ANAHATA CHAKRA: Weaving Love and Compassion into the Tapestry of Life

by Soha Akbar

Love. Compassion. Trust. Inner peace. Meaningful relationships.

Aren’t these qualities that we aspire to either receive from others, or cultivate within ourselves? Are these merely emotional qualities, or can we say that there is a positive energy that they project? This vibe or energy that is often indescribable can be attributed to the fourth chakra in the astral body: the Anahata chakra, or the Hearth chakra in English.

This chakra, being the fourth, can be seen as a bridge between the lower three and the upper three chakras. This represents its role in balancing the spiritual and the physical or the material world. The energy from the Manipura chakra in the navel region rises up to the heart chakra, and is manifested as the basic emotions of love, hatred and fear. At any given time, any of these emotions may be dominant and affect our relationships accordingly.

What does Anahata mean and where is it located?

‘Anahata’ means ‘unstruck sound’ in Sanskrit. Most sounds on Earth are produced when something strikes against something else. In the context of a balanced Anahata chakra, simply sitting in silence gives rise to all the sounds associated with it. However, being able to perceive these sounds require a higher meditative state.

‘Anahata’ can also be translated as ‘unhurt.’ What is the purest form of love? It’s one that is selfless and without any expectations. It is a love that is metaphorically unhurt as there is no attachment to getting something in return. Such unattachment usually fares well and helps in the realization of the Atman or true self.

It is located in the centre of the chest, in the astral body, close to the physical heart.

What is its element?

Air, or vayu in Sanskrit, is the element of the heart chakra. This element is directly associated with our breath, and indirectly associated with our emotional balance.

What is its colour?

Since the element of this chakra is air, it does not have any colour of its own. However, it reflects a mixture of blue from the chakra lying above it, and yellow from the Manipura chakra below it. This makes the heart chakra green in colour. Green represents nature and tender qualities. It also represents growth, both internal and in external relationships.

What is its symbol?

Anahata chakra is symbolized as a lotus with twelve petals that stand for the twelve sounds originating from this chakra. Within this circular flower are two intersecting triangles that form a six-pointed star. These triangles represent the dualities of life. The seed mantra YAM lies in the centre of the triangles.

What is its seed mantra?

The seed mantra of the heart chakra, associated with peace, contentment, love and compassion, is YAM.

What is its significance?

Anahata chakra is connected to the feelings of love, affection, compassion and attachment. In a healthy heart chakra, this feeling transcends the boundaries of race, gender and species; one loves and respects every being unconditionally. There are no addictions or attachment without healthy boundaries. A person with a balanced heart chakra will be peaceful and joyous internally, no matter the external circumstances. There is a feeling of trust and openness; vulnerability is considered okay. Overall, there is a feeling of contentment.

Physically, this chakra has an effect on the heart, lungs and the thymus gland.

Blocked Anahata chakra

A blocked Anahata chakra brings about feelings of isolation and loneliness, with either unhealthy attachment or detachment. Our sense of self weakens and we also find it heart to connect to others. There is mistrust in relationships, often leading to distant behaviour even with our close ones. Vulnerability seems uncomfortable as there is a fear of rejection. Hence one puts up a stoic appearance. This non-sharing of true feelings or not asking for help further weakens the heart chakra.

Physically, a blocked Anahata chakra can lead to heart ailments, asthma and poor circulatory system.

Healing a blocked Anahata chakra

Once we are able to unblock and heal the heart chakra, we start inviting love, affection and trust into our lives. We feel empathy and compassion once again. One way to do that is through meditating on the Anahata chakra along with positive affirmations. One can also practise the Vayu mudra to balance the air element connected to this chakra.

Pranayama also helps a lot to open a blocked heart chakra since the corresponding element is air. Anulom Vilom or Nadi Shodhana are quite effective if practised correctly.

There are certain asanas too that can help bring back vitality in the heart chakra. Some of them are Paschima namaskara (reverse prayer pose), Gomukhasana (cow face pose), Ustrasana (camel pose), Setubandhasana (bridge pose), Matsyasana (fish pose) and Bhujangasana (cobra pose).

Happiness, peace and wellbeing cannot be bought with any amount of money. Now that know its importance, we can all agree that a healthy, open and balanced Anahata chakra is a boon, as it leads to a joyful, meaningful and content life.

About the Author

Sohaila Akbar

Sohaila is a Yoga teacher, keen on bringing about positive changes in the lives of others through the knowledge that she has received from her teachers. Prior to this she was a school teacher working towards imparting academic, social and ecological knowledge to young learners. Sohaila is an avid reader of books and have an undying love for fiction. She prefers paperbacks and hardcovers over e-books anyday. She loves travelling, and a good cup of coffee is always welcome!