Our body is a complex structure with layers of physical, astral, and spiritual bodies. The astral or energy body is a complex system governed by energy centers known as chakras. Anahata Chakra, also called Heart Chakra, is the fourth energy center out of the seven chakras. This chakra is an essential component of our overall well-being, as it helps us to balance our emotions, cultivate a deeper sense of self-awareness, and build meaningful relationships with others.
In this complete chakra guide, we will explore the defining characteristics of the fourth energy center, as well as important signs and symptoms of a blockage in the system. We will also explain Heart Chakra healing in depth and how to unblock and open it with powerful yogic tools like yoga poses, chakra meditation, and positive affirmations.
What Is the Heart Chakra?
Among the seven primary energy centers that exist within the human body, the Heart Chakra - also known as Anahata - is the fourth and often considered the most crucial.
It is the bridge between the lower and upper chakras, balancing the material and spiritual worlds and facilitating our emotional and physical well-being. Pure love opens the fourth chakra, allowing us to receive and give love unconditionally.
What Is the Meaning of Anahata Chakra?
In Sanskrit, anahata means “unstruck” and it describes the Heart Chakra perfectly. Balancing the energy of this chakra enables us to tap into the power of anahata and experience love in its purest form without any attachment or expectation. Therefore, we become "unstuck" from negative emotions, past traumas, and limiting beliefs that may be holding us back.
In this state of openness and vulnerability, we can develop deeper connections with ourselves and others, resulting in more fulfilling relationships and a greater sense of self.
Where Is the Heart Chakra Located?
The chakras are the seven energy centers located along our spine in the subtle, astral body. The Heart Chakra is located in the center of our chest, close to our physical heart.
What Is the Heart Chakra Responsible for?
This chakra is responsible for the storage and distribution of Prana prana, the life force energy that flows through our bodies, and for maintaining the air element in our system.
Located in the center of our chest, close to our physical heart, the Heart Chakra is closely connected with the heart, lungs, and the thymus gland, regulating the flow of energy in this area of the body.
Characteristics of the Heart Chakra
Chakras are spheres in shape but generally they are drawn in artistic vision, which symbolizes their characteristics. The Heart Chakra symbol consists of:
- 12 petals, which symbolize the 12 sounds that can come from the rotation of the chakra
- Green color, the reflection of a combination of fire from below and sky from above
- Two triangles representing the dualities of like and dislike
- Seed mantra Yam in the center
The element of the fourth chakra is air or Vayu. We get air from the atmosphere when we breathe. If we don’t refresh the air element regularly, we feel fatigued, extremely low, and disconnected from our emotions and creative spirit.
The air element is also associated with our emotional balance and sense of joy in life. So, when we refresh the element, our creativity and emotions are in harmony.
The air element surrounds the Heart Chakra. The element has no color of its own, but the blue color of the space element from above and the yellow of the fire element below reflect on it, creating the green color. This is why the Heart Chakra color is green.
The green color of the Anahata Chakra is associated with nature and tenderness. It also suggests stability and represents growth and renewed, healthy relationships.
The prana associated with the Heart Chakra is ‘Prana’. Known as the prana of life, it is the energy that we receive from the air we breathe. This prana is essential for the healthy functioning of the heart, which is key to our ability to stay alive and thrive.
The Heart Chakra is associated with the primary emotions of unconditional love and attachment. When this energy center is in balance, we experience unconditional love in its purest form. This is the kind of love that we feel for every being equally and without any condition, regardless of our relationship with them or their species.
On the other hand, attachment is a conditional emotion. It is the act of giving someone or something more value than they actually have. We tend to get attached to people, things, and even certain habits, like the way we dress and the foods we eat.
When the Anahata Chakra is imbalanced, we may experience unhealthy attachment or detachment, and the opposite occurs when this energy center is open and aligned.
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Heart Chakra: Signs & Symptoms
What Happens When the Heart Chakra Is Balanced and Activated?
