You may know that we are said to have seven main energy centres in our bodies, that are often known as chakras. The first is located at the base of our spine, and they move upwards towares the crown of our head. At the centre is the heart chakra, or Anahata in Sanskrit, which translates to unstuck or unhurt.
The location of this chakra centre is important because it is positioned directly between the chakras relating to matter (the lower 3) and also the chakras relating to spirit (the upper 3). It is the emotional centre and source of love and compassion.
When the heart chakra is open, these feelings of universal love, joy, forgiveness, acceptance and gratitude flow freely. However, when the heart chakra is blocked or closed life can feel very different. Grief, anger, fear of betrayal and jealousy are typically felt, as well as shyness and feelings of loneliness. This disconnected state can also give rise to hatred, towards the self and others.
Alternatively the heart chakra can become overactive, generally to compensate for a separate chakra that may be blocked. An overactive heart can be identified in individuals who live to be people pleasers, they are often matyrs, putting their own needs last. It can also be seen in people who struggle with strong feelings of jealousy and co-dependency.
While it is simple to say, just let the negative feelings go, focus on the positive, the reality is that it doesn’t always help! There are however, some very simple meditation techniques that you can try to balance and open your heart chakra, which makes for a happier life all round!
The first and most simple way to open your heart chakra is with a deep breathing meditation. Find a quiet space where you can sit comfortably, cross legged is ideal. Begin to make your breathing more focused, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Gradually slow your breathing and leave a gap of a few seconds between each breath. Be aware of how your chest expands and falls, giving your heart space to stretch and open. Imagine that you are unzipping your chest and allowing your heart to be exposed to the air. Relish that feeling of vulnerability and allow yourself to be calm in that state.
This can also be coupled with a simple mental image of the sky, the ocean or a meadow perhaps. Somewhere vast and expansive, but where you feel at peace.
There are no rules when it comes to this kind of meditation. You can choose music if that helps. There are sone specific tones designed to connect with you individual chakras on a vibrational level, otherwise a Tibetan singing bowl could be used. You can continue with the breathing for as long as you feel comfortable, and you can also do it anywhere that feels good to you – even on the move!
You can deepen the simple meditation above by incorporating some visualisation when you are in a relaced state. Again there are a few options, the only thing that really matters is that you feel comfortable with what you are doing. If one of these suggestions doesn’t resonate with you, or makes you feel silly then just try another one.
The colour associated with the heart chakra is green, so while you are breathing try to imagine a soft green light. It could be emanating from your heart chakra, filling the world with your love, or perhaps it could be streaming into your energy centre and filling your body with the green light. A popular visualisation is to imagine that your body is radiating soft green or pink light, light an aura all around you. You can choose see this radiating love energy interacting with those around you, sparkling brightly, or softly pulsing. Allow yourself to imagine whatever feels good to you.
Another suggestion for visualisation meditation for the heart chakra, is to picture a wheel of energy. Chakras are frequently described as vortexes of whirling energy, and you can use this image to bring yours to life. When you are seated and relaxed begin to imagine the energy moving throughout your body. You may feel the life force in your fingertips, in your nose and stomach. In your mind, direct the energy towards the central wheel at your heart chakra. Focus all of your energy there and allow the wheel to begin spinning as a result. It might start to glow, spinning faster and faster as the blockages are released and you let it flow freely.
A final suggestion for visualisation techniques incorporates all seven of the chakras. Once again, when you are sitting comfortably upright, with your breathing relaxed and in a calm state of mind, begin to imagine a snake colied up at the base of your spine, in the root chakra. If you are uncomfortable with the snake image try a ball of light. As you breath, allow the snake or light, to lengthen and expand, bringing each energy centre life and light as it makes its way up the length of the spine to your crown chakra at the top of your head. The more clearly you can imagine this energy moving upwards and activating each chakra in turn, the greater the benefits you will feel.
Mantras and affirmations are a wonderful way to keep your heart chakra open. These can be used for your own benefit, and also shared with others. The heart chakra loves to give and share love, as it opens your heart to receiving even more love.
