“When you touch the celestial in your heart, you will realize that the beauty of your soul is so pure, so vast and so devastating that you have no option but to merge with it. You have no option but to feel the rhythm of the universe in the rhythm of your heart.”– Amit Ray
Mystical, magical, brilliant and bright… A spinning disk of green light… Love, compassion and generosity are key attributes of the fourth energy center – Anahata Chakra.
Let’s float into a beginner’s guide to the Heart Chakra and unpack:
History Of The Chakras
“The Seven Gods have seven spears and seven lights. They hold seven glories.”– Rig Veda 8.28.5 – Translated by David Frawley
Described in the Vedas, a large body of religious texts from ancient India which are thought to have been compiled between 1500 and 500 BC, and derived from the Sanskrit root cakra – chakra means “wheel” or “disk”.
Chakras are concentrated energy centers of the body, often visualized and depicted as spinning wheels of light.
Rooted in the ancient philosophies of Hinduism and Buddhism, chakras hold a prominent place in the yogic science.
The chakra system says that the human body consists not only of the physical body: bones, tissues and organs, but also of energy fields layered around the physical being. These layers form the subtle body, or the energy body.
Energy Channels Which Pass Through The Chakras
According to Eastern medicine, we have over 72,000 invisible channels called nadis circulating through our bodies.
They carry life force energy, referred to as Prana in Indian systems and Chi in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
Prana is omnipresent and omnipotent, and continuously flows through three major nadis – which connect with the thousands of minor nadis to distribute prana throughout the whole body and beyond – along the spinal column.
The three main channels start at the base of the spine and ascend through the head.
- Sushumna Nadi – The central energy channel runs from the base of the spine to crown of the head.
- Ida Nadi – The lunar energy channel represents Yin, which is symbolic of the moon, the left side of body, the feminine.
- Pingala Nadi – The solar energy channel delineates Yang, noted as the sun, the right side, the masculine qualities.
Ida and Pingala Nadis crisscross each other as they spiral upwards and connect to opposite nostrils. Where Ida and Pingala intersect with each other and Sushumna, are the seven main chakras.
The chakras define cross sections of the physical human body, in the form of nerve plexuses, which house organ systems.And understanding where the gross anatomy fits into this seemingly esoteric chaos tends to open (third) eyes to the perfect organization, deeper magic and higher connections available when we unite with these inner sources that correspond to the elements out in the Universe.
Here are the primary chakras:
- Muladhara Chakra – Root Chakra
- Svadhishthana Chakra – Sacral Chakra
- Manipura Chakra – Solar Plexus Chakra
- Anahata Chakra – Heart Chakra
- Vishuddha Chakra – Throat Chakra
- Ajna Chakra – Third Eye Chakra
- Sahastrara Chakra – Crown Chakra
Chakras are responsible for lovingly taking in, incorporating and emanating energy to keep us functioning at optimal levels. When a major or minor chakra in our energetic body is blocked or not functioning properly, illness is more prone to occur – physically, psychologically and spiritually.
Well-being on all levels can affect and is affected by the chakras.
Not taking in enough energy, through proper nourishment of the mind, body and soul, may lead to or be caused by depression. By bypassing feelings such as anger, or not speaking our truth, we may be unconsciously impeding healthy energy flow.
Physically, each chakra governs specific organs of the body which come along with hormones and emotions…
When chakras are constricted, blocked or too open, organs don’t operate effectively which contributes to disease, fluctuating energy levels, emotional imbalances, negative thought patterns and general lack of wellbeing.
Working with the chakra system is tapping into external and internal forces so that we may feel and function our best, in harmony with the world around and within us. The ancient yogis understood that to change our life, we have to effect change from within. One way to alter our inner reality is working with the chakras.
What is the Heart Chakra?
Anahata – the Sanskrit name for the Heart Chakra – translates to:
“Unstruck” or “Unbeaten” or “Unhurt”
The Heart Chakra connects the lower Chakras to the upper. It is the center of the Chakra system, the seat of the Soul. Located at the level of the thymus gland, this gateway and invitation to love determines your sense of touch and enables you to feel compassion, generosity and respect towards yourself and others.
Well-being, compassion and unconditional love reside here. Located in your chest, above the sternum, at the centre of the cardiac plexus, its energy infuses love and compassion – the opposite of fear – into every bit of our being and beyond.
Anahata is most often associated with the color green – sometimes pink – and the Air element.
