Chakra Series: Anahata - The Heart Chakra

With awareness in the heart center, I invite my client to breathe into the chest and allow prana to fill the body and activate her Anahata chakra as we clear the emotions of a “heartwall” we have located during our session. This conscious breath sends healing energy throughout the body, reminding her to sing the “song of the self” as she lets go of years, life-times even, of unprocessed emotions which have seemingly “protected” her heart from pain.

Often seen as a green lotus - and more recently in the evolutionary process as a blue multi-petaled flower – the heart chakra is our vital center for connecting to the unconditional love that is our natural state of awareness.

Sitting in the center of the chest, in the cavity of the lungs, is not only the physical heart and other organs of that region, but the location for the energetic heart known as Anahata – the heart chakra. This vortex of energy acts as a mid-way point between the higher energy centers and the lower ones. It feeds and nourishes the nerve plexus in the thorax area and brings prana and awareness to the organs and glands of the chest region.

When fully activated and free, Anahata chakra allows access to the ability to self-heal on all levels of being, as well as to access the pure, non-judgmental love vibration that makes life truly joyful and worth living. The process of finding and releasing a heartwall, which is basically just an accumulation of unprocessed emotions meant to guard the heart, allows Anahata to truly do its job and harmonize the body into the love vibration and open the heart to both give and receive that love.

Before Anahata awakens fully, it is common to question your self-worth, to wonder if you are “good enough” and to not only judge the self, but to project the unresolved feelings (stored in your heartwall) about your own person and questioned value – onto others. An unawakened Anahata chakra radiates unresolved emotional traumas and heart blocks, which have kept you from fully living from a place of love and grace.

In the process of awakening this center, you must often come face-to-face with the emotions and feelings which have been suppressed from early childhood or past lives. Sometimes negative heart stuff is coming from unresolved genetic patterns, and though these emotions “are not ours” we have agreed to karmically play them out and work through them as a service to both our ancestry and the generations to come.

This time of reality, more than any other time, is that of the great karmic cleanse. Though the second chakra is mostly assigned the job of carrying unresolved karmic imprints, each and every chakra can hold onto resonant emotions which are more like the consciousness of that chakra – like feelings of self-love or self-doubt are “at home” in the heart center.

When trapped or unresolved emotions around the heart, which have built a wall around it, are realized and let go, the heart may feel a bit raw or tender as it reaches out to feel again all that is surrounding us in this world of vibration. Using specific mantras, mudras and other tools which support the heart chakra can be beneficial in assisting it to open with ease and function with support and strength.

Mantras for the Heart

The heart can be nourished with various different mantras. One sound that really soothes and harmonizes this center is to simply chant the sound of “MMMmmmmmm.” You can feel the vibration of this sound nourishing and gently vibrating in the heart. It is delicious to say and to experience the resonance of. Another supportive mantra for the heart chakra is to use the bija or “seed” mantra for the heart, which is “YAM” - which I always think of as “YUM” - again, tuning into the sweet and savory sensations of the love vibration in this vital center.

You may also simply chant “Hummmmmmmmmm” and feel the vibration of the hum deep in your heart while this subtle center seeks to harmonize with all of the other vital centers.

Mudras for the Heart

By placing the body or hands in certain positions, the vital energy is recirculated in order to support various energies, body areas or levels of consciousness.

Hridaya Mudra – is specific to the functioning of the heart and can help with actual physical healing as well as with the emotions of a tender or hurt heart.

Ganesha Mudra – done by interlacing fingers and pulling joined fists over the heart and adding resistance, can help to invoke the energy which will help to break down a heartwall or other blocks in one's path. Traditionally Ganesha is the manifestation of the aspect of the Divine, which removes obstacles and connects one with inner wisdom. Ganesha is usually “invoked” prior to any other activity or prayer and in this case, the Ganesha Mudra could become an excellent choice for a regular practice when the intention is to open the heart and find deeper connection and peace there.

Herbs and Foods for the Heart Chakra

Hawthorn berry has long been used as a tonic for the heart. Taken as a tea or an elixir over a period of time, hawthorn berry can relieve or even completely reverse both physical ailments as well as deep emotional pain.

Raw Cacao is an excellent food, not only for the physical heart, which is strengthened by the theobromine, but for the mood and attitude of the heart center by offering the release of anandamide into the bloodstream, the “bliss hormone” as it is often called. Raw Chocolate is also high in magnesium, great for the heart, and the history of Cacao is that of being “food for the Gods” - not a terrible offering to give to the holy of holies within your own body vehicle.

Cayenne Pepper is a fabulous “regulator” of the blood in the bloodstream and has thereby been used to equalize blood pressure in both high and low cases. By this same token, Cayenne makes a great ally when working to harmonize and balance the emotions of the heart as it helps to purge out those emotions which are not benefiting you, as well as helping you to settle into the full-fire of your personal truth – which isn't always easy to face. They say in herbal medicine school that cayenne will help to accelerate the benefits of any other herb you take it with, and therefore it is a great ally to use when working to activate the heart and center in love. Use with good intention and expect amplified results!

Crystals and Oils for the Heart

Pink and Green stones are usually the “go-to” colors for heart-chakra balancing and tuning in, though any stone might be “called” to be placed over the heart. It is up to the person to feel into the stones themselves, but for melting a cold or hardened heart, I have found no better remedy than the laying on of stones with pink rose quartz and Madagascar pink calcite. Amazonite, the lighter green stone with white stripes through it, is also a favorite for reminding the heart to stay in alignment with one's personal passion and greater truth.

Often, when removing a heartwall, the area is tender afterwards. The use of rose, geranium, ylang ylang or lavender essential oils are greatly beneficial to help the heart mend and function in a new “open” fashion.

By taking the time to work directly with the heart and intending for the vulnerable self to be exposed and faced, you can begin to own the depth and the power inherent in an open and activated heart center. This is not accomplished without both bravery and surrender. But once you can align the heart, what was once promised to yogis of old can be true for you – and that is the knowledge of the Gift Giving Tree which becomes the open Heart Chakra.

When one is aligned and harmonized in the heart, whatever one dreams upon or “wishes” finds its way into reality, for the heart is the “cross-roads” of the lower and higher centers. It is the place where the higher mind merges into and manifests as matter, and where the longings of the physical world make their voices known into the Cosmos. The Heart Center is truly the temple of the physical body, which is why I believe it is such a crucial, yet delicate, space in which to work.

It is important to look at our heart-wounds and to make sure we are not projecting them on the people in our reality. The heart chakra can be a portal of love and healing, or it can be the greatest block we have to manifesting our dreams. It has been shown, scientifically, that our hearts emit waves, very strongly up to 10 feet around the body. In truth, these heart-waves extend even further from the body, but the most potent field we have with which we interact with others in the outside world, is that of the heart. By bringing our heart waves into conscious coherence by working with the heart chakra and by grounding into forgiveness and appreciation, we may find our reality becoming more responsive and helpful, for it feels the waves we emit even more than the words we say.

An open heart chakra is a changed person. If you sense you still have work to do in your own heart chakra, remember: we are layered like an onion, and it is normal to have more deep work to do. Approach the heart with self-love and care and prepare yourself to uncover your most beautiful self.

Watch this guided meditation for your heart chakra: