move. smile. release. Uma Spender (previously Jessie Neave) - name in transition - new website coming soon!

Uma Spender (previously Jessie Neave) - name in transition - new website coming soon!

the throat, that spirituality thing

It’s a funny thing to admit, I know, but I have been a bit obsessed with the throat chakra for some time.  At a base level, Vishuddha, the throat chakra, is where we manifest our thoughts as words or sounds. In the Yoga tradition, it’s the place where we start to align our energies beyond the physical plane to something…spiritual.

Spirituality is such a tricky, sticky thing to talk and to write about, and for good reason! I love exploring and sharing ideas, but in doing so I am acutely aware of the invisible line between curiosity & dogma. I believe we all have our unique felt experience or glimpses of that sense of oneness, of being in our own highest alignment, and, that those profound moments of connection usually happen when we are actually just being in the practice.  For me this experience is most potent, most undeniable, when I am immersed in the practice of mantra and nada (sacred sound) yoga - especially when this being can happen with other people.  I used to think my throat centre was open & healthy…and then out of the blue this year brought a whole new layer of expansion. The result - a deeper love of sound & mantra, and, an even deeper awareness of “oneness”. Oh dear - it seems I’m getting more spiritual!

Exploring Vishuddha is exploring Yoga (& spirituality)'s biggest & most challenging themes; the foundational acceptance of advhaita (non-duality), and ananda (bliss consciousness). Even though I have understood this for a really long time on a theoretical level, I, like most of us still on the human side of enlightenment, spend a lot of time trapped in this idea that I am separate from Universal consciousness (or the Divine, Source, Spirit, God, Love - whatever word works for you), that living is somehow removed from spirituality. It is through a whole lot of disciplined practice that I have felt experiences of this advhaita, and that those experiences are more frequent and sustained. In meditation you may have felt it too...that epic moment where you get to the source of perceived duality - the belief pattern that tells you we are separate - and the fluctuations of the mind come to a silent halt...and then it starts all over again!

With practice we unify our consciousness to, well, everything.  This is big, BIG stuff - the essence perhaps, of that tricky, invisible line. When we take the practice beyond asana into meditation, sound & mantra, the possibility of true union, advhaita, starts to uncoil. 

Our human experience of consciousness is a battle that is most often won by the thinking mind, the ego…that which seeks to claim us as separate. But with practice, as you may have experienced, we can overcome the thinking mind to dwell in the awareness beyond - the awareness that is aware of the thoughts as they arise. This illusion of separation or duality is spread through other structures and areas of our existence - for example monotheism, or religion that places one God above humanity and creates a separation between us and our spirituality. Even worshipping in a church or other created structure separates us from the sense that everything in our environment is sacred, and somehow connected.

In the awakened state of advhaita we are no longer seeking the spiritual, or the divine, or consciousness, or God or whatever, advhaita is an epic ‘coming home’ as we realise we cannot possibly seek or strive for what we already are. Even the idea of “getting connected” feels like an insult to our true nature - in advhaita, in fact, we are connection.

Exploring spirituality, for me, is like stripping back layers of illusion. Each new layer has it’s message, it’s strength, it’s medicine and it’s challenge. We get to each layer as we are ready, in perfect time. Each layer is beautiful, and absolutely unique. The journey towards your own truth, your own centre, can not be compared to anyone else's….it is, however, a privilege to be able to share it.

I have recorded a new Yoga Nidra for you all about the awakening journey of love & will power through the chakras. Hopefully it will help you to understand my Vishuddha obsession just a little bit! Enjoy!

If you are interested in exploring the subtle body & Chakra System with me I have just booked dates in August for a 7 day immersion in Sideman, Bali Prana Body Retreat. - it's going to be so special!  

Om Namah Shivaya
“May the elements and consciousness of this creation abide in me in perfect manifestation”