The fourth of the seven chakras is known as the Heart chakra. It’s located in the middle of your chest, in the middle in your breast bone. Its function is to enable us to feel compassion, love, emotions, self-acceptance, and forgiveness. It is associated with the color green and the air element.
It is said that the heart chakra is the most important chakra, as it integrates the higher chakras with the lower chakras and allows you to feel and express the most important force in the world – love.
This is the fifth post of 10 posts on the 7 Chakras System. Here is the first post, an Overview of the 7 Chakras, here is the second post, the Root Chakra, here is the third post, the Sacral Chakra, and here is the fourth, the Solar Plexus Chakra.
Open and Balanced
When your heart chakra is open and balanced, you feel love, feel for those beyond yourself. You’re interested in not just your well-being, but the well-being of those around your, your family, friends, colleagues, compatriots, and even the world. As Sonia Choquette says, “This energy center encourages us to shift away from the frame of mind “me against the world” toward a more generous and friend “me as part of the world” outlook…The heart center expands our capacity to be generous, sensitive, kind, merciful, forgiving, tolerant, and emotionally tender. It opens our ability to see into the hears of those around us and recognize the goods in all people, even when their behavior isn’t considerate.”
Unbalanced or Weak
Signs of an unbalanced or weak chakra is the tendency to withdraw from close connectedness with others through a myriad of defensive posturings. You may be critical, suspicious, and defensive of those around you and in the world. This feeling may actually make things worse for you as you expect criticism and negativity and that is what you engender in others, provoking in others what you feared.
A weak or unbalanced fourth chakra can be caused by wounding from a relationship that didn’t go as planned, over protecting our heart which becomes a pattern and then a state of life- unconnected, adrift, and lonely. A classic example of someone with a closed heart chakra is the character Ebenezer Scrooge from Dicken‘s “A Christmas Carol“. Through his choices and their consequences, his life became so cut off and then so closed but we got to see what a delightful person he became as his heart chakra opened up through the visits of each of his ghosts.
Symptoms of a Heart Chakra Imbalance
- I trust others
- I can turn any situation into a pleasant one
- I tend to look on the brighter side of things
- I like to help others
- I have close, loving connections with several people in my life
- I don’t judge others- living and let live
- It’s hard to offend me and I give people the benefit of doubt
If you answered no to some or many of the above-listed questions, your heart chakra is probably out of balance.
Example of a Situation that Can Throw Your Heart Chakra Out of Balance
From my own life experience, I know of a time when I was so hurt by my Mom’s attempt to help me in life that I closed off my heart chakra for years, much to Mom’s deep regret. When I was 13 or so, my Mom took me aside and told me that I cried a lot for my age and for my peers, that it seems like I was a cry baby and that people think worse of me for my quick response – crying and being upset. I was deeply wounded by this, and embarrassed. So in that moment, I decided I would “show them” and never cry again. And I didn’t – for about 10 years.
The thing is that I’m a person who is naturally quick to tears and now, knowing myself so much better than I did lo those many years ago, is unashamed of my sentimentally and empathy, I cry when it comes to me.
In the years I didn’t cry, I was known as being particularly judgmental of others and quite tough [in a bad way], almost brittle. I can remember the initial effort it took for me not to cry and I’m not sure I can describe the feeling it created in me, a sort of burning hotness, especially along my scalp, that constricted me at so many levels. To further assist in keeping my emotions at bay, for we can’t choose which to let in and which not to, I used to lie in bed at night and envision taking a blanket of snow and laying it over my emotions so that they would be under the ice, at the back of me. This was very effective in sealing up my emotions and hardening me to life.
But as I went through college and started to make connections with others, I realized that this need to be so emotionless, so dry, was not serving anyone, least of all me. So I make the decision to open up again and over the ensuing years, I have come to my current emotional state, open! And I claim the appropriateness to just cry when it feels right. And I’m very close with my Mom who’s happy that I moved on from the unintended effect of what she thought was going to be helpful advice.
Ways to Balance Your Fourth Chakra
Many of the balancing methods below don’t cost a thing and can take just a few minutes each day.
- Tell two people in your life what exactly it is that you appreciate in them. Don’t expect anything in return. Just shower them with appreciation.
- See a romantic movie, or a romantic comedy
- Read some loving poetry
- Volunteer to help someone, like through a shelter or an organization
- Tell the people in your life that you love them
- As this chakra’s element is air, deep breathing really helps. Just sit and begin to breathe more deeply. Really fill up your belly, your chest, and upper chest with air and then breathe out, reversing the flow.
- Begin a habit of deep breathing every hour on the hour for several breaths.
- The Breath of Fire
- Alternate Nostril Breathing
Do Some Heart Openers
- Anodea Judith recommends the following poses as heart openers:
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
Unfamiliar with EFT? Check out this page to show you the basics, for free. There are many other sites that have a more thorough explanation of the technique but they require you to provide your email address. Your choice!
EFT at the highest level: you first state your concerns and that you deeply love and accept yourself. You then release each of the specific ideas, anxieties, and fears that you are feeling. Then you state affirmations or better ideas that should replace your anxieties and fears and that make you feel better, more empowered by thinking them.
Deeply Love and Accept Yourself
You first touch the karate chop point [as shown on the link] while releasing the block through stating, “Even though I feel alone and sad, even though I think _______ [ I’ll never find love, disconnected from my feelings, unloved, etc], I deeply love and accept myself.
Then go through each point tapping three or four times at each point; eyebrow, side of eye, under the eye, under the nose, under the chin, the collar bone, under the breast/ribcage, under arm, and crown – while releasing whatever it is you’re experiencing.
You can go around the tapping circuit a few times until you’ve fully release what you need to.
Starting tapping at the eyebrow and going through each point: I release the feelings that I’m hiding, I can’t create a good relationship, I will be rejected, I will be disappointed/hurt/left, it’s not safe to express my feelings …etc [Keep tapping].
I release all of this from my body. [Keep tapping].
I release from my heart chakra, from my whole body:
Lack of love, lack of connection, blocked from my emotion, don’t care what others feel or need ____ … [fill in whatever you’re feeling that is keeping you from connecting with others, from feeling compassion, from having an abundance of love in your life -as you keep tapping]
Now you begin replacing the feelings and beliefs you’ve just released through saying affirmations that work for you, while tapping through the entire circuit again.
[Start tapping] I am loving and lovable. My heart is healed. I care about others. People love me. I am creating strong, loving relationships. I want to heal myself and others. I give myself permission to be in a supporting, loving relationship. [Fill in what works for you….]
Continue with any of these suggestions from yoga, to EFT, to reframing these issues so that you can become the loving, connected, compassionate person you were meant to be. These balancing techniques will help balance your chakra and make you love and create the connections you need in your life.
Once you feel balanced, opening, and loving again, consider looking at your next chakra, the fifth chakra.
What helps you open up your heart? What are some things you do to ensure you stay connected with others?
Next up: The Fifth Chakra- the Throat Chakra