Chakra Series Part Five: Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Welcome back to the Chakra Series! Today, we’re taking a look at the Heart Chakra. If you need a brief refresher, you can follow the links for the Solar Plexus, Sacral and Root chakras.

Known as Anahata Chakra in Sanskrit, this is the fourth main Chakra. Its element is air, its main color is green, although pink is also associated with it. Its name means “unstruck,” meaning that moment before the sound is created.

Heart-Chakra-Web
Image: J Billings Photography. Green dot my own.

The Heart Chakra falls in middle of the seven main chakras; three below it and three above. While the lower ones are focused more on the physicality of our being, the upper three govern the mental, the internal, and the connection to Higher Consciousness. It is considered a gateway to the higher Self, where physical and energetic merge. When Healers talk about working with the emotional to help heal the physical (and vice versa), this is where the two merge.

The Heart Chakra focuses on love (self-love as well as love of others), balance, relationships, intimacy, self acceptance, acceptance of others, and devotion. Physically, the lungs, heart, pericardium, arms and hands are affected by it.

Those with a balanced Heart Chakra are compassionate, loving, empathetic individuals. They are accepting and loving of themselves, giving, peaceful, balanced people. They are also blessed with a good immune system.

When one’s Heart Chakra is underactive, it manifests in antisocial, withdrawn and/or cold behavior. They are often critical, judgemental, and intolerant; not only of others but of themselves as well. They can be lonely and isolated, and depressed. They can be afraid of relationships and intimacy, and lacy empathy for others.

The overactive Chakra shows up as codependency and clinginess, poor or non-existent boundaries, jealousy, and overly sacrificing (you know that tendency to never say no to requests at the expense of your own health and wellness? Yeah, that).

Ailments such as disorders of the heart, lungs, breasts, and arms indicate a disordered Heart Chakra. Shortness of breath or asthma, circulation issues, a weak immune system, and tension and pain in the neck, shoulders and chest are all symptoms.

The demon of Anahata is grief, and anyone who has ever experienced heartbreak and deep loss knows this intimately. Grief can also be found in the trauma and abuses that often trigger under- or over-activeness: rejection, abandonment, loss, shaming or constant criticism, divorce or death of a loved one, abuse of any kind, and betrayal.

It can be extremely difficult to find your way back from grief. It often feels impossible. While the physical manifestations usually ease with time, the emotional/mental side can often feel as fresh as the first moment you experienced it.

Unlike the Manipura Chakra, where action rules, much of the work needed to heal a heart is internal. I say it with every post in this series: please seek professional help as needed! In dealing with grief and the traumas and abuses that trigger issues in the Heart, it is more important than ever to seek a trusted, caring individual to help you in your healing process. Depending on the depth and severity of your experiences, it could be a trusted friend, a support group, or a counselor, therapist, or spiritual advisor.

Yoga of the Heart (Bhakti Yoga) can be instrumental in healing your Chakra. Heart opening asanas and breath work all help to expand or calm as needed. Journaling and other work that promotes self-discovery and self-acceptance can also be very effective.

In Buddhism, there is something called a Metta Practice. Also known as the LovingKindness Meditation, it helps a person to see that we are all connected. It teaches us to see the human-ness of others and how love, compassion, and kindness positively affect everyone. Including those we really, really don’t get along with. You can click this link to be redirected to some directions for practicing this meditation.

Mantras that can help in your practice include:

  • I am worthy of love
  • I am loving to myself and others
  • There is an infinite supply of love
  • I live in balance with others
  • I am allowed to take care of myself

Heart Chakra work can be painful, but also extremely beneficial. Ironically, it can also be easier to start here than some of the lower or upper Chakras. Once things start moving here, a cascade effect can happen and the other Chakras naturally start realigning and balancing.

As always, please be kind to yourself when doing Chakra work. Take care of yourself, and monitor if you need to work a little harder or take a break. And, as always, please seek professional help as needed. Because I’m just an MT with a lot of books and internet access. Unlike Bones, I’m not a doctor.

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Yes, I know… not the “real” McCoy. I just liked the face he made.

References:
Judith, A. (2004). Eastern Body, Western Mind (2nd Edition). Celestial Arts Publishing, Berkeley CA.
Judith, A. (2012). Wheels of Life: The Classic Guide to the Chakra System (2nd Edition). Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury, MN.
Mercier, P. (2000). Chakras: Balance Your Body’s Energy for Health and Harmony. Godsfield Press, New York, NY.
Salzberg, S. (online). What is Metta Mediation? Discovering your capacity for lovingkindness. Tricycle Magazine. https://tricycle.org/magazine/metta-practice/