Exploring the Chakras: The Heart – Anahata Chakra
The anahata chakra, also known as the heart chakra, is the fourth chakra in the tantric seven chakra system. The heart center is an internal place of true transformation since it is the seat of our emotions and inner being.
Physically, the heart keeps us alive, but its spiritual and emotional components are even more substantial in yoga. The anahata chakra is one of the richest chakras that many practitioners take decades to explore the profound opportunities of healing through love in the heart center.
Shifting from the lower chakras into the heart chakra is often a difficult transition to make because it requires deep vulnerability and emotional authenticity. But when you begin to explore the depths of your heart center, the opportunities for profound healing are limitless!
The Basics of the Anahata Chakra
In Sanskrit, the word anahata means unstruck, unhurt, unbeaten, or infinite sound. The correct anahata chakra pronunciation is “anāhata ” or “an-aa-hata.” This idea of unstruck sound relates to a form or manifestation of consciousness that lives in the heart. When this consciousness becomes more conscious, it assumes the form of sound and spins the wheel of deep healing in the heart center.
The anahata chakra is a vast realm that takes a strong foundation in the lower chakras to begin the process of exploration and healing. See below for a brief summary of the main details of the heart chakra.
Physical Location: In the center of the chest near the heart
Seed Sound: Yam ( यं )
Mudra: Gyan Mudra with one hand on the heart center
Action: Hands, movement
Organs: Heart, lungs, thymus, and skin
Deity: Vayu, Shiva, and Shakti
Symbol: Lotus flower with twelve petals and two intersecting triangles in the center
Stone: Rose Quartz, Emerald, Green Jade, Rhodonite, Malachite, and Aventurine
The Development of the Anahata Chakra
The heart chakra first develops between the age of 8 and 14 years old. During this stage of life, we are beginning to explore intimate relationships and awaken to the possibility of intimacy versus isolation. We may start to explore young love and how nourishing it can be to have a partner while also developing independence and differentiating from our parents.
The anahata chakra is also related to the development of sound and the universe itself. In yoga philosophy, it is believed that the entire universe began from the vibrations of sound, and the whole cosmos continues to vibrate at different frequencies of this sound. If you can quiet your mind enough, the ancient yogis believed that you could also hear this subtle vibrational sound in your heart center, connecting you with the origin and development of the universe itself.
The Emotions & Energetics of the Anahata Chakra
As you might have guessed, the anahata chakra is primarily associated with the emotions of love, compassion, generosity, forgiveness, kindness, and self-realization. When this chakra is open, you will readily be able to give and receive love, ease through the challenges of relationships, and access deep intimate connections with others and with your inner self.
The symbol of the anahata chakra also involves the union of two triangles, called a shatkona. This symbol represents the union of masculine and feminine, Shiva and Shakti, purusha and prakriti, or the supreme being and nature itself. We have many parts of ourselves, and through healing the heart center, you can unify these different parts and discover the integrated, whole version of you.
The common concept of following your heart is deeply related to the heart chakra because it relates to the idea that our conscious inner being resides in the heart center. The more connected we are to this inner being, the more we can be guided from our hearts and make decisions on our path to stay in line with our deep inner knowing.
We often get stuck in our heads, reasoning about things and weighing the pros and cons. But the anahata chakra teaches us that connecting with the heart center can truly guide us in the right direction and bring us closer to our life purpose.