For me, and many of my teachers and students, concentrating upon the heart is a powerful practice. Not only is the heart and all it represents a beautiful subject to offer the subjective mind, but it’s said that sending awareness to the heart actually, quantifiably amplifies the electric waves that emanate from the heart center – the waves upon which we send intention out into the quantum field, to be drawn back to us by the electric waves radiating from a little higher up, the head.
Heart Chakra Symbol
Each chakra symbol has a color associated with it, and other geometric elements inside and outside of the sacred circle. In some artwork, the Sanskrit bija mantra of the chakra is depicted in the center. A unique number of lotus petals always encases the entire symbol.
Associated with the element of Air, the Heart Chakra, fuels compassion towards the self and others. Unique because it’s the connection between the three lower chakras and the three higher chakras, at the essence of this chakra is potent energy with the power to illuminate the compassion, love and beauty in life. And the beautiful symbol encompasses this.
- A downward-pointing triangle (feminine energy) interlaces with an upward-pointing triangle (masculine energy), to form a hexagram, or six-pointed star. The intersecting shapes represent the air element and its omnipresent quality as well as symbolize the union of opposite principles.
- As well, the star and petals combine to represent the 72,000 energy channels, or nadis. This is also symbolic of the harmonious joining of forces at the heart – the central chakra that unites the whole system.
- The circle is all about what comes around goes around – a nod toward the concept of karma, as well as physical blood flow.
- The twelve petals are often depicted with the color red and symbolize the twelve divine qualities associated with the heart: love, unity, harmony, peace, empathy, understanding, purity, clarity, compassion, forgiveness, kindness and bliss.
- The majority of the Heart Chakra symbol is typically colored green, though sometimes seen, in the mind’s eye, as pink.
Is Your Heart Chakra Balanced or Blocked
Balanced Heart Chakra
When we have an open Heart Chakra we feel compassion. An aligned Heart Chakra initiates generosity, loving energy, allows us to feel self-respect, inner peace, and enables us to love others and ourselves.
Someone with a balanced Anahata is in flow with life and feels open to all experiences. Challenges – especially relationship issues – are resolved with relative ease. Love, compassion and joy surrounds those in heart energy alignment, and connects them to the world and their loved ones.
Blocked Heart Chakra
Interestingly, many people who are relatively balanced in the upper chakras are off-kilter in the lower ones. This can stem from beliefs deeply engrained during upbringing through an array of potential first chakra quakes throughout childhood and into adulthood.
The Chakras spin and attract energy that is on the same frequency, and in turn sends it back out – like attracts like.
The more positive energy a chakra consumes, the more positive energy it releases and the more positivity it magnetizes back. However, the same goes for negativity.
Presence and awareness are crucial when it comes to unblocking, attracting and manifesting.
Symptoms of Heart Chakra blockage can include:
- Grudge holding
- Fear of intimacy
- Difficulty trusting others
- Choosing the victim or rescuer role
As with the other energy centers, the two main reasons your Heart Chakra may not function properly are due to an overactive or under-active flow of energy (prana) which may cause the following indications of imbalance:
- Mental – isolates oneself, playing/feeling the victim or rescuer, untrusting
- Emotional – over-loving/suffocation, rage/anger, bitterness, fear of abandonment
- Physical – heart disease, asthma, lung issues, upper back and shoulder problems, wrist or hand pain
Heart Chakra Healing
Heart Chakra Healing Stones
Everything in the universe has a vibrational frequency, including crystals and gemstones.
Crystals carry healing properties that connect to each chakra – and the elements within that resonate with that outside of us – uniquely. Stones hold vibrational energy that resonate with our energy centers to heal the body, mind, and soul.
Gemstones are believed to have a host of physical health benefits, such as reducing anxiety, blood pressure, chronic pain, and a lowering chances of disease. Emotional trauma, negative thoughts and energies are also thought to be released by working with stones.
So, let’s figure out which stone to use and how to use it!
Heart Chakra Crystals
Rose Quartz, Green Aventurine, Rhodochrosite, Rhodonite, Ammonite, Malachite, Unakite.
Some believe that your stone will speak to you – notice if you feel a different vibration when holding a specific stone in your hand or near your Chakra. Or choose one from this list that you find beautiful!
How to use healing stones for the Fourth Chakra:
- Meditate: Hold the stone in your hand, or place it on or near the body part associated with this Chakra. Repeat a mantra or the seed sound (see below) to amplify balancing energies.
- Decorate: Place the stones around your home to fill your personal space with balancing energy.
- Wear: Keep stones in your pocket or bag, or wrap a stone in wire or string to wear as a necklace, bracelet, ring or earrings.
