Tonight I was teaching the students some abdominal work . One area that gets stressed when people do abdominal exercises is the neck and throat. Have you experienced that yourself? I certainly have, and one antidote to release the neck and soften the throat is to keep the backs of the armpits engaged – as in squeezing in. The trapezium releases the shoulders and pressure is alleviated.
The throat is such an important part of one’s body. It’s where the endocrine gland is located which controls how quickly one uses energy and how sensitive the body is to other hormones. Besides affecting metabolism, disorders of the thyroid can affect one’s appetite.
Normally, we feel hunger and thirst in the throat area and these are true physical needs, but often we want food or drink just to change our psychological state – a glass of wine to relax, a serve of ice cream as comfort food.
One way that yoga helps us is when it increases mindfulness and sensitivity to bodily needs. With awareness, we choose the quality and quantity of food we eat; we want to nourish ourselves by making healthy food choices and control the amount eaten.
Yoga can also support us in reducing stress, so we don’t eat impulsively. This in turn creates the space for more calm and thoughtful food choices and eating. You eat when hungry, rather than because it’s the regular time to eat, and you choose to stop eating when you are satisfied, rather than over full.
As you become more deeply involved in yoga practice, you are more centred. You are more established in your inner values and, as a result, make more judicious choices.
Perfect concentration on the throat frees one from hunger and thirst.*
*The Essence of Yoga – Reflections on the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, by Bernard Bouanchaud.