The fourth Chakra is “the balance point, integrating the world of matter (the lower three chakras) with the world of spirit (the upper three chakras),” according to Yoga Journal. “Through the heart chakra, we open to and connect with harmony and peace.”
The fourth Chakra is located in the heart, lungs, upper chest and upper back. This is the center space of the body—it’s the origin of emotional and physical circulation, moving blood and air, as well as emotion and expression, throughout our bodies.
This area can often become closed with physical and emotional weight. Daily practices, such as driving and desk work, can roll the shoulders forward and push the heart space inward. Challenges and hardships in our lives can also result in restriction of the Heart Chakra.
The Heart Chakra, or Anahata, is the Sanskrit word meaning “unstruck” or “unhurt.” In this way, the fourth Chakra is associated with our core foundations of love and compassion—found only by uncovering the layers that so often close-off our heart space.
“When the heart chakra is deficient, you may experience feelings of shyness and loneliness, an inability to forgive, or a lack of empathy,” according to Yoga Journal. “Physical symptoms can include shallow breathing, asthma, and other lung diseases.”
This central space in our bodies is also associated with the element of air, as well as the sense of touch and actions and expressions of the arms and hands.
A balanced and healthy Heart Chakra allows individuals to “follow their hearts”—harmonizing their love for others with their love of self.
Green, with a grey or white center.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts, have a similar structure to the heart space—with rose-like layers that unfold to reveal a central core. These vegetables and other heart-healthy greens, including avocados, limes, lettuce, spinach and soybeans, can help to enliven and balance the Heart Chakra.
Growing your own food—as well relating to food with gratitude and generosity—are ways to share love and spread compassion from your fourth Chakra.
Chest-opening yoga poses, as well as shoulder and arm stretches can help to tap into this central space. Backbend postures can be gentle with the aid of blocks and bolsters—incorporating ease with openness. You can also tap into the strength of the body to circulate energy from the top of the head to the bottom of the toes. Try Camel Pose (Ustrasana), Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana), and Fish Pose (Matsyasana) as backbends to open the Heart Chakra.
Stretch your arms and shoulders with Eagle Pose (Garudasana), as well as arm binds in body side-angle and twisting poses. Strong standing postures can help to ground your Heart Chakra, and breathing practices can help to move the Chakra’s element of air throughout the body.