Continuing then on our journey through the major chakras, we’re moving up now to the heart chakra, anahata, situated in the centre of the chest. The three lower energy centres that we’ve already looked at are associated more with our internal, personal & physical experiences and attachments, whilst the upper 3 energy centres are more concerned with how we experience the external world and our spirituality, the heart centre, is the gateway between them.
Dru yoga is particularly good at opening up and bringing harmony and balance to the heart centre, and just about every practice we do, in some way effects this important chakra. All Dru Yoga’s unique energy block release sequences work on anahata which is a great start!
Think about including heart opening postures in your yoga practice – chair of the heart, twists, bridge, fish, Dru’s flowing tree – will all do the job. I particularly like the Archer pose (see photo), this is a great opportunity to think about your empowering goals and give them some energy. Try also the empowerment breath, details of which I’ve taken from Dru’s “Stillness in Motion” book :
From a comfortable kneeling position (sit on a chair if you can’t kneel), inhale as you raise arms in front of you to shoulder height, palms face forward.
On your next inhalation raise the right arm up overhead, to the vertical, keeping elbows soft, lifting the sternum and lengthening the spine. Feel a gentle twist as your gaze follows your hand.
Exhale as you lower the right arm behind to shoulder height. Feel the stretch across your chest
Breathe naturally as you relax into that posture, visualising your chest filling with light and affirming to yourself “Life is on my side”.
Return to the starting position by bringing the arm back to the vertical on the in breath, breathing out as it lowers in front of you again.
Repeat on the left side. Then rest for a moment with the hands in the lap, taking time to be still and reflect on how the breath has made you feel.
Kindness, an ability to give and receive love, compassion, a sense of empowerment, a desire to help others and emotional maturity are all signs of a heart chakra that is in balance. Working on anahata will also help you to improve your powers of perception and intuition (what does your heart tell you?) and help you to make discerning decisions. When this chakra is out of balance we will show selfish tendencies, have low self esteem and be indecisive. On a physical level the heart chakra is connected with our actual beating heart and circulatory system, respiratory system and upper back and shoulder pain. It is also my experience that working on releasing blockages from this area will also improve your immune response. This is not surprising, as the thymus gland is connected to the heart chakra and this plays a key part in your immune system and the lymphatic system is closely connected to the circulatory system.
Being out in nature will help you to connect with your heart chakra. Recognise that you are part of nature and our beautiful earth, not separate. I love these words taken from an Indigenous American Indian prayer.
“May my heart be in the heart of the Universe. May the heart of the Universe be in my heart. May my heart be in the heart of the Earth. May the heart of the Earth be in my heart.”
Not surprising then that the colours associated with anahata are those lush leafy, spring greens and rose pinks.
If you are focusing your yoga practice particularly on the chakra system, it is always wise to open the heart centre first, that way, when yukky bits (apologies for technical term 😉 ) come up from the lower centres they have somewhere to go and be transformed into pleasant emotions or be released. In my last blog, I warned that too much work on the fire centre might lead to some firey outbursts and I did advise you to work on opening your heart first. It’s difficult to feel disgruntled if your heart is gently opened. Have you ever noticed your posture when you’re feeling down? We generally fold ourselves over, protecting our heart, but if we work on opening the heart with yoga or a walk outside we open up, feel more empowered and emotionally brighter. This is why you feel better when you come to yoga class even if you’ve been feeling down or low in energy.
Enjoy working with your heart centre, and let me know how you get on. Remember to include some quiet time too, so you can listen to your heart’s desires. Ix