The Anahata chakra, the heart center, is the 4th of 7 chakras, and is considered the core of our being. It is the seat of our intuition and our emotional health. A balanced heart chakra affects our ability to give and receive love in a healthy way, to be content, joyful and compassionate. We are also better able to cope with sadness, grief, depression, lonliness, and loss.
In the past weeks we have been studying the lower “earthly” chakras and now we journey to the balance point between the physical realm, our earthly desires, and the subtle realm, our spiritual journey. Once we connect with and awaken the energies of the first three chakras, we can use our intuitive persuits to benefit the understanding of Self. We can emerge from our stable base toward a greater acceptance of the larger sense of who we are in relation to others and to the universe. We become more accepting of others and of circumstances, and we see God in all. Recognizing our Divine nature brings us closer to understanding our life’s purpose and acknowledging the Divine in others helps us appreciate their gifts and the importance of community. Incorporating scriptural study is one of the pillars of the Yoga Sutras, and encouraged as part of daily practice toward each person’s unique spiritual journey. Through the heart chakra, love is our motivation in our relationships with others, nature, and with ourselves.
The heart chakra is physically associated with the heart, lungs, arms, hands, the sense of touch, the thymus gland, and the immune system. Many mudras support the heart center, to include Anjali (hands in prayer), Chin, Gayan, and Prana Mudra. Supportive asanas include chest and shoulder openers like Gomukhasana (Cow Face pose), Garudasana (Eagle), Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I), Dandasana (Staff), Purvottanasana (Long Bridge), Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand), and Viloma I Pranayama. The alignment of arms in these poses helps to create an open, stable connection between the heart and the head, neck, and shoulders and the lower rooting chakras. The air element is related to this core chakra, thus the use of aromatherapy is quite effective. Essential oils that support the heart center are: melissa, rosemary, marjoram, sandalwood, jasmine, rose, neroli, chamomile, lavender and geranium.
Anahata in Sanskrit means “unstruck.” Many yogis believe that the constant rhythmic beat or vibration of the heart correlates to the heart beat of all creation. As we move through a more heart-centered time for humankind, many of us are turning our reflection inward, connecting with our heart-centered intuition for guidance, and experiencing a deeper understand of Self through this 4th chakra. The importance of communication coming from the heart chakra is a valuable tool to find unquestioning love for yourself, others, and the Divine.
To learn more see the chakra chart on pp. 30-31, in your copy of Essential Yoga Practice: Your Guide to the New Yoga Experience with Essential Oils. Join us for a two week online course, starting November 6, 2017, “Essential Yoga Practice Sangha”, to deepen your yoga and aromatherapy practices, Click Here. Though this course is for both new and experienced yogis, yoga teachers will receive 10 hours of Yoga Alliance continuing education credit!