Introduction to Anahata Heart Chakra
The Anahata heart chakra is the gateway between the lower and higher chakras. The lower chakras – Muladhara (root), Svadhisthana (sacral), and Manipura (solar plexus) govern the material and physical aspects of life. The higher chakras – Vishuddha (throat), Ajna (third eye), and Sahasrara (crown) govern the spiritual and etheric realms.
Anahata forms the bridge between the two sections and facilitates their cooperation and integration. It is here that we can transcend the limitations of the ego-based identity and advance with unconditional love and acceptance toward spiritual growth and liberation.
As the name ‘heart’ chakra suggests, Anahata relates to all aspects of heart energy – infinite love, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, altruism, and Metta (loving-kindness). The Anahata heart chakra facilitates love in all its forms, both for other people and for yourself. It is an infinitely deep reservoir of love energy, in which most people have only dipped a toe.
Anahata Heart Chakra Associations
- Sanskrit name: Anahata
- English name: Heart
- Etymology: na-hata = imperishable, unstruck
- Location: Center of the chest
- Color: Green
- Element: Air
- Power word: Love
- Physical associations: Thymus gland, heart, circulatory system, and skin
- Planet: Venus
- Animal: Antelope – Sensitivity, elegance, and grace
- Deity: Shiva and Shakti – Divine love
- Lotus: 12 petals symbolizing the 12 heart qualities
- Keynote: F
- Solfeggio frequency: 639 Hz
- Nature sound: Wind
- Seed mantra: Yam
- Affirmation: I feel able to love and forgive myself and others
- Crystals: Rose quartz, green aventurine, jade, emerald, Amazonite, peridot, green calcite
- Essential oils: Rose, geranium, neroli, green mandarin, peppermint, lavender, bergamot
- Mineral: Potassium
- Metal: Copper
- Foods: Leafy greens, kiwi fruit, green bell peppers, fresh herbs, herbal teas especially chamomile, peppermint, and rose
Anahata Heart Chakra Characteristics
Opening and nurturing the Anahata chakra enables you to experience love on a universal scale; to give love more freely and sincerely, and to receive love and nurturing for other people, and to experience Divine love.
Additionally, balancing the heart chakra allows more profound cultivation of self-love and forgiveness, possibly the most challenging form of love to accept. Not only can you form deep and meaningful relationships with others from this space, but also with yourself.
The Anahata heart chakra is the place from which you grieve and reach a state of peace. All losses and emotional hurts are processed through the Anahata chakra, which is why it is so important to keep it open, and its energy flowing freely.
The element that is connected with the Anahata chakra is air, which relates to a spontaneous arising of devotion that can infuse into all spaces and connect all beings. Air is associated with movement and breath. This makes pranayama a helpful method to use for balancing the heart chakra.
The ethics of Ahimsa (non-violence; part of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of yoga) and the first Buddhist precept (non-harming and not taking life) sit in the Anahata heart chakra. Other Buddhist philosophies, such as Karuna (compassion) and Metta (loving-kindness), also stem from the heart chakra.
Symptoms of an Unbalanced Anahata Chakra
If Anahata is blocked, you may have trouble giving and receiving love. You may find yourself acting selfishly and from the sole perspective of personal gain, disregarding the wellbeing of other beings. You may close yourself off from emotional connection or build up walls of defense to keep people out. This can manifest as retreating into isolation and separating from others.
The inability to forgive yourself and others is a major signal of an unbalanced Anahata chakra. If you have a tendency to hold grudges, then you should prioritize working on your Anahata chakra. Likewise, if you are excessively jealous and fearful in relationships, or if co-dependency arises in your romantic relationships, you likely have an Anahata imbalance.
If you lack Anahata energy, you can experience issues such as a lack of compassion and empathy, being ‘cold-hearted,’ overly sensitive, and always needing to gain approval from others. You can also have issues with letting go, feel vulnerable, and experience fear of rejection. Low heart chakra energy can also manifest as insecurity and jealousy in relationships, paranoia, co-dependency, fear of betrayal, and extreme attachment. You can feel unable to express your needs and emotions, build defenses, and generally be fearful of letting love into your life (giving and receiving).
Of course, too much of a good thing can be unhealthy, and excessive Anahata energy can result in overly controlling and possessive behavior, being domineering and manipulative, and refusing to see things from other people’s perspectives. If you have too much Anahata heart chakra energy, you can feel overly emotional and unable to deal with situations that provoke strong emotions. You can find yourself expressing your feelings in aggressive or obsessive ways, and only giving and receiving love in conditional circumstances.
Physical Symptoms of an Unbalanced Anahata
Physical signs that you have an imbalance in your Anahata heart chakra include respiratory illnesses, heart and circulatory system diseases, thymus gland problems, depression, stress, and skin disorders.
Signs of a Balanced Anahata Chakra
When your Anahata heart chakra is open, you will be able to form deep and meaningful relationships with other people and with yourself. You can effortlessly give love, with an emphasis on the unconditional – giving freely of love in all its aspects without expecting anything in return. This is the highest form of love – pure, sacred heart energy.
If you have a balanced heart chakra, compassion and empathy will come naturally to you. Feeling the pain and suffering of other beings is not easy, but it is a necessary part of selfless connection and understanding.
Emotional harmony resides at the heart center. If the energy flows freely here, you will be able to express your emotions and your truth constructively. This conscious expression helps to build and nurture harmonious relationships, whether they be romantic or otherwise.
