I’m one of life’s talkers. A familiar sight to my mum in my school reports – she’s a “chatterbox” and “if she applied herself and stopped chatting in class she would have such potential”.
This was the shape of things to come. I chose a career in advertising almost entirely dependant on having the gift of the gab, have spent many MANY hours sat in the pub talking, analysing and sharing every detail of my life with friends, the insane (terror inducing for my partner) 4am sleep chat and hysterical laughter… even this blog. I love to express myself in every way and nothing is too personal. I am a classic heart on sleeve wearer – in fact talking has become something of therapy to me. I tell myself it’s good for the soul.
Talking has also landed me in hot water at times too. Gossiping was my modus operandi – the thrill of telling secrets that were never mine to be told.
I think is easy to misconstrue a talker as a person full of confidence, someone who doesn’t mind speaking out for what the believe in, that awkward moment after a presentation when the speaker asks the audience “do you have any questions?”, and they may as well have said “take all your clothes off and dance around them” the amount of dodging eye contact that ensues. They’re all waiting for “the talker” to break the silence.
Being a talker, I can say that talking can be a shield – a protective barrier, as if you talk enough, folk believe they are getting all they need from you, whereas really it’s just a handy coat you can pull on at any time.
I read a book a few years ago called Quiet by Susan Cain (I would highly recommend). Lots of interesting stuff in there about introverts and extroverts – whether it’s learned or inherent behaviour, how they co-exist in society. One of the most profound outtakes for me, was that we’re all on a sliding scale – that’ll well be both in different percentages, because anyone 100% of either would be deemed clinically insane.
Reading this book lead me to think about the impression I give or leave on people, good and bad. How I communicate, allowing my brain and mouth to work together before I express myself, how I must train my own monkey mind to be my friend not foe.
I still regularly regret what may have spilled from my tongue!
I also have always found it difficult to be on my own. I used to look on enviously of people in coffee shops armed with just a laptop or a book or worse…nothing!? Being alone with just their thoughts…unbearable! Those mind doors better left shut might blow open! And all of those horrible insecurities might rush out into the world!
In those moments alone experiencing the power of silence. Of not filling the air, or void with chatter. Quieting the whirring of the mind. Of sitting quietly without distraction. This has been an entirely alien concept to me until recently.
In my ongoing Yoga studies, I’m in the process of understanding and practising with the energies of the Chakras. I have an ongoing energetic pull to vishuddhi, the throat chakra – which makes a heck of a lot of sense after all these years of chattering! It’s the fifth chakra in the body, located in the throat and relates to the mouth, voice, thyroid and lungs…basically anything to assist us talking, laughing, singing and communicating.
The belief is that the throat chakra governs self-expression and our ability to communicate effectively and clearly.
When this Chakra is balanced, you are able to express yourself, you are confident and assured, you are clear and effective. You’ll feel specious around the neck and vocal chords, loose around the shoulders, and open to spiritual and personal truths.
It’s also an easy one to unbalance – an angry row; not being able to find your voice or stand your ground; retreating as you don’t believe your opinion is valued…in a society that favours debate and challenge and extrovertedness so it’s important to connect with a nurture this Chakra. And if in doubt, it’s also ok to not use that Chakra and just be quiet.
Here are some ways you can do that…
ASANA – Camel / Ustrasana: This strong backbend opens the heart, and when the head is tilted back is exposed the vishuddhi. This is an extremely vulnerable asana, opening the whole front of the body, and so should only be practised when the body is fully warmed up. From kneeling on the ground, come to kneeling up. Rotate the hips forward, almost as though string was drawing them further, and bring the palms fingers faced down on the sacram. Important here to activate you bum so your lower back is protected and do so through the whole posture. Coming onto the tip toes, lift the chest towards the sky, and let this movement bring you into a gentle backbend. Stay here, or to deepen the backbend, bring the heels of the palms onto the heels of her feet, keep lifting the chest and breath here. To come into the most advanced version of the posture, untuck the toes and bring the tops of the feet to the mat, and gently lift the chin towards the sky opening the throat Chakra. Keep breathing deeply here. To come out, tuck the chin first, and roll the body from the hips round to the right or left, outstretching the hands out in front into Childs Pose for a few breaths.
Prepare to feel connected but emotional after this one.
PRANAYAMA – Ujjayi Breath: Loosely translated as Victorious Breath, but more commonly known as Ocean Breath in Western teaching and literally stimulates the back of the throat, to build gentle fire in the body. Use this breath at the beginning of your practise both to connect with and create warming energy to guide you through the rest of your practise. Keeping the mouth closed, breath as normal through the nose. After a few breaths, slightly constrict the back of the throat, almost as though you were trying out your stage whisper, making a small sound maybe like the ocean waves. It’s nice to visualise the breath here moving from the belly, up through the body, via the throat, and then out of he nose.
PRANAYAMA MEDITATION – Bhramari: This one is my favourites. It’s contours total magic when shared in a room with others – it’s impossible not to walk away feeling moved. Come to a comfortable cross-legged position, spine long and chin slightly tucked. Be still here for a few moments observing the natural tide of breath moving in and out of the body. Bring the hands towards to ears and gently place the first fingers onto the little lip of cartilage between your cheek and ear and push inwards to begin to block out the external sounds. Close the eyes. Inhale, and on the exhale, with the mouth closed make a humming noise at the back of the throat, and keep humming through in the inhale and exhale. For an extra step, rub the top and bottom set of teeth across each other to deeper the sensation. Continue for a few breaths and then stop and sit quietly in the energy you’ve created in the body.