When the fourth energy center is rotating at its optimum speed and the air element is refreshing regularly, we say it is in balance. A balanced and activated Anahata Chakra can manifest as inner peace, compassion, and emotional balance. Some of the most common open Heart Chakra symptoms include:
- Feeling unconditional love and respect for others
- Having healthy relationships with no attachments or addictions
- Experiencing peace and joy within, regardless of external conditions
- Forming deep and meaningful connections with others effortlessly
- Trusting others and feeling comfortable with vulnerability
- Feeling content and at ease with oneself
The Anahata Chakra is also connected to the heart, lungs, and the thymus gland in the physical body. Therefore, a balanced fourth chakra maintains the healthy functioning of these vital organs and glands.
What Happens When the Heart Chakra Is Blocked?
When the energy flow in the fourth chakra is disrupted or imbalanced, it can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and an inability to connect with oneself and others. People may find it difficult to trust or share their feelings with others. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may indicate that your Heart Chakra requires rebalancing and healing:
- Fear of rejection
- Lack of trust in a committed relationship
- Issues with giving and receiving affection
- Over-dependency in a relationship
- Distant behavior with people who care for you
- Tough and unemotional appearance while feeling vulnerable
- Physical symptoms such as heart palpitation, poor blood circulation, heart pain, angina, or even problems like asthma.
How to Unblock & Open the Heart Chakra
Heart Chakra healing brings an abundance of empathy, compassion, and love. This applies not only to others but also to oneself. A balanced chakra allows you to be who you are instead of attempting to live up to external expectation. Here are the top yogic techniques to unblock and heal your Anahata Chakra.
Opening Heart Chakra Meditation
Chakra meditation can open the heart and restore proper energy flow to the blocked energy center. Meditation is a deeply personal practice that clears the path to experience peace within. Incorporating Sanskrit mantras can enhance your practice, while the Vayu Mudra for the Heart Chakra balances the air element in the body.
The Heart Chakra mantra is YAM (pronounced Yan-gm). Chanting this mantra heals both the physical and the spiritual heart center. It also makes a person more open to experiencing unconditional love and compassion.
To chant this mantra, sit cross-legged and take some easy breaths. Focus on your fourth energy center and start chanting YAM. Feel the vibrations in the chest and visualize the chakra vibrating with the sound. The vibrations of chanting the mantra Yam produce a flow of positive feelings, bringing balance to your emotional state and well-being.
Affirmations can help increase the positive energy associated with the fourth energy center. Some examples of positive Heart Chakra affirmations include:
- I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
- I am wanted and loved.
- My heart is open to giving love.
- I forgive myself.
- I live in a state of grace and gratefulness.
- I value love above attachment.
- I am worthy of love.
- I love all beings equally.
- I am in harmony with myself and others.
Pranayama Breathing Exercises
The fourth chakra element is air, making pranayama and breathing exercises a gateway to opening this energy center. One of the most beneficial breathwork techniques that not only balances the right and left brain hemispheres but also the Anahata Chakra is Anulom Vilom. Practicing Anulom Vilom brings calmness to both body and mind.
Heart Chakra Yoga Poses
Yoga asanas, or postures, can help open and balance the Anahata Chakra by boosting circulation, reducing tension, and fostering relaxation in the body. Below, we break down the best yoga poses to stimulate the heart center and bring balance to the energy system. To see results, be sure to practice these poses regularly and incorporate them into a balanced and comfortable practice.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Camel Pose expands the chest and opens the fourth chakra by kneeling on the ground and arching the back. It can aid in the discharge of suppressed emotions and the development of compassion.
- Start kneeling on the ground with your thighs parallel to the mat and your knees hip-width apart. Keep the tops of your feet facing down and your shins flat on the mat.
- Place your hands on your lower back and gently push your palms and fingers into your back.
