Focus On: The Heart Chakra

Laura Cocconi
Written by Laura Cocconi

Sanskrit name: Anahata – unstruck
Element: Air
Colour: Green
Petals of the lotus: Twelve
Rights: To love
Physical association: Heart, lungs, circulatory system, arms, hands
Psychological function: Love
Challenge: Grief
Plane: The plane of balance
Sense organ: Skin
Predominant sense: Touch
Incense: Jasmin, lavender, rose
Herb: Yarrow, meadowsweet, oris root
Yoga position: Anjaneyasana and its variation

FocusOn: Heart Chakra

In Sanskrit Anahata means literally “sound produced without touching two parts” and at the same time “pure, clean” or “unstruck”. The name of this chakra is connected to the freshness that appears when we are able to become detached and to look at the different experiences of life with a state of mind-openness and expansion.

The meaning of the Heart Chakra symbol

The symbol for the Heart Chakra is traditionally composed of a circle with twelve petals and a downward-pointing triangle interlaced with an upward-pointing triangle, forming a six-pointed star or hexagram. The twelve petals, often coloured in red, match the disturbances of lust, fraud, indecision, anxiety, longing, arrogance, discrimination and defiance, that can easily sneak in our heart and upset it.

The intersecting triangles represent the air element and the union of seemingly opposite principles or types of energies, such as male and female, spirit and matter. The star that they form evokes the harmonious joining of forces and highlights the function of the heart chakra as a center of integration and connection.

At the level of Anahata chakra appears the possibility to integrate the two opposite forces and create an energy of cooperation and integration, which brings peace and a new perspective in the world. Think about the Yin-Yang symbol for instance.

Breath, love and life

The most commonly accepted location for the fourth chakra is at the center of the chest, between the breasts. It’s slightly to the left of the actual organ of the heart, from whom it takes its name. That’s why it is associated with the cardiac system and the lungs, organs that are interdependent and rely on air and the “breathing of life” to function properly.

Anahata moves love through our life. It is the center of our deep bonds with other beings, our sense of caring and compassion, our feelings of self-love, altruism, generosity, kindness, and respect. The energy of Anahata allows us to recognise that we are part of something larger, that we are interconnected within an intricate web of relationships extending through life and the universe. It suggests us to live our life with loving kindness and compassion towards others, to keep our heart open and inspire kindness, to create a safe and supportive environment.

When the Heart Chakra is blocked

In a state of openess and Anahata’s energy flow, you are not only loving others, you are also loving yourself. You know when you need to say no and when you need care and self nurturing.

But when this chakra becomes imbalanced as a result of life experiences that have a strong impact or significant changes in your environment, it may manifest as an energy blockage or, on the contrary, as a tendency to become overactive and excessive. You might feel overly defensive, closed down, jealous, relying on other’s approval and attention, trying to please at all cost, falling into victimisation, antisocial. On the physical level, it can show up as respiratory issues, such as lung infection, bronchitis or circulatory and heart-related problems.

How to rebalance the Heart Chakra

  • The best way to receive love is to give it! So give hugs and kisses, smile at everyone you see daily, try to forgive and move on (life is too short to hold grudges), give friends, family and co-workers positive affirmations and feedback. Do not criticise anyone or anything, including yourself. Focus on receiving if you are naturally inclined to be a giver, and on giving if you’re more inclined to receive all the time.
  • Express your gratitude, even if it’s in silence. You can be grateful for the presence of other people in your life or simply for good things that make your life happier. If you find it easier, make a written or mental list in your mind before going to sleep.
  • Learn “empathy”. It will open your mind and implement your kindness and compassion towards others.
  • Cultivate your appreciation for beauty, whether it’s in nature, people or works of art.
  • Any yoga pose that opens the area of the chest will help to balance the heart chakra. Some poses include camel, standing bow pose, and cow face pose.
  • Work with the breath to balance your energy. Observe it, play with it with breathing exercises.
  • Work on these believes you may have consciously or subconsciously in order to figure out where they come from and solve them.

Heart Chakra Affirmations

I am open to love.
All love resides within my heart.
I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
I nurture my inner child. I am wanted and loved.
I live in balance, in a state of gracefulness and gratitude.
I love the beauty of nature and the animal world. I forgive myself.
I am open to love and kindness.
I am grateful for all the challenges that helped me to transform and open up to love.
I am connected with other human beings.
I feel a sense of unity with nature and animals.
I accept things as they are.
I am peaceful.