Heart Chakra: Everything You Need to Know About the Fourth Chakra

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The power of your mind is mightier than you may realize. 

The heart chakra, or anahata chakra, is the circulating energy field or vortex located at heart level along your spine. One of the seven chakras, it is most strongly associated with unconditional love and self love

The heart chakra is considered the portal connected to your nerve bundles and internal organs. It’s one of the energy centers where you have the ability to manifest, feel, and radiate different types of love and compassion for yourself, others, and the environment.

What does Anahata mean?

While there is no English word that can truly explain what anahata means, it’s been said to roughly translate to something along the lines of unhurt, unstruck, or unbeaten. 

In the Vedas, the oldest scriptures or texts of the Vedic Sanskrit tradition of Hinduism, Anahata encompasses the image of unstruck sound. 

(Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derman / Getty)

Try sitting for a moment with the image of unstruck sound. What comes up for you? Hold this in your heart as you continue reading.

The seven chakras: The chakra system explained 

Your seven primary chakras, composed of both lower and upper chakras, are 7 separate energy wheels along your spine working together to create your overall sense of wellbeing and holistic wellness. 

Chakras are an ancient concept of explaining human connection to universal or cosmic energy and whole body and mind health. Chakras have roots dating back to Hindiusm in India in 1500 and 500 BCE (before common era). 

  • Root chakra (Muladhara) located at the base of your spine is responsible for a sense of security and stability within your physical body (feeling grounded or “rooted” to the earth)
  • Sacral chakra (Svadhisthana) located below the belly button and near the spine and responsible for creative and sexual energies.
  • Solar plexus chakra (Manipura) is located in the stomach area. The energy flow from your solar plexus chakra is responsible for your sense of self-esteem and self-determination. 
  • Heart chakra (Anahata) is, unsurprisingly, at heart-level. It is responsible for all things related to love.
  • Throat chakra (Vishuddha) is located in the throat area and is responsible for your inner voice and communication abilities with others.
  • Third eye chakra (Ajna) is an energy center located in the space between your eyebrows and is responsible for intuition and what we call natural instincts or sometimes “gut feeling.” 
  • Crown chakra (Sahasrara) is located at the very uppermost of your body. It’s responsible for your connection to the universe, universal cosmos, and energy fields from the spiritual realm, if you will. 

When one chakra, like the heart chakra, is not in balance with the others, you can feel its effects. A heart chakra blockage may be felt physically in the area (e.g., chest pains, heartburn, heart ache, heart palpitations or irregular beats). Others may feel effects on their mental health or spiritual health. The way the heart chakra acts and is experienced is different for everyone. 

Signs your heart chakra is blocked

The chakra system exists outside of conventional Western medicine. This means these signs are based on old knowledge and wisdom passed down along blood lines and through oral histories and traditions, rather than scientific studies or reports. 

What’s known about blocked heart chakras 

A blocked heart chakra can result in a depletion or draining of energy from that space in your chest along your spine and have different effects on your body and mind, says yoga medicine therapeutic specialist Diane Malaspina, PhD.

So if you’ve been feeling sluggish, tired, burned out, or just generally spent lately, there could be a chakra imbalance behind it. The thing to keep in mind is that your chakras, as energy fields, are by definition always changing.

This means a blocked chakra or an imbalance in any of the seven primary chakras can be readily changed whenever you so desire. 

Malaspina says your chakras can be overactive and have too much energy, or be underactive, the result of blocked energy. Overactive heart chakra signs include:

  • Love obsessions 
  • Neediness or clinginess 
  • Codependency
  • Jealousy
  • Mistrust
  • Heart problems 

Underactive heart chakra signs

  • Isolation
  • Social isolation
  • Relationship breakdowns
  • Sadness
  • Tiredness
  • Heart problems

How do I balance my chakras?

Your chakras are connected to yogic traditions. Yoga itself has roots in Hinduism as well as other religions including Buddhism and Jainism. As anyone who has ever practiced any tradition or branch of yoga knows there’s a wide variety of poses to work different parts of your body and mind. 

You can find certain poses are made for balancing your chakra system and other yoga poses may be focused on a specific chakra. Yoga poses for balancing your heart chakra are:

  • Half Camel Pose (Ardha Ustrasana)
  • Wheel Pose (Chakrasana)
  • Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
  • Warrior 1 Pose With Heart Opening Backbend (Virabhadrasana I)
  • Upward Facing Dog Pose (​​Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
  • Reverse Plank Pose (Purvottanasana)
  • Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
  • Eagle Arms Pose (Garudasana)
  • Locust Pose or Grasshopper Pose (Salabhasana or Purna Salabhasana)

There are also yoga/meditations made for balancing your heart chakra or for opening your heart chakra. For more, search heart chakra meditation on YouTube or stream on a channel like Gaia or a meditation app like Calm. 

