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Healing the Heart Chakra

Holding the center of the chakra system lives the glowing green energy of the anahata chakra, the everlasting home of Joy. Because of its strategic location, between the chakras of the body and those of the mind and beyond, it is especially vital that the heart chakra remains balanced.


The heart chakra is associated with the air element and prana, the life force. Not only is breath essential to life (no breath, no life) but it is also symbolic of the idea of change. Dear ones, change is not only inevitable but the legendary author Octavia Butler theorizes that Change is the one and true God. Some changes are difficult, devastating even, but the only way growth happens is through destruction. We can not find healing until we first acknowledge the pain that forces healing to take place.


Every breath offers the opportunity to learn something new about ourselves and each breeze invites us to see something new in the subtle and not so subtle shifts of our lives. Change can be another word for hope. That is part of the magic of entering a new calendar year or season of your life. If you are struggling right now in any area of your life, try to hold on a while longer. Change is coming.


woman with outstretched arms at sunset
Being Receptive to Change


A great way to tap into the pranic energy of the anahata chakra is by reciting the mantram YAM (pronounced yum), the sound of the air element. Shortly after the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2024, I  chanted YAM 108 times, the number of spiritual completion. The number 108 is especially auspicious in a heart chakra practice because the nadis (subtle nerve channels) converge to form this chakra and it is theorized that there are 108 nadis.  When I woke up later that morning, I felt refreshed, centered and grounded. It was as if the chanting of the mantram associated with the center chakra anchored me to a deeper, more profound reality. If you choose to chant 108 times, a mala consisting of 108 beads can be helpful in allowing you to be absorbed in the vibration without having to worry about how many repetitions you recited.


Exercise is also an invaluable way to tap into the anahata chakra energy. Located in the chest, the heart chakra governs the health of both the heart and lungs. We know that moderate, daily cardiovascular exercises can help increase the life span of the physical body. Exercise also reduces feelings of sadness and lethargy both signs of an imbalance in the heart chakra. Isn’t it funny how ancient wisdom and modern science converge to help us become more complete and healthy beings?


To incorporate anahata chakra movements into your asana (yoga pose) practice, think of movements that involve expansion across the chest and intercostal muscles. By stretching the muscles on the ribs, you provide the space necessary to breathe more deeply. This can be accomplished by side stretches as well as backbends.


Now that the physical area around the chakra has been prepared, a pranayama practice can take place. These are breathing exercises that can increase energy or provide a sense of calm depending on which style you choose. I will be writing about specific pranayama styles in upcoming articles. Here, I will just say that these exercises increase lung capacity and the amount of oxygen in the body being of great service in maintaining balance in the heart chakra.


Once you’ve done the work to heal yourself by focusing on the heart chakra, it is time to extend that healing energy out into the world. This can look like cultivating compassion for all beings. It can look like showing grace to folks who have hurt or abandoned you. It can also drive you to put ideas into action that will spread compassion and empathy to all beings everywhere.

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