The heart chakra is the fourth chakra. It is located in the center of the chest near the heart and is associated with the element of air and the color green. The Sanskrit name for the heart chakra is “Anahata,” meaning “unstruck” or “unhurt.” This chakra is associated with compassion, love, and beauty. Your heart chakra is open and balanced when love and compassion flows within you. You also are quick to forgive and accept others and yourself. You may feel deeply connected with a harmonious exchange of energy with all that is around you. You will appreciate beauty in all things. With an open heart chakra, you can transcend personal identity and move beyond the ego. Imbalance may result in the inability to forgive; feelings of jealousy, grief, and anger; fear of betrayal; self-imposed isolation; and feelings of hatred toward yourself and others.
The name “Anahata” means not that you have never been hurt, instead, it implies that beneath the pain associated with past experiences lies a spiritual place that is pure and unhurt. Everyone has experienced hurt, both physical and mental, in past and present relationships and circumstances. Some people choose to live in the place of grievances and either feel sorry for themselves, anger at the wrong doer or the world, and/or the need for revenge. Those with a healthy heart chakra choose to feel the pain fully, then to let it go and move on. You, as an individual, must make the choice of what you do with the hurt. By letting it go, you open you heart to new people and new experiences. New chances to experience and to share love, compassion, and understanding. Holding on to past hurt will hold you back, cutting you off from new opportunities to love.
As the fourth chakra, the heart chakra is the center of the other chakras. It is where the physical (root, sacral, and solar plexus) and spiritual (throat, third eye, and crown) chakras meet. It is said to bridge earthly and spiritual aspirations.
Physiological: The heart chakra is located at the center of the chest and includes the heart, cardiac plexus, thymus gland, lungs, and breasts. It also rules the lymphatic system. Hormone production and regulation of the immune system are also associated with the heart chakra.
Imbalance: The heart chakra can become imbalanced due to life experiences that have a strong emotional charge, suffering from physical ailments, or following significant changes to your environment. When the heart chakra is out of balance, it may affect your ability to love yourself and others, feelings of trust, and the need for approval.
Physical symptoms may manifest as respiratory ailments such as lung infections or bronchitis or through circulatory and heart-related issues.
Non-physical disorders may include being overly defensive; feelings of jealousy; being codependent, requiring approval and attention from others, needing to be a savior or rescuer, or alternatively, putting oneself in the role of victim needing to be saved; feelings of isolation and withholding emotions; and holding on to grudges, with an inability or unwillingness to forgive.
Restoring Balance: The following practices may be helpful in restoring balance to the heart chakra.
- Meditate (search for Chakra Meditation on your favorite music app). Focus on an emerald green orb spinning slowly near your heart. Feel the glow from the orb healing hurt and pain that is stored in your heart. Feel the warmth of healing love flowing from the orb and into your heart, and through your breathing, spread throughout your body.
- Implement sound therapy (search for Chakra Meditation on your favorite music app). Chanting or toning sounds can help bring you back to balance. Sounds create vibrations in the body, and these vibrations help the cells work together in synchronistic harmony. The mantra sound that corresponds to the heart chakra is “YUM.” A special mantra to help expand love and compassion is OM MANI PADME HUM.
- Practice yoga. To open and balance your heart chakra, practice poses that focus on your shoulders and chest including cobra, cow face, eagle, camel, fish, cat, and upward facing dog.
- Conduct mindful breathing. Pause in your busy schedule and focus on your breath. Feel it enter and flow through your body.
- Express love and gratitude. Give hugs and kisses. Smile, even if you don’t feel like smiling. Compliment others and provide friends, family, and co-workers positive affirmations and feedback. Avoid criticizing others, and more importantly, yourself. Say thank you and mean it.
- Cultivate your appreciation for beauty. If you find yourself feeling frustrated in traffic or in line at a store, look around and find three things that bring you joy or are beautiful – someone singing in their car, a candy you enjoyed in childhood, a color that is particularly bright and vibrant.
- Practice self-care. Take a bath with essential oils, read a book, have a massage, get a pedicure. Give love to and show appreciation for your body and your mind.
- Journal. Journaling is a wonderful way to work through grievances from the past. Let yourself feel the old wounds, accept and come to terms with them, and forgive and move on from them.
- Use stones to help you focus on your heart chakra. Although the color associated with the heart chakra is green, the auric color of an active heart chakra can also be seen as pink or smoky pink. Stones associated with this chakra include jade; green calcite, tourmaline, or jasper; and rose or clear quartz.
- Use essential oils to connect with your heart chakra. Essential oils associated with this chakra include chamomile, rose, geranium, melissa, neroli, sandalwood, ylang ylang, jasmine, lavender, vanilla, and bergamot.
The more in tune you become with your emotions and physical body, the easier it will be for you to sense when your chakra is out of balance. Becoming aware when you are experiencing imbalance will make it easier for you to intentionally apply tools to help you regain your balance.
When the heart chakra is balanced, you are able to feel and express love: love for self, love for others, love for life, and love of experiences.