Essential Oils for the Fourth Chakra
It is said that essential oils can restore balance to the Chakras – aromatherapy oils too have a vibration and hold frequency. Apply them to pulse points, anoint the Chakra location, put a few drops in the bath or a diffuser. Here are some to consider.
- Rose: Encourages love towards self and others, compassion and gentleness, the desire to pursue enlightenment via the heart.
- Pine: Helps release old wounds and move forward, softens heart following painful emotions.
Mantra for the Heart Chakra
Each energy center has a one-syllable Bija, or seed, mantra that activates its vitality and power. Chanting the mantra can alter, purify and harmonize the flow of energy.
Focus your awareness on the physical location of the Chakra as you chant its bija mantra to feel connected, joyful and radiant.
Solar Plexus Chakra bija mantra: Yam
Affirmations for Anahata Chakra
Affirmations are positive statements that can help you challenge and overcome negative thoughts, encourage yourself, boost self-esteem, relieve anxiety, increase self-love, and expand upon the tangible as well as the mystical properties of the chakras.
There are affirmations to help access and elevate willpower, endurance, your sense of security, connection with nature and stability with wellness including physical, mental and emotional health, spirituality… Even finances!
How to choose an affirmation
Simply choose an existing affirmation that resonates with you in the moment – reading it feels like a cuddle or elicits an emotional response or inspiration. Or create one for yourself – this may come to you intuitively, or you might be inspired by ours.
The affirmations here are only suggestions. Please feel free to add affirmations that feel empowering, leave behind those that do not, or come up with your own!
Heart Chakra Affirmations
Heart Chakra affirmations can help heal and activate the energy center that powers your divine experience and amplifies your capacity to love and be loved. By powering your intentions through affirmations, this chakra can be balanced and allow more alignment in life – internal and external.
Practice these Heart Chakra affirmations to elevate your compassion, accept others, and improve your forgiveness, loyalty and courage. Commitment to yourself and in relationship can be positively, profoundly affected by working with Heart Chakra affirmations.
Basic Heart Chakra Affirmations
- I am open to give and receive love.
- I love and accept myself.
- I forgive myself and others.
- I am fully open to love.
- My heart is full of love.
- I am spacious.
- I am the air.
- I live my life in alignment with my heart.
How to practice Heart Chakra affirmations
Everyone’s style varies – according to body type, time available, emotional and energetic needs, state of mind – and it’s likely that your choices will evolve through the short and long seasons of life pending how you’re feeling and what you’re seeking.
Here are some loose guidelines and tips to get started. Feel free to experiment and cuddle accordingly to suit your needs!
- To practice Heart Chakra meditation, find a sweet spot – many prefer a quiet place.
- Get comfortable, like you would for meditation – seated or lying down, with the spine as straight as possible.
- Focus on the space in the center of the chest – the location of the Heart Chakra. You might roll a little (seated cat-cows or belly dancer’esque motion in the ribcage) to help hone in on Anahata. See if you can find and feel a sense of buoyancy.
- Breathe. Consider trying sama vritti – often called equal or coherent breathing – where the length of the exhalation matches the length of the inhalation. No prescribed count, your own pace, deep breathing, rolling circularly from inhale to exhale and back again.
- Read your chosen affirmation over and over, committing it to memory if possible. Perhaps eventually softening your gaze or closing your eyes, if that feels safe, as you continue to say it aloud or silently.
- As you repeat the affirmation, visualize the translucent green color of the Heart Chakra and imagine it flowing into your energy center. This may appear as an expansion of the color from the center through your body into the space around you, or an increase in vibrancy or saturation, with your inhalation, followed by the color shrinking back to a small point or soft glow with the contraction of your exhalation.
- Truly, deeply engage – immerse in the sensation of the feeling of the words of the Heart Chakra affirmation.
Or you may wish to follow a guided meditation on the heart chakra.
Heart Chakra Yoga Poses
The following heart-opening asanas can help you tune into the energy of your heart chakra:
- Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
- Dancer’s Pose (Natarajasana)
- Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)
- Puppy Pose (Anahatasana)
- Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
- Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
Pranayama Breathwork For The Heart Chakra
Deep breathing with a focus on the heart space can be powerful.
Anulom Vilom, or alternate nostril breathing is also often recommended for coherence between body, heart, and mind.
When your fourth center is aligned, you’ll be able to access buoyant Air energy, and tap into your compassionate side. You will find forgiveness, acceptance, loyalty and resolution to conflict. Working with your Heart Chakra can help you to experience the divine magic and beauty of the Self!
If you enjoyed this article, check out this one on Ways to Make New Like-Minded Friends!