Inspiration, Yoga Visuddha Chakra: A Meditation into Your Art Celebrate your inner creativity By Andrea Manitsas Welcome to your chakras, illuminating discs of swirling energy in your subtle body. In this series, the chakras become symbols, gateways to a deeper understanding of the self. Let their archetypes speak to you, teach you, whisper their secrets into you so that you may discover more ease, healing, and insight on this path. “Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” – Rainbow Rowell Today, we create and communicate from our deepest inquiry. We began by stabilizing with earth (Muladhara Chakra), then feeling the flow (Svadhisthana Chakra), followed by lighting a fire (Manipura Chakra), and then moved into connecting our hearts (Anahata Chakra). And now, we stand up and express our truth as we enter the throat center, Visuddha Chakra. Your throat houses the very apparatus with which you speak, and at this level, you channel thoughts and emotions into words, expressions, and art. All of the words you never had the courage to say are lodged here—caught in your throat—ultimately estranging you from yourself. THROAT MEDITATION Sit on the edge of a cushion, pillow, or blanket, all the better if you can do so under a clear blue sky. Lift your chin slightly so that your throat feels expansive. Close your eyes. Inhale, fill your belly first, then your chest and then up into your throat. As you exhale, let out a long, drawn-out sigh. Repeat this several times, increasing the volume of your sigh each time. Notice how the sound of your own voice makes you feel. Continue to breathe in this way until you begin to feel comfortable with your own sound. Then, contemplate this story: Valmiki is known as the original poet, or the inventor of poetry, and is the author of the Ramayana. It’s said that he was walking through the woods and came to a clearing where two beautiful cranes were playing in a love dance. Their long necks were intertwined, and they gazed into each other’s eyes. Valmiki felt warmed to witness their love. Suddenly, out of nowhere, an arrow hit one of the birds and struck it dead. The other, stunned, cried out and then dropped dead of a broken heart alongside its lover. Valmiki became outraged with the hunter, and yelled at him. How could he so needlessly kill the act of love? Overcome by the depth of his own sorrow and suffering at such a sight, Valmiki put pen to paper to purge his emotions, to channel them into something beautiful, meaningful… And poetry was born. He transformed this suffering into powerful prose. How do you channel all that’s going on inside of you into something beautiful or worthwhile? Place one hand over your throat and ask yourself: How do you express you? What parts of yourself are asking to be expressed? Create a mantra to draw out your essence, and repeat it to yourself always. Say it to yourself, whisper it, speak it loudly, chant it, write it. Become it. Turn the music up in your car and sing along, loudly. Laugh and cry, and never feel sorry for having done so. Create art, any art: hatch your own recipes, take photographs, write in a journal, paint, draw, dance, play, sing, craft, decorate… anything creative will do. Be curious about who you are and what you feel, and create from that inquiry. “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” ― Kurt Vonnegut — Andrea Manitsas—affectionately called “Anj”—is a yoga teacher based in San Francisco and Berkeley, where her Oms resonate down the block and around the corner. She is known for a bhakti-filled class with a whole lotta soul and a fierce flow. Andrea also writes and edits. And travels—a lot. She takes her teaching on the road with yoga retreats around the warm world.