Anahata Chakra, The Heart

Driving on the highway, Will (my darling, my dear, my 14 year-old son) points out big plumes of smoke rising into the sky. Traffic starts to slow. Eventually we pass an enormous, burned out semi, with oranges spilling all over the road. No one appears to be injured, but firefighters are still working. And as my car begins to make a noise like it’s dragging a large piece of metal, I try not to take it as an omen. More likely, it is my dread made manifest.

We pull in to camp Minikani and I immediately hit a sign (better the sign than one of the hollering campers lining the road). This elicits loud cheers from the welcome committee, and, to Will’s credit, he doesn’t shrink down in his seat. He just rolls with it – he’s used to me.

Leaving Minikani, minus one dear passenger, and my heart, I cry half of the way home (as my phone re-routes me from the smoke and oranges), gulping, breaking off all of my eyelashes (excessive eye-rubbing), and singing Desperado. It’s all very dramatic.

“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” 

Elizabeth Stone

The camp was two weeks long. Not sure how college will go? For me? (he said his goodbye with a hearty pat on my back and a send-thee-on-thy-way vibe).

The Heart Chakra

The heart chakra is located at the center of the spine, heart level. It is connected to unconditional love for ourselves and others, as well as compassion, empathy, joy, and forgiveness. This is where the me, me, me becomes WE.

It has been said that we are born with an open heart chakra but that it closes down as we “mature and become products of our culture”. This feels soo sad! And a lack of love early on can make it particularly hard to allow our sweet little hearts to open. But all is not lost! Even those born into the most trying of circumstances can heal and love, I know it, I’ve seen it.

The heart is about a love of life, and an awareness of the sacred in the everyday, in everything. What our hearts want us to know is that there is a oneness that we all share. And that BY loving we HAVE love.

Anahata, my dear

  • Qualities: peace, love, unity, joy, innocence
  • Color: Green, pink, and gold
  • Music: Choral (Note F)
  • Element: Air
  • Sensory Experience: Touch
  • Essential oils: Rose, lily of the valley, carnation
  • Crystals: Rose quartz, diamond, peridot
  • Mythological animal: Deer

Archetypes: The Lover and the Actor

The lover is the person who “knows that to love is to live.” And this is not just referring to romantic love, although there is a place here for that. This is someone who loves unconditionally, who can heal those tight, hard places with their warmth and acceptance. The lover is inclusive, sharing their love with everybody. A lover changes the world with their ability to unite us.

The actor, though. Steer clear. They love in a limited way, with judgment and criticism when someone doesn’t fit their mold. Their relationships dry up because they haven’t developed the capacity to hold love in their hearts. If someone falls short of the actors’ conditions, they withhold their love. They are the great imitators; they don’t know the true feeling. (Not trying to sound harsh: talking about archetypes here).

Deep healing comes through the heart chakra

The mystics said that the heart chakra is where God lives within each of us; where we recognize something bigger than ourselves. As we grow, we want, we feel, this heart connection to all things (to a river, a tree, a dog, a frog, a person); we feel a unity, and a sense of belonging. We remember that our hearts are pure and innocent; we know that our hearts are Spirit.

How can we get this love, this harmony? We get it by loving, and we start by loving ourselves (easier said than done, yes). Our brains are built to create an illusion of duality, of black and white, right and wrong, this or that. But the heart can help us see a more unified front, a way to stitch this life together with love.

How can we tell if our heart is closed off?

When the heart chakra is blocked, and lets remember that this blockage very likely happened as a mechanism of protection from circumstances where we needed to close down, we may not be able to receive love at all, or we might feel a deep sense of lack or loss regarding love. We might lack compassion for ourselves (and others). We are missing a certain tenderness, a vulnerability.

Physically, this closure can manifest as pain in the upper back or chest (but always get chest pain checked out, I know you know that), or tight shoulders (or, paradoxically, overly flexible shoulders).

Signs of a blocked heart chakra

  • Codependency
  • Manipulative behavior
  • Feelings of unworthiness
  • Inability to trust self and/or others
  • Lonliness
  • Isolating oneself
  • Holding grudges
  • Jealousy
  • Fear of intimacy
  • Defensiveness

How to balance the heart chakra

Even if we feel a little closed off, hurt, or scared to love, help can be found.

