Welcome to the chakra series – if you want to know more about your inner workings, how Eastern and Western philosophies unite, and how your physical self relates to your emotional, mental, and spiritual self….
Then you’re 100% in the right place!
Today, we’re exploring the fourth chakra – Anahata.
At this point in our journey, you should be feeling a sense of grounding, free flowing, and fire burning as our first three energy centers have been awakened and are now working towards a more harmonic state…. and if not, don’t fret, today is a new opportunity to get started.
The fourth chakra element is air, which represents freedom, openness, expansiveness, freshness, spaciousness, lightness, and simplicity. It’s like the saying goes ” a breath of fresh air” – this is what it feels like to have our heart chakra awakened + energized.
In the lower three chakras, we focus on elements that are in a fixed state – Earth is rigid and concrete, water sits or flows to the bottom, and fire always burns upwards. When we get to the heart chakra, the air element, it disperses everywhere, filling the space evenly and creating a sense of balance. These qualities – expansive and free flowing – allows us to explore the deeper meaning of love, our internal and external relationships, the ability to bond with others, and the act of healing (physically, mentally, and spiritually).
So with that said, let’s get into it – below is a DEEP breakdown of your heart chakra/the fourth chakra/the Anahata chakra.
Fourth Chakra Basics:
The fourth chakra is center of the seven chakras, it’s the connector or the bridge between our physical body, mind, emotions and our spiritual self. This energy wheel is our source of love, connection, compassion, openness, and joy.
- English term – the heart chakra
- Location – the heart center
- Element – Air
- Color – Green
- Mantra – YUM
- Descriptive words – love, air, breath, balance, relationship, unity affinity, and healing.
- Function – Love
- Malfunction – Asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease
- Inner State – Compassion, Love
- Chief Operating Quality – Equilibrium
The heart chakra relates to our cardiac plexus and governs the heart, lungs, and thymus gland.
It is the center of the entire chakra system and the center of our entire being. This is a big deal tribe – our heart governs the entire moving machine that we are and is responsible for keeping the physical, mental, and spiritual all interconnected. Also noteworthy, is that our fourth chakra connects the three lower/physical chakras with the three higher/more spiritual chakras. So as you can imagine, keeping this wheel in-tune and opened is key to living and experiencing life with an open heart.
And lastly, possibly most importantly, our heart chakra represents the BREATH.
In yoga, we refer to the breath as prana – our vital energy, our life force, the most basic need from which all life is made. Our breath is a tool to unite our physical self with our mental self by integrating both movements…. It’s just like your yoga practice, by turning the breath on, we experience the physical movements from a place of mental clarity, non-judgment, and peace.
Love – the incredible, four letter word that governs SO much of our livelihood.
We all want love, need love, give love, and search for love.
It’s a natural function of our human being that should be recognized, nourished, and practiced. Our heart chakra is the exact space where all of this unfolds and where we have the opportunity to fine tune it.
It’s important to understand that the giving of love is just as important as the receiving action. To do this, we must drop the ego bullshit and allow ourselves to soften and transcend into a state of love. This is easier said than done… of course, but with awareness and practice – we can let ourselves simply be love.
Also in keeping with the above statement, it’s important to note – we cannot give love if we don’t love ourselves first and foremost. Learn to cultivate a deep sense of self-love towards yourself, let go of negative self-talk, unrealistic expectations, and allow yourself to practice acceptance & gratitude.
Because in reality – you are amazing, you are beautiful, you are intelligent, and you are LOVE.
Relationship & Balance
This piece takes a moment to explain, so bear with me here.
The fourth chakra, our heart, centers around balance within our relationships (whether they be internal or external).
The spinning, alignment, and openness of the lower three chakras create a pattern of movement once they’ve been awakened. In order to continue this relationship between the three chakras, we must recognize that a larger force is the binding factor, this force being our heart chakra.
When the heart chakra is spinning effortlessly, it allows the lower chakras to continue their effortless dance.
Do you see how that works – the cause and effect of each wheel playing off one another, the balance between each one?
This same internal concept relates to our external relationships.
We cannot foster a successful relationship without balance. It’s necessary to cultivate a dynamic relationship that ebbs and flows, moves with fluidity, openness, and the humble ability to stay flexible.
