The heart chakra is the core of the chakras. With three above and below, it’s the bridge between the lower chakras call to action and the upper chakras call to thought. The heart chakra is associated with the RIGHT TO LOVE AND BE LOVED.
The heart chakra’s energy is located in the chest, lungs, ribs, arms and upper back. Physical ailments that can be associated with heart chakra issues are frequent bronchitis, heart and respiratory issues and circulation problems. A balanced heart chakra is one in which someone is caring, empathetic and accepting of themselves and others.
Excess energy in this chakra can be expressed by co-dependency, poor boundaries, jealousy and martyrdom behavior/mentality. Deficiency in this chakra can be expressed in someone appearing withdrawn, critical, lonely, lacking in empathy or fearing intimacy. The counter force that throws the heart chakra off balance most is GRIEF.
It’s hard to make to adulthood without experiencing some form of grief or loss. This can of course be the physical loss of a loved one, but it does not always have to be defined simply in terms of someone we love passing away. It can be the loss of a relationship, friendship or dream. Loss and the subsequent grief are apart of the human journey.
The heart chakra that has not recovered or grown calloused from these experiences can present itself as untrustworthy of others, closed off or too clingy. It can be difficult, but it is so important to let others support us in those moments of grief and continue to open our hearts up to new relationships, concepts and wonder. After a loss, it can be tempting to close ourselves down and not allow hurt to enter into our hearts again. But, we also close ourselves off to new beginnings, connections and experiences.
Boundary setting and forgiveness work are some practical healing experiences for the heart chakra. I have had tremendous struggles with both of these issues throughout my life and alternated between completing closing off my heart because of past hurts and completely letting my boundaries become tread upon and disrespected.
My dad has been my biggest teacher in this area and continues to be even though he has left the physical earth. I struggled while growing into adulthood to set appropriate boundaries and not allow some of his often volatile behavior to cross my boundaries. It was hard. It took a lot of time and eventually, I learned to find my voice. There were times when I was a teenager and younger adult where I completely closed my heart off and felt coldly towards him because of his past behavior, even when he made attempts to correct it. We were starting to find a better understanding of each other as adults and friends when he was killed. I was 28 and he was 51, and now I have a whole new opportunity to work on forgiveness for the circumstances surrounding his loss and for the individuals who will soon stand trial for it. It’s painful and sometimes I have no idea why this happened and why I have to endure it. And then, there’s moments when what I have gone through has resonated with or assisted someone else and I know exactly why I am here with them. It’s a big journey and I am learning to be thankful for it, even though it’s painful.
I turn 33 today and I feel like I am entering this year with an open heart. It’s easy for me to give love, but has not always been easy for me to receive love. The sanskrit word for the heart chakra is anahata, which means unstuck or unhurt. It feels nearly impossible to be free of hurt and I am not trying to be. I do, however, feel myself being open to giving love and being loved and that does come with the risk of being hurt. I am OK with that. That’s part of the experience of being a spiritual being having a human experience. I still have my boundaries and they are stronger than ever, but I am also open to all the messiness that life brings when you love people, animals, the earth and all beings, even the mean ones, even the ones I feel are out to do me harm…I will keep my boundaries with them, but my open heart will allow me to see their stuck or hurt heart and there I can find empathy, even though it’s damn hard.
I have heard more than once that I am “too sensitive” and I used to consider this a weakness. I now consider it one of my greatest strengths. I chose mountain pose with cactus arms to demonstrate a balanced heart chakra. There are so many relaxing, restorative poses I love for this chakra, but I chose one where I felt strong and solid. It’s my strength to be able to open my heart to both give and receive love and I chose to do it freely throughout this next phase in my journey.