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Unlocking My Voice

In my self righteous need to speak my truth, I lost sight of how my words and energy would impact us both, in a way that left me feeling yucky. By the look on his face, I'm sure he had a similar reaction. In this case it was a friend and the wave of emotion that landed on him felt justified… at least in that moment. But stepping away from that moment and feeling the intensity of my emotions subside, I realized that there was/is another way that I could have handled that situation. I can speak my truth from a place of openness, rather than from an emotional release that's triggered by my ego. When I can do that, I notice that a feeling of clarity follows, without a leftover residue of emotional baggage gnawing at me. This clearing of the air releases it from our etheric fields, because it has been expressed through an unrestricted heart.

For most of my life, I kept silent and allowed feelings to be bottled up inside of me, until I either exploded with them or internalized them, only to show up at a later date as stress or illness. Neither method really served my spirit, as both were out of balance and contributed to feelings of unworthiness or frustration. In our culture, women are told that anger or over emotionality is not okay. We are often accused of being a b*tch when expressing anger or discomfort in a situation. Men are taught to deny and hold in their feelings of sadness or distress, channeling it into “healthy” anger. Neither gender is taught how to process emotions in a way that doesn't somehow lash out at another person or group, which in turn wounds us, whether we consciously realize it or not. For what we put out to the world, is what comes back to us.

So how do we get to a place of acceptance and clear thinking in ourselves? How do we connect with an open heart and from there allow the expression of our truth to come through without obstruction?

It takes a willingness to look within, honoring the feelings that arise and a stepping back emotionally to allow forgiveness of ourselves and others. It also means taking responsibility for our actions when we have misread a situation or behaved in a way that is destructive. When we can take time to connect to that place of inner stillness within, the heart opens and the emotions clear.

One of the tools that I have found to support the transfer of the emotional/physical body to open hearted clarity, is rooted in the throat. I find that working with jalandhara bandha or net lock from the yogic tradition, has helped me with opening the channels of communication. When the energy center in our throats is clear, there is a connection with the heart, which allows the place of compassion and balance to speak. Jalandhara bandha is a way to connect the head with the heart, while opening up the throat chakra. It keeps you more heart centered, so the mind is quieter and more relaxed.

To practice jalandhara bandha, find a comfortable seated position. Allow the hands to rest comfortably in your lap or on your knees. Check in with your breath, allowing a pause at the end of an inhalation. In that pause slide the chin back (think attractive double chin). Then as you exhale, drop the chin towards the chest. On the next inhalation, raise the chin to neutral, keeping both sides of the neck even. Continue for as long as you feel comfortable exploring jalandhara bandha. If you experience any dizziness or feel light headed, be sure to stop.

Jalandhara bandha is one of three main bandhas or locks that are practiced in yoga. A lock is a place in the body where we can temporarily restrict the flow of energy. When the lock is released, that built up energy flows with more strength, breaking up blockages as it moves through. I like the image of a hose with a sprayer attachment on the nozzle. When the sprayer is closed, the water pressure builds up until the nozzle is opened, allowing for water to surge through.

Net lock is particularly good following your asana or physical practice and before meditation, as it ensures an open heart and focused mind. It helps to calm the mind, dissipating anger, alleviating anxiety and melting away stress. It opens the chest, neck, shoulders and throat, providing support for the thyroid and para thyroid glands, to regulate metabolism. It supports spinal cord health by increasing blood circulation. It is a physical as well as energetic practice to support the body/mind/spirit connection.

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