In honor of completing our Yoga is for Lovers challenge, I thought I would create this nice little introduction to the Anahata, or Heart Chakra.
Now believe me, there is more info out there on our chakral system them any of us will ever be able to absorb in this lifetime alone! So don’t get overwhelmed. This post is meant to be an easy intro to our 4th energy center. A nice little appetizer of sorts, and when your ready you can dive into your own study and learn more!
First, we’re going to look at the heart chakra key attributes:
- Location: In the center of the chest (the energy center is not located where our actual heart organ lies; rather, in the center of the chest and back area); it is the 4th chakra counting from the bottom of the spine in the traditional 7 chakra system. Because of its location, the heart chakra is associated to the cardiac system and the lungs. These organs are interdependent and rely on air and breathing to function properly.
- Color: Green or Pink – Green tends to be the color associated with healing. Almost all the healing herbs are green and since it is at the center of the color spectrum, it is the most balanced color. Pink is also a color of love and good health. New born babies are pink as well as most of our organs and muscles when they are healthy and strong.
- Symbol: Two intersecting triangles forming a 6-pointed star in a circle with 12 petals
- Original name in Sanskrit: Anahata
- Mantra Sound: YUM (Think about how great you feel after a good meal!). A special mantra to help expand love and compassion is OM MANI PADME HUM. You can repeat this mantra in meditation to gain greater access to these qualities.
- Element: Air – As such, its energy is associated to the breath and its movements, as well as the idea of spaciousness and connection with all things.
- Heart chakra healing stones: Pink quartz, clear quartz, jade, green calcite
- Essential oils: Rose, geranium, neroli, ylang ylang, jasmine, bergamot
- Glands or bodily functions: Thymus gland, responsible for hormone production and important in the regulation of the immune system.
According to the Hindu tradition, each chakra has a symbol. There are many different versions of these symbols, which often include great detail.
This is a very simple version of the traditional Heart Chakra symbol. Ecah chakra is shown within a circle surrounded by lotus petals. The circle represents the spinning wheel of energy within the chakra and the lotus petals represent the gradual awakening of the whole self.
The Heart chakra’s symbol is 2 triangles, one pointing up and the other down to represent balance. It is our center, with 3 chakras above and 3 below. This 6 pointed star is also known as the Star of David and it symbolizes the awakening of spirituality while being firmly planted on the ground.
~Our Heart Center is the space where the spirit and all of our love are joined.~
The main meanings or functions associated with the heart chakra are:
- Love for oneself and others
- Relating, relationships
- Compassion, empathy
- Forgiveness, acceptance
- Transformation, change
- Ability to grieve and reach peace
- Compassionate discernment
- Center of awareness, integration of insights
When the heart chakra is open, you may feel being deeply connected, the harmonious exchange of energy with all that is around you, and the appreciation of beauty. However, when there’s a blockage in the heart chakra, you may experience difficulties in your relating with others, such as excessive jealousy, codependency, or being closed down, withdrawn.
Signs your fourth chakra may be out of balance
The heart chakra can become imbalanced as a result of life experiences that have a strong emotional charge, physical ailments, or significant changes in your environment. It may manifests as a blockage in the energy flow or, on the contrary, a tendency to become overactive or have an excess of energy.
You can see the following signs of imbalance in the heart chakra :
- Being overly defensive
- Feeling closed down
- Jealousy; fear of intimacy
- Codependency, relying on other’s approval and attention, trying to please at all cost
- Always putting oneself in the role of the savior or the rescuer; or on the contrary, falling into victimization
- Excessive isolation, being recluse, antisocial
- Holding grudges, not being to forgive
At the physical level, it can manifest as:
- Respiratory ailments, such as lung infection, bronchitis
- Circulatory and heart-related issues
Simple ideas to balance the heart chakra
To get started, try out these few simple practices:
- Work with the breath to balance your energy; observe it, play with it with breathing exercises such as Nadi Shodhana or Alternate Nostril Breathing.
- Cultivate your appreciation for beauty, whether it’s in nature, people or in the arts
- Practice self-care and love your body up, from a good bath with rose essential oil to yoga poses opening the heart area
- Cultivate self-compassion and acceptance, especially with regards to your emotions and body
- Engage in activities that feed your heart
- Focus on receiving if you are naturally inclined to be a giver; and on giving if you’re more inclined to receive all the time
- Reflect on old wounds inherited from family relationships and come to terms with them compassionately; practice forgiveness deep within your heart
- Express your gratitude, even if it’s in silence; you can be grateful for the presence of other people in your life or simply for good things that make your life easier and happier
Heart Chakra Affirmations
- I am open to love.
- All love resides within my heart.
- I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
- I nurture my inner child. I am wanted and loved.
- I live in balance, in a state of gracefulness and gratitude.
- I love the beauty of nature and the animal world. I forgive myself.
- I am open to love and kindness.
- I am grateful for all the challenges that helped me to transform and open up to love.
- I am connected with other human beings.
- I feel a sense of unity with nature and animals.
- I accept things as they are.
- I am peaceful.
Of course, you can always check out our Yoga is for Lovers page and corresponding blogs for journal prompts, meditations, and yoga postures to help you become a little more in tune with your heart chakra!