By allowing ourselves to let go (chakra two), practice intense passion (chakra three), and plant firm roots for what we believe in (chakra one), we can then emit love from a wholesome state (chakra four).
I hope this chakra ish is starting to connect for you, because damn – it’s really starting to click for me!
“… if one yields oneself up to the other entirely, there is a guttering mess. You have to balance love and individuality, and actually sacrifice a portion of each.” – D.H. Lawrence
Affinity refers to the act of bonding with one another, our love chemistry with another person.
You know how it goes…. “I’m attracted to him/her because we’re so opposite, this person helps me slow down or be more motivated in life…. I’m attracted to him/her because we’re so alike, it’s easy to get along and see eye-to-eye.”
This idea of why we’re attracted to one another is our physical, emotional, and mental ability to bond.
But more importantly than our ability to bond with others, is our ability to bond with ourselves.
To really explain this, I’ll include a few pieces from the epic book – Wheels of Life.
“The most important aspect of affinity lies not in our chemical attraction to others, but in the development of affinity within the composite parts of the self. When we have this sense of affinity, we emanate a vibration that is loving, accepting, and joyful. This allows, and even encourages others to find their own sense of affinity.” – Anodea Judith
Ummmm…. does that not make the most sense?
And one more, just for good measure and to really hone in on the whole – you must love yourself first and foremost, unconditionally, before you can love another thing.
“Self-acceptance is our first chance to practice unconditional love. It doesn’t mean that we have to give up striving to be better, but that our self-love is not conditional on some future or imagined change. When this occurs within our heart, it then becomes easier to accept others, faults and all, with the unconditional love of the heart chakra.” – Anodea Judith
Our breath is one of the key components to opening the heart chakra.
And if you practice yoga, then you already know how healing and powerful the breath can be.
Not only does the breath maintain our basic life function, but it’s also responsible for transformation, burning up toxins, releasing tension, changing the body structure, and altering our consciousness.
To strengthen your breath, learn how to direct it, and become more aware of it’s power – try the below breathing exercises:
- Dhirga Breath – the 3 part breath
- Breath of Fire
- Alternate Nostril Breathing
- Bandha work
Tips to Stay Balanced:
- Practice self-love by indulging in yourself – massages, long baths, walking without an agenda, pedicures, etc.
- Practice self-acceptance by repeating a positive mantra, writing daily affirmations, and releasing self-deprecating thoughts
- Focus on balance within your relationships – both internal and external
- Be compassionate – where can you soften?
- Start a pranayama practice – learn to breathe deeper, into your entire lung cavity, nourish the body with your breath
- Practice the below yoga poses or other heart opening postures to awaken the heart chakra
The below poses are a mix of heart opening postures along with a balancing posture. I included the balancing posture because when we’re operating from an open heart, we’re able to balance in life (just like our relationships).
- Upward Facing Dog
- Fish Pose
- Tree Pose
- Camel Pose
- Wild Thing
For each chakra, there’s a corresponding seed sound or what can be thought of as a mantra meditation tool.
- Anahata Mantra – YUM
If your work lies here – self-love, self-acceptance, balance within relationships, and compassion – then use this mantra to help inspire and support your journey. I’ve included a link above about mantra meditation and all that it encompasses to help start the meditation process.
Also, in the book mentioned above (Wheels of Life by Anodea Judith), she provides a Kalpataru (The Wishing Tree), Appreciation Ritual, Empathy Exercise, and Compassion Meditation + a beautiful opening meditation. I highly recommend reading/doing both of these!
Tribe – how are you feeling about this chakra? Is this resonating with you?
Personally – this chakra directly relates to strengthening my personal relationship with self and learning how to bring this strength into my external relationships. Take a moment to ponder on how it relates to you, write some thoughts down, speak them out loud, do what you gotta do. Now onwards we go, climbing one energetic center higher, to discover the vishuddha chakra, our throat center!
Hey! I’m Allie.
I’m a self-growth student, freedom-seeker, yoga teacher and the founder of a tight-knit online yoga community: the Body Mind Soul Studio. I’m here to teach you how to transform your life on-and-off-the-mat with a holistic yoga practice.
I wanna learn it all!
The Yoga Reset Guide is my FREE 7-step journey to deepen your practice and recenter your body, mind and soul. Self-paced, no equipment necessary, perfect for beginners AND veteran yogis.