The Anahata chakra is known as the fourth chakra out of the seven we have throughout our body. In Sanskrit, “chakra” is defined as a “wheel,” which refers to the cyclic movement of energy that flows inside of us. The concept comes from Hinduism, and has been around for centuries in India. It is believed that, when a chakra is blocked, the energy in our body is not able to flow, which will then cause an imbalance. These imbalances can manifest mentally and/or physically, depending on the severity and how long the blockage has existed. (You can read more about how to balance each of them here.) The heart chakra plays a huge role in how we feel in our self-love and compassion, and is, therefore, very important to balance for achieving happiness.
The Anahata Chakra
The Anahata chakra is located at our heart center, hence it being called the “heart chakra.” Therefore, it is connected to our heart, but also our lungs and chest space. Being the fourth chakra in our body, it is between our lower and upper chakras to bridge the gap to unlocking our spirituality. Anahata means “unstruck,” in Sanskrit, where it is believed that you can protect yourself from harm if you have peace and openness here. This is because you are less attached to external and internal judgments and negativity when you truly find self-love and inner peace.
Ultimately, what you represent and practice in your own self-care and compassion for others, will be the energy you invite into your life.
Signs of a Blocked Anahata
When we have a balanced or unblocked heart chakra, we are able to feel unconditional love, joy and are open to receive this from others as well. It is a wonderful chakra to be in line with, because it allows you to see the beauty in yourself too, without the nasties of jealousy, judgment, comparison, etc. that we often let our minds be victims to. At the same time, it can have incredibly detrimental side effects for us when it is blocked.
Physical symptoms of a disturbed Anahata can be manifested in the areas of the heart, lungs, chest, arms, and hands. You may find that you suffer low or high blood pressure, poor blood circulation, and lung problems. You may also be more prone to circulatory issues, colds, and bronchitis.
The Anahata chakra, known as the heart chakra, is located at the centre of the chest.
Mental symptoms can lead you to be manipulative, distrusting, and/or needy because of your lack of self-assuredness and confidence (1). Ultimately, when your heart isn’t open, you face loneliness, isolation, jealousy, and a fear of intimacy. Mental health issues can arise from these feelings, and the more in tune you are with yourself and self-care routines, the more you can work on preventing these feelings.
Ways to UNBLOCK The Anahata
Unblocking a chakra can entail a variety of things. Ultimately, it is about opening up the space in which the chakra is located, so that energy and breath can flow freely. The Anahata is the 4th chakra we have and is also sometimes referred to as the “lung chakra.” Because of its location at the heart center, the Anahata is connected to our chest and lungs. Things we can do to unlock the space here involve easing our breath, meditation, yoga, and other spiritual, heart-opening activities.
In yoga, “pranayama” is the breathwork we do to get the vital life force (our breath) flowing with ease. Learning how to control our breath is vital to opening up the Anahata and the heart space.
When we experience anxiety and stress from environmental triggers, our breath begins to shorten. The shortening of breath tells our brain to go into the fight or flight response, which releases cortisol. However, you can counteract this response by slowing your breath consciously with pranayama techniques. Slowed breath activates our parasympathetic nervous system and tells our brains to release oxytocin to calm us instead.
A breathing technique you can try is the “ocean breath.” Inhale deeply (deeper than you would usually), and exhale with a “HA” sound. The sound you release causes soothing vibrations on your vocal cords and can further calm you down and activate the parasympathetic to decrease your cortisol levels. You can read about more breathing techniques here, and feel what resonates with you.
There are various poses in yoga that can physically help create more space in the 4th chakra. There are themed flows aimed specifically at heart opening, and then there are those that are focused on back bending and postural alignment, which are also beneficial to the heart chakra.
If you are doing your own practice, focus on asanas (like the ones below) that will target chakra Anahata. Before you do any of these poses on your own, make sure you aren’t suffering from any injuries or lower back pain.
3. Self Love Practices
- Journaling: Journaling has been seen to be an incredible tool for inner reflection and unleashing suppressed emotion. One of the emotions that the Anahata unlocks is compassion and love, which can be felt through journaling exercises. For example, write down at least three things you are grateful for. Do this every day until you feel its uplifting effects.
