Before diving in, you may find it helpful to read my Introduction to the Chakras and posts about the first, second and third chakras.
Located in the centre of the chest, the fourth chakra is the ‘bridge’ between the lower chakras which represent our place in the physical world, and the higher chakras which represent our connection to the spiritual world.
The heart chakra or anahata chakra governs your ability to:
- give and receive love
- be compassionate, understanding and empathetic
- love, respect and trust yourself
- accept and forgive yourself and others
- build healthy relationships
- feel connected to the world around you.
It is also responsible for the health of your heart, lungs, blood, arms, hands and circulatory system.
When this energy centre is out of balance, you may find that you:
- struggle to open up to and trust others, or end up in unhealthy or codependent relationships
- lack self-love and self-belief
- experience challenges related to your heart and lungs
- are quick to blame and find it hard to forgive
- are judgemental towards yourself and others
- struggle to see other people’s points of view
- miss the beauty that surrounds you in everyday life
- lack gratitude for and a love of life.
Harmonise this energy centre and let your heart bloom with these tools.
1. Open your heart with yoga
For some of us, the heart is depleted; we give a huge amount of love, time and energy away to others, leaving very little for ourselves. Others build metaphorical ‘walls’ around the heart to guard against heartbreak and loss; we let very few people in and the idea of dismantling those walls can elicit feelings of vulnerability.
Direct love towards yourself, nourish your heart space and replenish your vital life force with this slow, replenishing sequence.
It isn’t selfish to take time out to care for yourself, it’s essential. And you deserve to indulge in the love and care you so freely give out to others.
2. Cultivate loving kindness
It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short-term and the long-term for both yourself and others will come. – Dalai Lama
As you know by now, your energy has a ripple effect on all the people around you. This guided meditation, based on the Buddhist practice of loving kindness, will help you cultivate and extend feelings of love and compassion for yourself and others. As you listen, imagine your positive energy emanating outwards.
3. Harness the power of your breath
Associated with the lungs and circulatory system, breath is crucial to the health of this energy centre. When it comes to the breath we often short change ourselves, only using a small proportion of our lung capacity.
Diaphragmatic breathing helps shift stagnant energy, awaken the heart chakra, improve our circulation and promote feelings of calm and relaxation. Head over to this post to find out how and why you should practise diaphragmatic breathing.
4. Essential oils
I’ve heard it said that the things you are most repelled by are the most powerful teachers. When I first cracked open a bottle of geranium essential oil, I found the aroma repugnant; indescribably offensive. Hmmmm….
It turns out, geranium essential oil is ‘the emotional healer’, helping soften anger, release pain and heal emotional wounds. It fosters emotional love, forgiveness and connection. So, I place my faith in Mother Nature, blend it with bergamot and frankincense oils and apply this healing balm to my heart. I allow the earth’s bounty to work its magick! Over time, my distaste for geranium essential oil has softened. So, too have the barriers around my heart.
If you enjoy the smell of geranium essential oil, wear it as a natural perfume so you are reminded to move through your day with an open heart.
5. Cook up a (green) storm
Foods that are green – like spinach, broccoli, asparagus and cabbage – do wonders for this chakra. Prepare and cook these abundant, green vegetables with love and, before sitting down to eat, take a moment to express gratitude for your meal.
This chakra is my favourite to work with because it is brought into harmony when we do loving things for ourselves. In addition to the suggestions above, why not:
- take yourself on a date
- indulge in a new book and read it outside in the sunshine
- book yourself in for a massage or energy treatment
- do something you love, like creating art or cooking
- give back to others in the form of time or money. There are many people in this world who are less privileged than us and whose lives would be changed from receiving some love and/or support. Find a cause that resonates with you!