Look for a teacher, a therapist, or a friend to help, to talk to, to join you. Can you find that sense of oneness as you go about your day – eye contact with a loved one, the ground beneath your feet, that gross couple making out in the grocery store? Look for small ways to release feelings of lack, inferiority, or unworthiness. Spend time in nature, in silence, in solitude, and with positive people (or animals).

Since the heart chakra is associated with the element of air, get out and breath in the fresh air. Practice a loving-kindness meditation. Wear green, gold or pink. Read fun books, watch videos of people dancing, get up and dance yourself! – find ways to laugh and play.

Practice gratitude

Gratitude is key: whatever type of gratitude practice works. Gratitude journals are actually really fun and satisfying to re-read. Or text someone with one thing you are grateful for – I know I would love to get that text! Go around the dinner table and talk about what you are grateful for; lay in bed and think of three things that make you smile.

It’s also fun to make a list of things you love to do, and then start a regular practice of treating yourself to something from the list daily – or at least weekly. Small things, big things, you pick. Nurturing ourselves in this way opens us to feeling cared for, loved, and then we can nurture and love others, which also feels really really good.

Appreciate the people in your life: praise them! See all the good things they are and do, and tell them! When we seek the amazing in other people, we start to see the amazing inside ourselves, too.

You are not broken

Also: there is nothing wrong with you. You do not need fixing. The heart CAN heal itself. Love is everywhere and we just need to open our hearts to feel it. If we have had a romantic relationship fail, it may be because that person was not able to open up and love. When we love ourselves and our life, people will start to show up who are able to live by their hearts, able to let us in.

We are ALL cherished.

Heart Chakra Affirmations – expand these simple sentences to make them sing for YOU.

  • My heart is open
  • Loves resides in my heart
  • Love heals me
  • I love myself
  • I am love
  • I share myself with others
  • I am peace and light
  • I find love everywhere
  • I am surrounded by love
  • I am ready to receive love
  • Real love starts with me
  • I am letting love into my life
  • I forgive myself
  • I offer forgiveness…

Yoga Poses for heart chakra (heart openers)

  1. Cobra pose
  2. Upward facing dog pose
  3. Bridge pose
  4. Fish pose
  5. Bow pose
  6. Camel pose
  7. Wheel

Kundalini for the heart

  1. Crisscross Hands (Heart Opener) – helps open your heart, clears grief, and helps us forgive. It also stimulates the thymus gland, which is located in the upper chest and is associated with the anahata chakra, too – this will strengthen your immune system.
    • Sit in Easy Pose (crisscross applesauce) and extend both arms up and out, creating a “V” shape. Keep elbows straight and crisscross your arms in front of your face. Synchronize your movement with the breath of fire (mouth closed, fast sniffing in/out through nose) for about a minute and a half.
  2. Meditation/Exercise for inviting love this is for opening your heart to receive love. Instructions below, but find a video here for a quick tutorial.
    • Close eyes, focus at the third eye (between the eyebrows). The mantra is: Sat Kar Tar. Roll each “R” and keep the emphasis evenly on each syllable. As you say “Sat”, press your hands together in prayer pose. As you say “Kar”, extend your hands out from the shoulders about halfway to straight. As you say “Tar”, fully extend your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor. Bring arms back to prayer pose.
      • Do this for 3 minutes (can work up to 11 minutes). Then relax the hand into gyan mudra (below), meditate and allow the body to integrate.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Pastora says:

    I am so thankful for this post, for you and for the time you spend putting it together. I love the line where you say that they heart chakra is the place where the me me me becomes the we. Bravo. This post goes straight to the heart (!!) of what is potentially the most rewarding, meaning and purpose-filled in life: the connection to what is greater than us and shared by all that we long for, and the means to achieve it (actively loving others). This post could only be written by someone who has—through years of joys, heartache and openness to learning-achieved wisdom.

    1. jenny says:

      Stop it! Crying! Thank you so much for your support and kind, poetic words. Especially knowing that you are someone who looks for the divine in all, who shines the light on love and loving actions every day, who embodies loving and being loved. I’m so grateful for you.

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