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Episode 61: From Voice Loss to Speaking My Truth

Discovering the throat chakra changed my life.

I suffered with voice problems and loss over a number of years and learning about how the throat chakra might be deficient or excess was an eye opener and gave me insight into ways to balance it. In this episode I aim to share what this looks like and methods for balance.

I remember being in my yoga training in Goa back in 2017, sat on the floor, in the hot humid weather and looking out at the views of the jungle just behind the yoga hall. We had a lecture on the chakras, which were completely new to me at the time. As Karo, our trainer for that session started talking about the throat chakra it absolutely resonated with me. When I discovered the throat chakra, suddenly my eyes were open to a new way of viewing my voice loss and speech problems. These had become physically obvious since 2009, but I can now see these problems date back much further.

If you’re not familiar, the chakras are the main energy centre's located vertically in the body, with the first chakra being the root chakra, located at the base of the spine and the seventh chakra, the crown chakra, located at the crown of the head. However, whether you believe in subtle energy or not the principles of

each one can be applied to our lives and offer a guideline for exploration of inner work too. After all, the inside work is important as it’s through our own internal lenses that we see and perceive the world and this in turn creates our reality.

The throat chakra in particular tells us our rights are ‘to be seen and be heard’, it’s function ultimately links to communication, which helps lead to greater harmony. Ultimately expressing our truth feels liberating in the long-run, but it's not always easy. Previously, I had increasingly found it harder and harder to express how I really felt and to be honest I didn’t even know most of the time myself. As I had numbed my own feeling and emotions often to put others first. This included when my parents parted when I was age 15, I wanted them to be ok and not feel bad, and it wasn’t until 2 years later that I really noticed how I really felt about it, which hit me like a tonne of bricks! By this point it then felt like the moment had already passed and I should be fine now!

Going back to that lecture back in Goa, I strongly related to a deficient throat chakra. This looked like a fear of speaking, speaking with a small, weak voice, and having difficulty putting feelings into words. It can also include being secretive, which I found myself being particularly through a feeling of guilt, fear and shame. It can also look like being overly self-contained bottling things up, or relying mostly on myself. I personally used to always put up walls with those around me, including with my now husband. Interestingly, in contrast an excessive throat chakra can look like too much talking, excessive loudness, stuttering (which I did used to sometimes get) gossiping, which lets face it usually isn’t positive. An excessive throat chakra can also look like a difficulty containing yourself and therefore over sharing with others.

Common physical ailments that link to the throat chakra include a sore throat, neck pain and stiffness, jaw pain, laryngitis and headaches - which I kept experiencing! Other physical ailments include dental and thyroid concerns, which may also be a sign the throat chakra is out of balance. When the throat chakra is balanced we develop clear and concise communication, we speak with a full voice, we know and can share our own truth and we are a good listener. This all helps to bring harmony to ourselves and others.

If you’ve not heard me share before, from 2009 to 2016 I had periods of time where I lost my voice completely, other times I would have a real lump in my throat and felt unable to speak and other times it just felt impossible to say what I wanted to. You might be familiar with the saying that ‘I was choked up’, which helps to highlight the emotional hub that is the throat. I would find it exhausting speaking whether that be in the classroom teaching at a school, out with friends or on the phone. I remember being stood teaching a class reading something out and finding it increasingly more difficult to speak - I really needed more air!

In many areas of my life from a child I can remember I often made myself small and quiet to fit in and not rock the boat, settling for my own discomfort over the discomfort of saying what I really wanted to say. I believed there would be negative consequences for sharing my truth, a limitation I’ve come to realise isn’t often true and that actually communication and self-expression in an honest and respectful way helps to build greater harmony within relationships and also with the inner relationship I have with myself. However, when this isn’t familiar it can feel so scary!

Ultimately expressing our truth feels liberating in the long-run. Think of a time when you have said yes instead of no and put someone else before yourself, chances are it felt tight and restrictive rather than freeing. If you find it hard to say no, I invite you to ask yourself who’s life are you living? Are you living a version of your life that’s built of what you think other people want to hear and want you to do, or a life that is made up of your own choices, experiences, lessons and expansive development. And as I may have mentioned before, what we think others want is based on our own perception of what we think they want. We aren’t mind readers and we definitely aren’t always right!

