Chakras are part of the esoteric, energetic body. While Western anatomy deals with muscles, organs, tissues and fascia, Eastern anatomy deals with the parts we can not see. Some argue that if we can not touch, see or feel the energetic system, then it does not exist. But our very essence, our soul, our thoughts, our emotions can not be 'seen'. If I ask you now to point to your soul, the part that is interpreting these words now, from deep within, you will be unable to find it. Yet we both know it to exist. So it is with chakras and the entire energetic network within.
Chakras are energy centres which form and release qualities specific to our characters and emotions. The lower chakras are associated with the 'self'; our grounding, our home, sensual power and self-esteem. They are about who we are as individuals and how we create our identity and idea of who we are. The upper chakras are about communicating with our surroundings, our interpretations of spirituality and a path to the 'higher' Self and the realisation that we are universally connected to everyone and everything.
Our heart centre lies at the cardiac plexus and is the 4th chakra (literally 'wheel') lying halfway between all 7 chakras. It is the key to above and the key to below. The heart is the mid-point between ourselves and others. Here is where we learn to love ourselves and reach out to give and receive from others. Too often in this modern, Western world we are taught to seek a perfection that is unattainable. We are fed images of perfect airbrushed faces, images of perfect houses and fast cars; we are programmed to seek money, money, money. We all buy into this world, often unconsciously. We are asked to chase our egos rather than our hearts. Most of the time we are so busy seeking a happiness outside of ourselves that we forget to look within. I see hunched shoulders and crossed arms everywhere; both ways that we physically close off the cardiac plexus area and effectively block our heart centres.
Anahata chakra is associated with love, compassion and acceptance. A balanced heart has full self-love, sends and receives love willingly and is able to forgive and forget heartache in a positive way. The shadow side of this centre brings grief, loss, resistance to accept or provide love and stifled emotions.
The key to unlocking our heart energy put simply is forgiveness. It's well known by yogis that every thought, word and action we have in life, leaves an energetic trace in our bodies called samskaras. These cause blockages to our energetic core and can cause either an overcharged or undercharged, stifled centre. So we can create a blocked heart with poor energy, letting little love out or in. This can occur as a result of losing a loved one, grief at someone's passing away, a relationship break-up or a lack of self-love and self-nurturance. Conversely, we could create an overtly overpowerful heart whch shines love to all regardless of circumstance and so has little energy left for other areas in our own lives. So, how to find balance?
The yogi's path is always one of compassion for all; which includes your perceived enemies and the people that have hurt us. You can not hope to give away what you do not yet have in your own possession. So begin with self-love. Learn to love your body, your mind and your thoughts. Create positivity and loving emotions and re-train negative thought patterns out of your system. An excellent way to start this is by affirmations. So create short sentences that you can tell yourself each and every day. 'I am worthy of love', 'I accept who I am and send love to all'. Write them down, stick to your mirror or fridge and say aloud every day to yourself. In quiet moments say them in your mind. Positive mantras create positive energy. We beome what we create, so really believe what you say and let it resonate from the heart.
Self nurturance is important also. Treat yourself to 'you' time. Get a back massage, soak in a warm oil bath, wear natural perfume and make yourself feel beautiful, alive and worthy. Live in the moment and follow your heart not your head. Be the person you want to be right now. There is no more perfect moment than this very instant. You dream of acting, singing or dancing? Take lessons! You want to own your own business? Set up a small website and put some free time into making your passions and
dreams a reality.
Smile at others and don't be afraid to show affection, consideration and gratitude where it's due. Give others hugs, hold hands and show appreciation even if it does not come naturally to you. Actions speak louder than words and moments of love will open others hearts also. Anahata is like a hand; if you close it off creating a fist then you will never be able to accept others offerings. A fist can only hand out soft punches. So open the heart centre and spread the palm open; now you can take hold of others offerings and softly reach out to give in return.
Forgiveness is key. Forgive anyone and everyone who has ever hurt you physically, mentally and emotionally. When you let go of your fears and harboured guilt, pains and suffering then you will release negative samskaras from Anahata and create space for new life energy to flow. Forgiveness unblocks the pathway to love. It does not have to be a case of you actually telling the people concerned that you forgive them; some may have passed on or be far away. But you must realise that in holding on to the past, you are preventing any chance of moving on and allowing new experience to unfold. So authentically let the grief go from your heart. Understand there is a lesson to learn from all
situations; good and bad. Let that person be a teacher to you and thank them for making your a stronger person and taught us how to be more authentic to avoid causing such pain to others.
Having true compassion for all extends way beyond our immediate friends and family. Consider how your life affects the suffering of others. Perhaps become vegetarian even just one day each week to consider the suffering of animals. Set up a standing order to a charity whose mission resonates with you and helps alleviate the suffering of children, environment, animals, the sick or dying. Maybe donate some old clothes or books to such a charity.Volunteer to help someone elderly or a local hospice. All these acts of love will help others and are ways to show true compassion to all.
Breathe! Anahata's element is Air. When your heart is being over ruled by your head or you are beginning to panic, feel suffering or stagnation, take a large, deep in-breath. Hold for a moment. Then exhale and release. Repeat. Just simply learning to breathe properly can help restore balance to this centre. If you know some effective pranayama techniques then by all means practice them. But if you are new to yoga then just simply try to elongate the breath and really feel energy being received on the inhale and stress being released on the exhale.
Always meditate daily if possible. We will shortly add an article on meditation but to begin just know that sitting still and breathing is enough to start. Be silent, be still. And let our yogasana become a moving meditation; the real purpose of our practice is to dive into the breath and discover the centre soul of our very essence. It's like diving into an ocean of nectar from a great height; the more willing you are to trust and be fearless, the further you can delve and discover. Come to class at any time and see if you can find more than you possibly ever dreamed. We have all suffered heartache but know this; it can be fixed and undone. Change your perception and create your future right now. From this very moment. Reach out with open arms and learn to let love in and return it in abundance.