Most of us can be a little … emotional … from time to time. Anger, pride, happiness, joy, fear, sadness – the range of human emotions is limitless +can definitely get out-of-control.
Like the old saying goes, “I let my emotions get the best of me.”
Your fourth chakra, anahata, located at the center of your chest, is the center of your emotions + self-definition. It’s also the center of your social connections and the link between your physical body + natural instincts (the focus of the first 3 chakras) + your expressive, intelligent, higher-connected mind (the focus of the upper 3 chakras).
Being smack dab in the center of the 7 chakras, it’s no surprise that your anahata chakra is a key focus in the majority of Yoga/asana classes. Getting a grip on your emotions + appreciating the unique, quirky, awesome person that you are can take a lifetime of work, and we never stop practicing (much like Yoga).
As you move up the chakra system to anahata, you start to move beyond the physical world + into more subtle realms: emotions, connections with others, and most importantly, your connection with yourself. In Yogic philosophy, your anahata chakra is also where your soul resides.
Now there’s lots of different names for it: soul, spirit, essence, connection to the Divine, jiva – this is the part of yourself that has no labels, no names, no definitions. This is the pure, unchanging, luminous Self (notice the capital S) that you are + always will be.
Pretty freakin’ cool, huh!?
Much like our emotions + self-appreciation, connecting with your jiva is a lifelong practice with infinite rewards. Why? Since we’ve already started dabbling into the more esoteric parts of Yogic philosophy, let’s keep going. Your jiva – in all it’s pure, unalterable spectacularness – is directly connected to every other jiva. Every living thing has a jiva and a jiva never dies. Your jiva is the immortal part of you + it’s linked to every other jiva because all jiva are made from the same thing: Divine energy.
Whoa … cosmic.
As with all of the 7 chakras, each chakra has a specific location along the back of your body, along with associated body parts, colors, natural elements, sounds, senses, asana poses, + key physical/mental symptoms to tell if that particular chakra is spinning efficiently (instead of slow or out-of-control).
Meet your Heart Chakra – Anahata:
Location: Center of your chest (a.k.a. the base of your sternum)
Associated Body Parts: Heart, lungs (a.k.a. wings of the heart), middle back, arms, hands
Focus: Compassion, love, self-acceptance, forgiveness, ability to feel empathy for all
When Spinning Slowly, you may feel: Anti-social, lonely, depressed, isolated, intolerant, critical, grief, a fear of intimacy, a lack of empathy
When Spinning Too Quickly, you may feel: Codependent, jealous, lack of boundaries, urge to be a martyr or a people pleaser
When Spinning Efficiently, you’ll feel: Self-loving, caring, compassionate, empathetic, accepting, peaceful, content
Let’s bring this all back down to Earth for a moment. As I mentioned, your anahata chakras is the center of your social connections + sense of self. Humans are naturally social creatures + when you feel cut off from others (physically, mentally, emotionally), you suffer.
You want to belong somewhere with people like you + to have a marked impact on the world before your life ends. In your anahata chakra, you learn to manage + use your emotions creatively to improve yourself, you connections with others, and leave an uplifting mark on the planet. You want your life to mean something + your anahata chakra is where you begin to make that happen.
And remember: your jiva never dies. 😉
If you experience any of the symptoms of your anahata chakra spinning too slow or out-of-control, there are a number of easy + delightful things you can do to help it return to spinning efficiently:
- Get More Green: … and I’m not talking about money. Adding more green into your day can bring a sense of comfort, connection, + purpose to your choices + actions. Studies have shown that being able to see a plant from your desk can make you less stressed + more productive – that’s pretty simple! Some ideas: a small jade plant (considered by Asian cultures to be lucky, a green smoothie, a green pen to take notes throughout the day (write all your random ideas down!).
- Just Breathe: Your heart isn’t the only thing sitting at your anahata chakra. Your lungs (aka the wings of your heart) play a vital role in your well-being, and sometimes all you need is a little fresh air. A quick walk outside or a few deep belly breaths with your eyes closed can help revitalize your anahata chakra + reconnect you with your natural state of compassion, curiosity, contentment.
- Helpful Asana: With the focus on your chest + sense of touch, the physical practices for your anahata chakra involve opening the front + back spaces of your chest, as well as the sides of your ribs to increase the space available for your lungs to move comfortably. Also, poses that incorporate the arms + hands with gentle backbends are featured. Suggestions: Bhujangasana (Cobra), Salabhasana (Locust), Garudasana (Eagle), Ustrasana (Camel), Parighasana (Gate), Vasisthasana (Side Plank), Dhanurasana (Bow), Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (Revolved Head-to-Knee), + any asana that brings you a personal sense of joy + comfort
We’re halfway through our journey up the chakras system + things are really starting to get interesting. Bridging your body + mind together is a tall task for your anahata chakra, but it’s ready for the challenge.
Remember: your mind, your body, + your life is constantly changing, which means that your chakras are constantly adjusting to those changes. Keeping your chakras spinning efficiently is a practice, not a destination 🙂
Up next: Vishuddha a.k.a your Throat Chakra (stay tuned!)
What is ONE thing you can 100% proudly embrace about yourself?
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