The Heart: Anahata

The heart chakra governs, predictably, the right to love and be loved. Anahata translates to “unhurt” or “unstruck,” and when it is wounded, we are, broadly, unbalanced. Open-heartedness is fundamental to happiness, wellness and peace. When the heart chakra is hurt, our relationships are troubled; we have trouble with empathy and compassion, intimacy, emotional security, and comfort in being alone with ourselves. Think of the moments in your life when you, without reflection, put your hand on your chest. What is happening in those moments? What are you feeling? Most of us put our hands over our check when our hearts are struck; when our compassion for someone else’s pain overwhelms us or when we badly and suddenly wounded ourselves. Lessons in childhood about love – whether it is is unconditional, always free-flowing, or whether it is a reward for good behavior or hardly available at all – have a significant impact on our orientations to loving and being loved later in life. Relationships throughout our lives also impact the heart chakra, of course; lost loves and betrayals wreak havoc with Anahata. The associated emotion is grief, which can result from a wide range of experiences.

A blocked or underactive heart chakra will manifest in being emotionally withholding, antisocial, averse to intimacy, or lacking the ability to feel what others are feeling. An overactive fourth chakra is associated with feeling jealous, desperate, co-dependent, like a martyr and having weak boundaries. When ki is freely flowing through the heart chakra, it is easy to love both self and others. We are caring and compassionate, but not self-sacrificing. It is easy for us to forgive and to feel gratitude. We are centered and at peace. We walk and sit with our shoulders up rather than hunched over (try that right now; “open your heart” and note whether you feel different, emotionally, once your chest is open to the world).

Asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, pains in the upper back and chest, circulation issues, and a tendency toward colds and infections are all associated with Anahata.