was not exclusive to the end of my marriage but one for which the cumulative effect was seemingly choking me.

In the time following, I found my voice. I started to speak up and out in ways I never had before, and I found a good therapist with whom to do the good work. The frequency of the too-tight turtleneck became significantly less but it was one of those things that once I noticed it, I couldn’t quite unnotice it. In times of stress and conflict, I sometimes feel it emerge again. This is compounded by the fact that my tears originate in my throat and so high emotion will also trigger this sensation.

There are always words left unsaid. For many individuals, it can be when there is conflict that cannot be or is not addressed. It can be moments when help is needed but unasked for. When gratitude is felt but not expressed. When pain or strife or fear or anger or overwhelm bubbles up in our mouths and gets trapped just behind our teeth.

The throat chakra is connected to communication and power. In times of silencing (self or otherwise), or feeling powerless, the throat chakra can be blocked. The too-tight turtleneck is just one way that this may manifest physically.

There are many methods for unblocking this energy center - crystal work, reiki, acupuncture, essential oils, and meditation are just a few. The one I want to share today is a bit more melodious. Or delightfully off-key, as the case may be, but still just as useful: singing.

My favorite singing spot is my car. Loudly. Pitchy as can be. But with great gusto!

I have a playlist that I listen to while driving, and find it especially helpful to release the tight feeling in my throat. Appropriately called the Vishuddha playlist, it’s a mix of songs that are great to belt out, and maybe will even generate a tear or two. I crafted this playlist carefully, considering my very limited vocal range and yet still peppered with songs that allow for full throated, diaphragmatic singing. Let Her Cry, by Hootie and the Blowfish. Anything with vocals by Roger Clyne because we sing in the same range. A good smattering of Disney songs courtesy of my kids. Some are just fun to sing. Take Me Home Country Roads, by John Denver. A lot of Sara Bareilles. A LOT of Tori Amos. What songs do you like to sing? If you were to put together a playlist like this, what would you put on it?

There are some populations that may struggle with feelings of voicelessness. Kids who experienced abuse, grew up in homes with addiction, or in emotionally volatile situations may have learned to stay quiet to avoid making things worse. Any time an individual’s personal experience is devalued, their ability to speak their truth is diminished. In these cases, it’s helpful to have tools to heal - in some instances it may be with therapy or other mental health intervention, or treatment may focus on what is happening in the body. It’s also helpful to have tools that are fun, maybe things you’d be doing anyway, and at are completely at one’s own disposal any time of night or day.

For a long time I swallowed my words to promote the comfort of others, or to be the good girl who knew her spot. I’ve learned to let go of that, but there are still times, for a variety of reasons, that I know it’s not going to be helpful to say that I really want to say. In those moments, it’s helpful to find that release in a different way.

Off-key is better than off-kilter so let those high notes be the sustaining force that maintains your balance.

{image credit - @bodeburnout on Instagram}