You can try to say ‘Yam‘ or ‘Yum‘, slowly and deliberately, either while you are meditating or even while you are washing the dishes. The vibration around these words is thought to open your heart chakra.
You can also try speaking or writing down positive affirmations to instil feelings of gratitude and love. Let people know that you appreciate them, be sure to express good vibes when you feel them too. Compliment, hug and kiss as much as possible! These are all forms of mini-meditation that you can include in your day wherever you are.
Yoga is a wonderful way to combine fitness, strength, meditation and mindfulness. This discipline keeps you in the present moment, where you cannot feel stressed about things that have passed, nor anxious about what may still happen. That is almost impossible when you are engrossed in twisting this bit of your body that way, and stretching that bit of your body over there.
The best poses to open and unlock the heart chakra are those that open the chest area, baring the rib cage, making us feel vulnerable in some ways, yet wide open to giving and receiving love and energy.
There are some asanas that may be of specific benefit to your heart chakra. The camel pose in particular is a great one to try:
Ustrasana (Camel Pose): Kneel on the floor with your legs hip width apart. Press your shins and the tops of your feet into the floor. Place your hands on the back of your hips. Inhale and slowly lift your heart up and allow your hips to move forward. Draw your shoulders back as you breathe into the posture then together once your in the asana. Hold for 3-5 breaths then take a moment in Balasana (child’s pose). ~ Yoganonymous
You can also try the cobra pose:
Lie on your stomach with your feet extended out, the tops of your feet touching the mat and your forehead touching the ground. Your hands are under the shoulders.
Press the tops of your feet into the mat and allow your knees to lift off the ground slightly. Let your pubic bone drop down into the mat to stabilize your lower back.
Take a breath in as your raise your head lifting the upper body using the power of your back. Breath out. Continue engaging your legs and pushing your pelvis into the floor to protect your lower back.
On your next in breath use the power of your arms to lift your body until you have extended as far as you can go. Make sure your arms are not fully straightened as this may hyper extend your elbows and destabilize the pose.
Feel your chest opening and your whole front of the body opening gently. Feel the prana flowing through your chest and into your Anahata chakra.
Take two to three full breaths in this pose and then release. ~ Chakra Anatomy
Creativity can help to open the heart chakra in a number of ways. For one thing, it encourages fun. If you are getting stuck into a piece of poetry or painting it can feel really good, however there is one rule here. There should be as little judgement as possible. No worrying that you are not good enough, or what somebody might think. The best kind of creativity that you can do to support your heart chakra is the kind you do freely!
Mud pies, beading, singing, drumming….whatever works for you as an outlet. Try new ways of channeling your inner joy, you may be surprised!
You can include various essential oils in your day to day life to support the opening of your heart chakra too. There are some specific essences that are thought to encourage your heart to unlock. Try lavender, rose and sandalwood. You can burn the oils in an oil burner, add them to your bath water or even combine them with a base oil for a wonderful heart based massage. This would benefit you even if you massaged a love one. Especially if you visualise your heart beaming love into them as you massage.
Various crystals are associated with the heart chakra, so you can also incorporate them into both your meditation and also daily life to keep your heart chakra open and flowing. The colour green is connected to this central chakra as well as pink, so the crystals that you can use are rose quartz, emerald and jade.
You can either wear the crystals, or place them around you to gain the benefits.
Another fantastic way to unlock the heart chakra is by getting out into nature. This can be called walking-meditation or grounding (if you have bare feet). But for me it is as simple as being surrounded by greenery! The leaves, grass, fresh air and natural sounds bring me to life, and this is my absolute favourite form of meditation for the heart. Whenever I feel emotionally overwhelmed, getting outside, especially around trees always helps. I couldn’t say if the green aspect is just a coincidence, but my heart is always at peace in those kind of environments.
Whatever makes your heart happy is what you should do to open your chakra. Whether that looks like what other people call meditation or not. Simply being present while you wash your car, sending out good vibes to your aunty who is at the dentist or stroking your dog, you can open your heart throughout each day and let the energy flow wherever you are.
What are your thoughts? Do you have a blocked or overactive heart chakra? Or are you cynical about the whole thing? We would love to hear from you!
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