Try this simple exercise for opening your heart chakra:

  • Go into Savasana pose (Dead Corpse Pose) where you’re completely released and flat on your back with your arms and legs weightless beside you. This is the deepest and most restorative stage of any yoga practice, and releases a soothing energy. 
  • Find your breath. Don’t worry about controlling it, just focus on breathing in and out naturally. 
  • Do a mental scan of your chest area. What do you feel? What sensations are coming up?
  • Take as long as you need in this pose, sending love and light to your heart area. 
  • Remember to keep breathing.
  • In this pose, it’s helpful to let yourself picture your heart chakra. You can visualize it as a beaming green coming from the heart center and extending toward others (manifesting love for others) or as a swirling green energy sending love to your whole body (manifesting unconditional self love).
  • Focusing on opening your heart chakra and manifesting unconditional and self love will allow the energy shift you’re seeking and let you live life in a more complete way. 
  • When you begin to come back to reality or awakeness, you may very well feel those balancing effects in an expansive and expanding aura or radius of loving compassion.

You will find that balancing your heart chakra on a frequent basis and listening to when your inner voice or crown chakra signals you to practice yoga and heart chakra meditation will help you manifest a more loving relationship not only with yourself, but also restore balance with others, and the ever changing energy forces all around you. 

After these balancing sessions, be sure to get plenty of rest and hydrate to facilitate healing. 

Crystals for healing your heart chakra 

Crystal healing is an alternative medicine practice with its modern roots based on traditional concepts from Asian cultures. Some examples include the:

  • Chinese concept of life-energy (chi or qi), and the
  • Hindu or Buddhist concept of chakras.

From these traditional knowledge reserves we see how crystal energies can be harnessed to provide perceived healing power potential.

In this way, crystals compliment our natural ability to change. 

Crystals that can help in healing the heart chakra and balancing your life force are used in ritual healing to open the heart or clear energy blockages in the fourth chakra area. These stones or gems are said to have the properties necessary to spark heart chakra balancing. 

fourth chakra
(© Santiago Urquijo / Getty)

Examples include:

  • Rose quartz: the stone of unconditional love. Color: light pink. Rose quartz is one of the most popular stones and is said to restore trust and harmony in loving relationships.
  • Emerald: the stone of successful love. Color: Vibrant and translucent green. It’s said to bring loyalty to whoever wears it. 
  • Rhodonite: the stone of self-love and attracting love from others. Color: Rose-pink with “roads” of brownish red, red, gray and yellow. The particular qualities of this stone said to help the person see where they need to improve in their relationships without being overly critical or harsh (while showing self compassion). 
  • Rhodochrosite: the stone of a compassionate heart. Color: Rose-red color and can have streaks of white. It’s said to help support and heal the heart from life’s trials and tribulations. 
  • Green Aventurine: the stone of nurturing love plus balancing loving heart energy for others. Color: Light to medium jade green shade. It’s said to be a comforting stone that can help the wearer break free from what’s been holding them back.
  • Amazonite: the stone for the warrior lover (those who love hard but may need help releasing old wounds or trust issues. Color: blue-greens with some darker tones. It’s said to balance the mascluine and feminine energies that live within all of us and enhance loving communication.
  • Malachite: the stone for connecting your heart and throat chakra so you can love openly and communicate love clearly (without blockages, worry, or fear) Color: Various shades of green. It’s said to connect the person with the healing love of nature and is particularly useful for those struggling with heartache from feeling disconnected to nature, homeland, or a certain landscape.

Do heart chakra crystals need to be heart-shaped?

Your crystals don’t have to be shaped like a heart. You can choose crystals in whatever form (raw, tumbled, shaped) that you feel most attracted toward and connected to. This is why choosing crystals in-person is the best because you can feel which crystals are meant to be yours. 

If you’re shopping online, look for ethical sourcing and don’t hesitate to ask a lot of questions and think outside the box! Trust your crown chakra’s intuition. When it comes to balancing your chakras, there is no one better to choose your crystal than you! 

This means if you see a crystal that’s not on the above list but it speaks to your heart, or you feel a certain unspeakable connection to the crystal, you can use it to help balance your heart chakra.

Simple ways to use crystals to balance your heart chakra

  • Place the crystal of choice over your heart during a heart chakra meditation 
  • Put the crystal under your bed at the heart level while you sleep 
  • Hold the crystal, close your eyes, and visualize the kind of love you want to manifest 
  • Wear your heart chakra stone around your neck on a long chain that rests over the heart area
  • Add the crystals or stones to your bath water
  • Carry the stones in a pouch in your pocket, car, purse, backpack, etc. and grab them when you feel necessary. Sit with the crystal in your hand and meditate on the kind of love you are trying to manifest or desire.

Last word on heart chakra or Anahata

Whether or not you believe in the healing powers of chakras, yoga, and meditation, doesn’t change the fact that you were born with the innate power and potential to create change. You are the living manifestation of what constant change represents. If you feel like your heart needs opening, expanding, or just some self love and self care, you’re 100% correct. 

Ask your inner voice what they need in order to heal on a spiritual level. Use the methods that have been passed down by previous generations to harness the power of your mind’s guidance of your heart’s power. 

If you are experiencing physical or mental health symptoms associated with your heart, seek medical support from a trained professional. Crystals are not meant to be substitutes for medical care, but compliments to our holistic wellness routines. 

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