What IS The Heart Chakra? Everything You Need To Know
You’ve probably heard of the seven chakras - the ever-revolving discs that bring in and distribute energy and light through the body. But you may not know much else about the chakras, or how they can be an important part of your yoga practice.
Each one of these seven chakras should always remain open and constantly flowing. However, they do tend to become blocked or shut from time to time and when that occurs, the mind and body can feel the effects of that blockage through a variety of different symptoms.
While one chakra is never considered more important than another, the Heart Chakra does hold some important responsibility in regulating vital characteristics of the mind and the spirit. This chakra grants you emotional clarity for appreciating who you are and how you relate to others. It also helps you to become a better partner in relationships with others. Regardless of whether those relationships are platonic or intimate if your Heart Chakra is blocked from receiving and moving energy, you're going to have difficulty developing them.
Related: How Often Should You Do Yoga?
What is the Heart Chakra Responsible For?
The Heart Chakra is the chakra that governs your ability to feel compassion and empathy. It is also responsible for helping you to accept change, forgive, and be more open to transformation in your life. The Heart Chakra allows you to recognize beauty in yourself and those around you as it awakens your awareness and provides you with the capacity to accept deep connections to your environment. Through the Heart Chakra, you being to recognize and accept the energy of the people who populate the space around you.
You may feel more inquisitive and curious about the world around you and experience an increased willingness to engage with others when this chakra is opened. This chakra invites harmony with the people you love and makes you more receptive to finding peace and tranquility in everything you do, everywhere you go.
What Blocks the Heart Chakra?
Two big culprits responsible for blocking off this chakra are stress and anxiety. These negative influences can come from a variety of sources such as your job, your financial situation, and other areas of your life.
One of the greatest challenges to keeping the Heart Chakra open comes from dwelling on the past. When you are no longer looking forward, you are restricting the energy that comes through this chakra. Are you currently stuck on someone from your past that is no longer a part of your life? Do you still wish for that old flame to return to you? This can be causing considerable damage to your ability to open your Heart Chakra and accept new relationships, new opportunities, and improve on past experiences.
We are always seeking healthy ways to grow and improve ourselves. The Heart Chakra plays no small part in the journey, but you can only accept these changes and enhancements if you are open, willing to engage, and, above all, able to let go of relationships that have come to a final end.
New perspectives are essential to the pursuit of healthy relationships. If you continue to close your heart to change and you are unwilling to acknowledge the hard facts about a dissolved relationship, no matter how much time and effort you put into it, your Heart Chakra will remain closed.
Perhaps this relationship involved a significant other, or maybe an old friend has betrayed or abandoned you. It could even be a lost connection with a parent or other relative. These can be devastating endings in our lives, but the impact is made all that much worse when we prevent ourselves from finding new relationships to help us heal, enrich our lives, and bring us joy and happiness.
Holding grudges might feel good at first, but the pain lingers for far longer than you might expect. Unless you let go and forgive, you are only hurting yourself by holding onto that pain. Grudges can block growth and change from happening, and keep you from living a healthy and happy life.
It can be tough to forgive and forget, but when you are holding the pain inside your heart and continue to reinforce the same thought process that keeps these feelings alive, you are doing yourself a great disservice.
Sometimes we find ourselves unable to process these feelings, choosing instead to keep them bottled up and unresolved. That can be just as effective at blocking the Heart Chakra. Even a release of your emotions can go a long way towards opening your chakra again. Doing so in a safe and healthy manner will work wonders for helping you release these pent-up feelings. This can be done in any number of ways - sometimes you need a good cry or you want to shout at the top of your lungs. Exercise is one way to help you get those emotions out and talking to someone you love and trust is another.
Yoga Poses for Opening the Heart Chakra
For some, that release of emotions and the healing that comes with it can also be found in yoga. Fortunately, there are many poses that are excellent heart openers to allow yourself to become more accepting of change and the world around you. When you welcome empathy, forgiveness, and change, you are allowing yourself to improve, grow, and accept new challenges, new relationships, and greater peace and joy.
Let's explore some of the more popular postures that can help open you up and expose your Heart Chakra to the world.
This pose begins in a face-down position. Position your legs and hips against the floor and bring your trunk up from the floor, extending the spine. Do this without relying on your limbs to provide you leverage as you lift. From there, use the legs to stretch the extension of your spine until you're in an extended position.
Begin the pose in a face-down position with the legs stretched out behind and separated from one another, with the toes straight. Put your hands beneath the shoulders with the fingers pointed at the top of the mat. Keep the elbows snug to the sides of the body. From there, push the pubic area and feet down, inhale and bring your head and chest up, with the shoulders back and chest pushed out forward. Lift the chest from the floor, arms straight, with the spine lengthened. From here, you can move into high or low cobra based on your particular comfort zone in the posture.
This posture begins on the back, with feet on the mat and knees pointed up to the ceiling overhead. Place both hands on the mat next to the ears, fingers pointing towards the shoulders with your elbows pointing upwards. As you inhale, use your hands and feet to bring your body off the floor and hold.
Reverse Plank Pose
Start by sitting on your mat with both legs extended out. Place the palms of your hands next to the hips with fingers pointing towards your toes. Inhale as you push your hands and feet down to bring the hips up. If you wish, you can stretch your head back, opening the throat as you focus behind you.
Want to learn more great yoga poses to try? Check out the Yoga Society Poses Blog.