Anahata – Heart Chakra
The Heart chakra is situated in the centre of the chest at the height of the thymus gland (right behind the sternum). In Sanskrit this chakra is called Anahata, meaning ‘infinite’ ‘boundless’, ‘unhurt’ or ‘unstruck’, pure. Anahata is associated with love, compassion towards ourselves and towards others, gratitude.
The element associated with Anahata chakra is Air. So Air and Space are very much qualities associated with the heart chakra. This energy centre invites us to discover the infinite space within us, like the sky.
It asks us to move beyond our illusions of boundaries – be they physical, mental, emotional and spiritual and grants us the gift of freedom. It’s where we begin to transcend ourselves and the world. Green is the colour for this chakra
Anahata – Physical And Emotional
On a physical level we associate Anahata with the heart, the lungs, arms and hands and the thymus gland. Because of its connection to our sense of Touch and action, it is associated with the skin and actions of the hands.
Working on the physical heart space through asana is a beautiful step to help open the heart on all levels – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. When we work on the body, tightness and stagnation present in the body will come to the surface automatically. If we can find the patience and the wisdom to just sit with it, watch it without judgment and understand the deeper lessons, meanings and connections of all that arises and then consciously let it go.
Anahata is associated with our ability to make decisions from the heart. In the lower chakras, Manipura is our decision-making centre but we decide from our more base emotions and desires. Anahata is about “following one’s heart” so decisions are based on one’s higher self and from your inner compass.
On an emotional level, the heart chakra is related to being able to love yourself. Being able to give and receive love and forgiveness in equal measure. It means feeling kindness and compassion for yourself and others. Having a sense of ‘we’ instead of only ‘I’.
Mentally it’s about giving and sharing, without expecting anything in return. It’s about being able to say ‘no’ and nurture yourself.
Anahata out of balance
Imbalance of the heart chakra can be experienced as loneliness, a feeling that you don’t belong or fit in. Of feeling of separation and disconnectedness. This could manifest itself as cold-heartedness towards yourself and/or others. At the other end of the scale, it could develop into an overactive people-pleasing attitude, willing to do anything for anyone for attention or approval.
Resentment is another quality of imbalance associated with this chakra. When someone really hurts you, it hits you in the heart. If you cannot let go or forgive, you’re left with this weight on your heart that seems to be always present (which is where we get the expression ‘a heavy heart’. We try to let go mentally, but emotionally we don’t seem to be able to shake the negative feelings and habits.
Coming into balance
Anahata is awakened and balanced by asana practice, pranayama and mantra. Its bija seed sound is Yam. Meditation on the Heart chakra grants the superpower siddhis of being able to leave and enter the body at will.
Poses that target the back and front of chest and stimulate Anahata would include Ustrasana (Camel Pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra pose), Camatkarasana (Wild Thing) and Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel).
You might use the colour green when meditating or use the Padma Mudra (Lotus Mudra) and chanting Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu! (May all beings be happy and free).