How to Identify When Your Heart Chakra is Out of Balance
The anahata chakra is connected both with the physical heart and the emotional heart, so it is common to notice imbalances in both. See below for the primary signs that your anahata chakra is out of balance:
Mental, Emotional, & Spiritual Signs Your Anahata Chakra is Out of Balance:
• Lack of trust in intimate relationships
• Fear of rejection
• Attachment issues
• Co-dependency or over-dependency
• Difficulty giving or receiving affection
• Distant behavior in relationships
• Struggles around being vulnerable
• Problems with developing or maintaining relationships
• Inability to forgive
Physical Signs Your Anahata Chakra is Out of Balance:
• Heart palpitations or heart conditions
• Poor blood circulation
• Difficulty breathing
• High or low blood pressure
• Skin sensitivities or rashes
• Thymus disorders
• Upper back pain
• Slouching or hunched back
Have you noticed any of these signs or symptoms in your life? The first step to healing the heart chakra is to develop an awareness of your current situation but with deep love and compassion for yourself. This is not a judgment on you; this is an opportunity for healing, and remember to be kind to yourself in this process.
5 Nourishing Ways to Balance Your Anahata Chakra
1. Practice Healing Yoga Asana
Yoga practices for the anahata chakra typically focus on opening the chest and practicing deep compassion and self-nurturance. Heart chakra yoga requires the constant development of a loving mindset towards your body, sending nourishing and opening energy to every part of your inner being.
Yoga Poses for the Anahata Chakra:
• Melting Heart Pose or Extended Puppy Pose (Anahatasana)
• Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
• Wheel Pose (Chakrasana)
• Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
• Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
• Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
• Reclined Butterfly Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
• Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
• Warrior 1 Pose (Virabhadrasana I)
• Cat/Cow Pose (Marjariasana / Bitilasana)
2. Meditate on the Anahata Chakra
The anahata chakra is more easily accessible through meditation and settling into the quietness of your inner being. The heart is the seat of your inner self, so the more you connect with this part of yourself through meditation, the stronger and more open it will be.
Some meditation techniques that are particularly potent for the heart chakra include loving-kindness mediation, self-compassion practices, gratitude meditation, and heart-healing affirmations. Practice selfless love both towards yourself and others, and with this regular practice, your anahata chakra will expand with unimaginable healing power.
3. Awaken the Power of Prana
Air, like love, is constantly flowing around us, and we can either be open to its healing force or struggle to take it in, gasping for a breath. The anahata chakra is associated with the air element, so breathing techniques have a powerful impact on this chakra center.
Breathing practices that focus on balancing the air element in the body and cleansing the mind are particularly effective, such as anulom vilom or bhastrika pranayama. At a more fundamental level, the 3-part breath is lovely for this chakra because it expands each part of your lungs, including your chest. Finally, bhramari pranayama or the humming-bee breath is terrific for this chakra because it connects you with that “unstruck sound” crucial for the anahata chakra.
4. Nurture Your Subtle Body Through Sound
The anahata chakra is connected with sound, but it is sound at an even deeper level: the sound of silence. Anahata means “unstruck sound,” and to hear this subtle sound of the universe requires practicing deep quietness and introspection to tune into these vibrations. But the anahata chakra can still benefit from external sound as well as the practice of mantra repetition mentally rather than out loud.
The solfeggio frequency that harmonizes this chakra center is at 639 hertz, so listening to music or Tibetan singing bowls at this frequency can be profoundly healing and harmonizing for this chakra. See below for the top affirmations and mantras for the heart chakra:
• Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
• May all beings be happy.
• I am worthy of love.
• I love myself completely.
5. Embrace the Love of the Divine through Bhakti Yoga
The foundation of the anahata chakra is love towards yourself and others. But at an even higher level, this chakra is connected with a love of a greater power or the divine energy in the universe. No matter what you choose to call it, it is vital to connect with your higher power and practice bhakti yoga or the yoga of devotion for this chakra center.
Bhakti yoga is a deep and expansive practice, but at the core, it is a practice of profound love, devotion, and surrender to something greater than ourselves. Some excellent ways to connect to this higher power are through selfless service, prayer, meditation, chanting, japa, or journaling.
The heart chakra is an essential space for healing and transformation. As you begin your exploration into this space, remember to incorporate compassion towards yourself and others. It is vital to cultivate a balanced, unconditional form of love to heal this chakra and awaken from within.
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