The fourth chakra, your heart chakra, is one of seven energy centers around our body. Chakras keep us balanced by allowing energy to interact with the various psychological and neurological systems in our bodies. The heart chakra, or anahata in Sanskrit, focuses on transformation and energy and can be balanced through various heart chakra yoga poses.
Your Heart Chakra
Sanskrit Name: Anahata, meaning unstruck, unhurt, or unbeaten
Location: Associated with the heart and lungs, the heart chakra is at the center of the chest between the breastbone. The heart chakra’s energy begins at the front of the body and moves through the center of the chest to end at the back; the energy also flows through the spine and between the shoulder blades
Element: Air, meaning this chakra’s is energy is strongly related to the breath, as well as the space around us
Symbol: A circle with twelve petals and a downward and upward pointing triangle that form a six-pointed star. This symbol depicts the union of opposite forms of energy. The heart chakra is the center of integration and connection
Behavioral Characteristics: Unconditional love, limiting the needs of the ego, deep and meaningful relationships, and appreciating the beauty in all things. The heart chakra balances the areas of us that want to give with those that want to receive. By creating this balance, we can focus on being compassionate and accepting of everything around us.
When Imbalanced: You will feel defensive and jealous, will desire excessive isolation from others, and will have a hard time forgiving.
Heart Chakra Yoga Poses
The heart chakra, located at the center of your chest, is strongly connected to your circulatory and respiratory systems. Heart chakra yoga poses include heart-opening poses and those that involve the chest and shoulders.
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): Broaden and opening your chest with cobra pose. This pose is a great not only for your heart chakra, but also to build spinal strength.
- Gomukhasana (Cow Face): Cow pose will strengthen the spine and stretch the arms.
- Garudasana (Eagle Pose): This balancing pose strengthens while focusing on spine and back strength: a fundamental part of the anahata
- Ustrasana (Camel Pose): You will strengthen your lower back and thighs in this backbend while opening your chest and heart to the sky.
- Matsyasana (Fish Pose): Similar to camel pose, fish pose will open the chest cavity and give energy to your heart chakra as you improve spinal flexibility and strength.
- Marjaryasana (Cat Pose): Breath into any back tension which might prohibit you from opening your heart chakra fully in certain asanas.
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-facing Dog): Stretch the lungs while opening your chest to send energy to your heart chakra.
- Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge): As you curl your spine back, lift your heart and chest to the sky to energize your chakra.
- Camatkarasana (Wild Thing): This big, heart-opening pose will build foundational strength in your spine.
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose): As you tuck your arms under your body, focus on breathing into your heart and chest while opening up to the sky.
The heart chakra is important to bring balance to all seven of your chakras. It connects the lower three chakras to the upper three. The lower chakras focus on your physical body and sensations while the upper chakras focus on intuition, mind, and spirit.