In order to heal the throat chakra and help to gain balance, we can connect with the colour blue - this might be wearing something blue, buying a blue plant, selecting blue crystals or meditating on the colour blue - I personally enjoy imagining a blue light expanding from my heart space. Blue is a calming colour and one of wisdom and honesty. Other ways to heal the throat chakra include making a conscious effort to drink more water throughout the day, this can help to cleanse the throat in addition to keeping you hydrated! Self expression through open and honest conversations, singing and writing things down can also help to bring the throat chakra into more balance, I really believe this and you can find out more about journaling in my podcast episode #11 OUT of Mind, ON to Paper (Journaling) by clicking here.

It’s also helpful to practice letting go and not bottling things up, which often turn into resentment, guilt and anger creating unwanted tension in the body and mind. Yoga is also massively beneficial as it helps to open up all the chakras, which is amazing as they are all inter-related. However there are poses that can boost healing of the throat chakra and some examples include; simple neck stretches, cat and cow focusing on the movement in the neck and throat, along with camel and fish poses, which are both back bends.

It’s natural and normal to want to express what has happened to us, from an “ouch” when we hurt ourselves to wanting to share an amazing or challenging day we have had to discharge. Sometimes we can’t always share what we want to, there might not be anyone to speak to or perhaps the circumstances aren’t appropriate. Sometimes as children we may not have felt seen and heard, perhaps what we said w was ridiculed and we learnt to not trust ourselves. When we push down our need to express ourselves, this can lower our vibration and can lead to the body storing this tension. Leaving us feeling heavy, rigid and almost “frozen”. I definitely used to experience the freeze response, instead of sharing what I really wanted to say or speaking up for myself in challenging relationships in the past. In time this dis-ease then showed up in poor breathing patterns, making it so effortful to speak, a tight jaw, headaches and then eventually leaving me with the inability to speak at all.

I remember going away for a family weekend and I was struggling with my voice loss before we left, and then over the weekend at one point my voice came back and then it disappeared again, which was a real insight into the fact that physically nothing had probably changed with my vocal chords but my level of stress, discomfort and lack of ability to deal with my anxiety and emotions were running high. When we are not living in alignment with our truth we are ultimately starting to live a bit of a lie even though we may not realise it. Not to mention, when we are out of alignment with ourselves, we feel dis-connected to those around us also. I felt this strongly and it was a lonely place to be.

In my experience, it takes getting vulnerable to really open up and share parts of ourselves we may prefer to keep hidden, then often it’s in these moment we give other people permission to start to share what is really going on and deeper bonds can be formed. I used to find it difficult to even admit to myself how I really felt, let alone share that with someone else. Or share what I had experienced as an embarrassing or shameful moment, I’d created terrible stories in my head, but in reality actually saying them out load really helped me to gain some perspective and realise these moments don't define me.

Sometimes, I find it easier to talk with strangers who have no pre-conceptions about me. Therefore it’s also important to really listen when people speak their truth. I used to find if I was trying to share something with my husband and he didn’t realise that it was uncomfortable for me, he might not be fully listening or interrupt as he thinks I’ve finished but I am taking my time. I used to see this as he wasn’t really interested or it would be an excuse for me to back away from the conversation. Looking back, I think I just hadn’t shared with him that I wanted to speak to him about something in particular and that it might be difficult for me so he can try and hold a safe space for me to share. Our relationship has massively evolved and I no longer feel like I am bottling up tension and resentment, which reduces the stress within me and within our relationship too!

Whilst I've felt like giving up and at times, my heart has been racing and my hands shaking, persevering has now lead me to feel much more free to say what is on my mind that I feel needs sharing for the greater good of our relationship. I'm also pleased to say that I haven't lost my voice now for 6 years and my relationships and self-talk have dramatically improved too!

Today, finding my voice is still an on-going process; to move past my limiting beliefs, to get more comfortable with speaking up, to develop my own boundaries so I can express what I need and boost my self- esteem. And through yoga breathing techniques I have become much more able to speak with less effort and more ease and to let emotions flow through me that I don’t need to bottle up, reducing tension in my body and mind. The podcast episode which inspired this blog was massively out my comfort zone and has really helped me to find my voice too!

In my experience, practice is the only way to develop the skill of speaking your truth. So if any of this resonates with you, I urge you to practice respectfully speaking up the next time you try to quieten yourself. Because after all, as the throat chakra reminds us, you have ‘the right to be seen and be heard’.

If you would like to listen to the recent 26 minute podcast of this episode, you can click here.

I hope you have enjoyed reading,

Love Sam x


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