- Roll your shoulders back and down while exhaling and raise your chest upwards toward the ceiling. Maintain a relaxed neck.
- Start to arch your back as you exhale, lowering your hands to your heels. Keep your hips above your knees and only extend as far as you feel comfortable.
- With your fingers pointing toward your toes, try to rest your hands on your heels. Keep your hands on your lower back if you are unable to reach your heels, you can also modify the pose with a yoga block for additional support and stability.
- Focus on opening the chest and heart center while you hold the pose for 5–10 deep breaths.
- Bring your hands back to your lower back slowly to exit the pose.
Half Bridge Pose (Ardha Setu Bandhasana)
Half Bridge Pose provides a nourishing stretch in the chest by raising your hips to the sky. This creates more space in the heart center for the energy to flow freely. Inversion postures like Bridge Pose also help release tension in the back, improve blood flow, and enhance feelings of love and openness.
- Lying on your back, bend your knees and bring your feet to your hips.
- Keep your heels on the ground and your feet hip-width apart.
- Place your hands by your sides with the palms facing down.
- Inhale, pushing your hands into the mat and gently raise your hips toward the ceiling.
- Bring your chest to your chin while extending your hands toward your ankles.
- Take natural breaths and continue to raise your pelvis up, feeling your chest open.
Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
Fish Pose is a reclining back-bending asana that pushes your chest out toward the sky, creating a powerful stretch that can crack open the Anahata Chakra. With the heart open, you can release negative emotions and cultivate positive feelings of compassion and love.
- Start lying flat on your back with your legs and feet together.
- Place your hands beneath your hips with palms facing down and the elbows pointing outward.
- Take a deep breath in, turn your gaze to your feet, and shift your weight onto your elbows.
- Attempt to get your elbows as close together as you can.
- Open your chest as you inhale, then tilt your head back until your crown is resting on the ground.
- Expand your chest and lungs as you take deep, natural breaths.
Easy Cow Face Pose (Sukha Gomukhasana)
Easy Cow Face is a heart-opening pose that releases stress and tension in the shoulders and upper back. With the chest open and prana flowing freely, you will feel more relaxed and emotionally stable.
- Sit on your knees and stack your hips on your heels.
- Extend your right arm out to the side, bend your elbow down, and nestle your hand in between your shoulder blades and lower back with your palm facing up.
- Then, lift your left arm over your head and bend your elbow, placing your left palm in between your shoulder blades (palm touching the back).
- Intertwine your hands behind your back, in between your shoulder blades, and feel the chest and heart begin to open and release.
Extended Cobra Pose (Vistrit Bhujangasana)
This balancing backbend strengthens the muscles in the back, shoulders, and arms while also opening the heart and increasing prana in Anahata Chakra. This opening can help purge buried emotions and promote self-love.
- Lay on your stomach with your hands near to your chest and your forehead on the ground.
- Legs are spaced either at hip or shoulder width.
- Reach forward and up with your torso while pressing your hands firmly against the ground.
- Keep the front of your pelvis firmly on the floor and raise your entire torso as high as you can.
- Place your hands on the floor and arch your spine backward.
- Keep your neck extended and look up, back, or even diagonally.
- Maintain the pose as long as is comfortable and breathe naturally.
The chakras cannot be balanced without a proper, nutritional diet. For long-term results, the diet should refresh the element associated with the chakra. For the Heart Chakra, a diet that is warm, oily, and helps to release air is considered the best. The predominant color of the Anahata Chakra is green. Eating foods of the same color as the chakra you are trying to heal can also balance the energy flow around that area. This includes spinach, kale, broccoli, matcha, green apples, green tea, and cucumbers.
The energy of the Heart Chakra has a deep impact on our personality and well-being. A meaningful and happy life can only be achieved when our Anahata Chakra is balanced. Heart Chakra healing brings trust, joy, and peace, which helps us develop a stronger relationship with ourselves and others.
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