You will also feel a profound sense of gratitude for everything and everyone in your life. You will notice the beauty that is abundant at all times, even in seemingly mundane situations. You will have a deeper appreciation of nature and artistic expression, taking solace in the natural environment and the arts.
You can see things from other people’s perspectives when you live from the heart instead of the logical mind and ego. This enables you to consider every option and their effects on all involved and reach a heart-led decision with loving discernment for the highest good. Decision-making in this way eliminates the risk of future guilt and regret because choices are made for the benefit of all. Each decision comes from a place of love and positive intention.
The beautiful thing about living life with a balanced Anahata heart chakra is that you want to help people simply to help – not because you want to gain anything in return, such as money, fame, reputation, or favor. This is the most sincere and impeccable form of giving and is a spiritual practice in and of itself.
How to Open Your Anahata Chakra
As with all chakras, there are many techniques you can employ to help you balance the energy and clear blockages. Choose those that resonate most deeply with your heart.
Meditation and Visualization
Meditating on the Anahata heart chakra is an excellent way to ensure energy is flowing. You can visualize a green twelve-petaled lotus flower in the center of your chest, spinning freely with your breath. Imagine it spinning with each exhalation like you are blowing away any tension or blockage. You can also visualize the green color becoming brighter and more vivid until its magnificent glow fills your body with loving energy. If you like guided meditations, try this practice:
Sound and Singing Bowls
Sound frequency is one of the best ways to retune any chakra. You can work with an instrument, musical note, or mantra that is aligned with the vibration of the chakra you want to retune. The keynote of Anahata is F, and the Solfeggio frequency is 639 Hz. Singing bowls that are attuned to this frequency can provide potent healing for the heart chakra. If you own one, play it and let the soundwaves wash through your being, or, place the bowl on the center point of your chest and feel the resonance through your heart. If you don’t own one, use this Anahata sound bath.
Mantra chanting reharmonizes the energy field from within and is a fundamental heart-based practice. The aligned vibrations work directly on the chakra and bring about deep healing. The seed mantra of the Anahata heart chakra is ‘Yam.’ Chant this mantra while listening to meditation music and allow it to rise out of your heart space and purify any blockages there. You can chant along with this practice if you find that more comfortable.
Devotional ritual is a magnificent way to connect with and harmonize the Anahata chakra. When you devote yourself to something, even for a short period, you generate a considerable amount of pure heart energy. Devotion in itself is pure heart energy; it does not arise from the mind or the body. If you are aligned with a particular religion, explore the methods of devotion within your tradition.
If you have no religious affiliation or consider yourself spiritual, you may like to consider devotional practices directed toward a particular spiritual archetype that you resonate with. You can choose a figure whose characteristics or abilities you would like to invoke into your own life. Many people enjoy expressing devotion to specific Goddesses for this reason. Read more about the power of Goddess Shakti and Goddess Kali in our feature articles.
Other popular Goddesses to direct devotion toward include Lakshmi, Green Tara, Kuan Yin, Aphrodite, Bast, Athena, Sekhmet, Mawu, Durga, Maat, Demeter, Saraswati, and Ostara. You can explore more about Goddesses and how they can help you with our other articles and courses.
Self-Love and Forgiveness
A fundamental way to clear blocked Anahata heart chakra energy is through practicing self-love and self-forgiveness. Holding on to resentment will tighten your heart space and prevent energy flowing. You are a human being, and as such, you have made mistakes, and you will likely make more. Harboring negative feelings toward yourself for making unskilful choices will not help you to make better decisions in the future. It will just keep you stuck and suffering.
There is no such thing as a mistake if you learn from it and use it to help you grow. It is then simply a learning point, and an opportunity to practice owning your choices, saying sorry, and carefully considering the effects your actions have on other people. These are all signs of emotional and spiritual maturity, as well as a balanced Anahata heart chakra.
Practice letting go of any negative feelings you have about yourself. Engage in activities that nurture your body, mind, heart, and spirit. Go for walks in nature, spend time reflecting on things that make you happy, and nourish your body with wholesome plant-based foods. Pamper yourself regularly with relaxing baths, massages, and other self-care rituals. Read uplifting books and engage with creativity and the arts. In particular, take time to appreciate the beauty of exquisitely composed art, writing, and music. These mediums can raise your vibrational frequency to the level of love.
Express your creativity in any way that fills you with joy. Writing, painting, sculpting, dancing, singing, and crafting are all wonderful ways to express beauty and truth through art. This creative expression is used as a form of therapy because it is so healing.
Practice gratitude journaling – writing down at least three different things each day that you are grateful for. This is a transformational experience in itself, and one we recommend everyone practice, every day.
Yoga for Anahata
Yoga is an excellent method for opening the heart chakra. You can practice any of the following poses separately or use them as a mini heart chakra practice.
- Anjaneyasana (Crescent lunge)
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward facing dog)
- Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined butterfly, recline over a yoga bolster)
- Dhanurasana (Bow pose)
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)
- Ustrasana (Camel pose)
- Chakrasana (Wheel pose)
If you would like a longer Anahata yoga class, try this one.
We hope you have enjoyed this guide to working with your Anahata heart chakra. As always, we recommend that you act on what you have learned. It is only through action that we experience transformation. We are always here to answer your questions and help you on your spiritual journey. If you have any questions, place them in the comments below, and we will be only too happy to help you.