- Affirmations: Bad habits and thinking patterns are learned behaviors that can, in fact, be unlearned. Because we are so used to thinking this way, it is so ingrained that it can be tricky to change. However, positive affirmations have been proven to activate our brains to think positively.
The heart chakra thrives with joy and compassion towards ourselves. The more we practice these positive affirmations, the more we will convince ourselves of their truth (2). Every morning when you wake up, repeat three things that you love (or want to love) about yourself – for example, “I am strong,” “I am loved,” “I am confident,” etc. Check out these cards if you want something to help facilitate your practice.
- Guided meditations: When something is troubling you, or you have anxious feelings, it can often be due to a chakra imbalance. Meditation is a powerful tool for mindfulness and finding stillness, but it can be particularly hard when you feel uneasy. Perhaps a guided meditation with a theme relating to self-love and compassion can help, such as this one.
There are many forums online offering free guided meditations with different lengths, so you can pick and choose whatever you need at the time. Meditation will also slow your breath and give you more clarity in your mind.
When I mean chocolate can help with opening the heart chakra, I am NOT talking about the white or 30% chocolate bars we sometimes (or always) indulge in. If you are a dark chocolate lover, this one is for you!
Read below to learn about a delicious heart-chakra-balancing hot chocolate recipe.
Cacao has been used for many centuries in Central and South America as a medicinal plant. This is because it has micronutrients and properties that keep us healthy as well as gaining clarity and happiness. While it is not hallucinogenic, cacao releases serotonin, endorphins, and theobromine that can evoke feelings of warmth, comfort, and happiness. The caffeine in it also helps with enhancing focus, clarity, and creativity. Therefore, the Mayans have used cacao in spiritual ceremonies to deepen their connection with the Gods (3).
These ceremonies are becoming more popular, and are often combined with circles of ecstatic dance, meditations, manifestation, singing, etc. If you don’t have access to any cacao ceremonies near you, you can follow the recipe below and make your own!
When you consume cacao, don’t simply drink it as you would normally. Instead, set intentions for what you want the cacao to help you manifest in your life. You can choose to manifest a physical goal or a feeling you want. By being clear in your goals, you also help open your heart to opportunities that will give you them. Cacao works to give you enhanced mental clarity and positive feeling when setting these goals too. You can meditate, listen to soothing sounds, sing, dance, etc. to further raise your cacao experience.
The Secret Recipe
- 50 g of 100% cacao chocolate (blocks or chunks)
- 1-2 tbsp coconut milk (or nut milk of choice)
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar (or other sweetener)
- Pinch of cayenne (optional)
Bring the water to a simmer before adding the chocolate. Stir the mixture until the chocolate has melted, and then add the rest of the ingredients until everything is combined. Make sure the mixture never boils so that the chocolate doesn’t burn!
There are many reasons why we need to keep our Anahata chakra balanced and cared for. A lack of self-love and compassion will feed into how we treat others and how much positivity we can attract into our lives.
Blockage in the heart space can manifest into physical and mental illnesses too, which is why it is vital to practice self-care every day.
Everyone’s version of self-care is different, but there are many options that you can try to find out what works for you. Breathwork, meditation, yoga, spiritual enhancing activities, and even foods can help open this chakra.
Once we find balance in the 4th chakra, we can start to experience our spirituality and work on the chakras above it, in our throat, third eye, and crown of our head. It is inevitable to be thrown off once in a while and to experience tension throughout the body and mind. However, knowing how to regain clarity can help you have more balance in the long run.
Hi, I’m Amanda! I’m a singer/actress as well as a yoga instructor, who is super passionate about holistic wellness. Having suffered mental and physical stresses due to the hectic life of a performer, I have regained strength through practicing yoga, mindfulness, and healthy eating. I am a firm believer in the power of holistic health to navigate this crazy world we live in, and I hope to help and inspire others on their journeys to a healthier, happier self.