The heart chakra is located at the center of the chest and is our source of compassion, love (including self-love), empathy, forgiveness and acceptance. In these unnerving times, it’s more important than ever that we keep our heart chakra open and healthy.
Sooo, how do we clear our Heart Chakra?
The chakras are not self contained. They build upon one another, like a ladder. So for us to effectively clear the heart chakra, we should start at the beginning. I’ll guide us briefly through the lower three chakras before we dive into the Anahata (sanskrit for heart chakra).
1. Start at the Root Chakra
The root chakra, located at the base of your spine, is home to our basic needs – food, shelter, safety. This pandemic has shaken our foundations, challenged our security, left many financially unable to provide for themselves and their families. The result is fear-driven survival crisis, which can cause even the healthiest root chakras to risk blockage. When you’re suffering from blocks, you may develop an eating disorder, anxiety, paranoia, panic, fear and/or worry. To help clear our the Muladhara, practice these three rituals:
- MANTRA: Look at the red picture above and repeat 5 times the mantra “I am grounded, safe, and supported by the universe”.
- PRANAYAMA: Breathe in for a count of 5 and out for a count of 7 to relax the nervous system. Repeat this breath for 1 minute. As you’re breathing imagine roots stemming from deep within you into the earth and let yourself feel supported and grounded.
- POSE: Hold tree pose on each side for 30 seconds. Grip the earth with the toes of your standing foot and similarly imagine roots growing from your foot deep into the earth. You are welcome to hold on to the wall for support in your balance. Malasana Pose, or yogi squat, is also a wonderful grounding pose.
2. Move Your Attention to the Sacral Chakra
The sacral chakra is located above the root chakra, between your belly button and tailbone. It is home to your emotional life, creativity and sensuality. 2020 has taken us on a roller coaster of emotions, resulting in, I’m sure, an abundance of root chakra disturbances. A blocked Svadhistana is associated with fearing change, absence of enthusiasm and joy, lacking creative inspiration, addictive behavior, and/or emotional instability. To help clear:
- MANTRA: Look at the orange picture above while you repeat the mantra “I embrace change, engage in healthy relationships, and flow with creativity” 5 times.
- PRANAYAMA: Three part yogi breath. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. Breath deep, filling your belly, then your ribs, then your chest with air. Exhale out your chest, your ribs, your belly. Repeat for one minute.
- POSE: Goddess Pose. Stand with your feet in a wide squat, toes turned out 45 degrees. Stay in the pose for 1 minute, but find your own movement by swaying side to side, playing with arm postures, lifting heels. Make the pose your own creation.
3. Cleanse the Solar Plexus Chakra
The solar plexus chakra is located between your heart and belly button. It is home to the ego, and where we derive our authentic self, will-power and is our source of personal empowerment. Anyone whos job is labeled ‘non-essential’ may be struggling with their self-worth, and that is ok. As we move up the chakras, it becomes increasingly more difficult to maintain balance and alignment. A blocked Manipura is associated with a lack of confidence, insecurity, feeling like a victim, and/or low self-esteem. These few practices will help:
- MANTRA: While looking at the yellow photo above, repeat the mantra “I am worthy, strong, and in control of my own destiny” 5 times.
- PRANAYAMA: Use breath of fire to give you power by breathing sharply in and out of your belly, letting the breath pulse your stomach up and down rhythmically. The breath should come in and out of your nose.
- POSE: Light a fire in your belly with boat pose. Balance on your glutes, with your feet lifted 45 degrees out in front of you. Use your hands on the ground for support or lift your arms by your ears for the full expression of the pose. Hold boat pose for 1 minute.
Clearing the Heart Chakra
Garnering compassion isn’t the only reason why I believe heart chakra health is so vital during this pandemic. Being stuck at home can be a breeding ground for drudging up past painful memories and garnering a general feeling of distrust. We are without our yoga communities, our therapist couch, and our nights out with friends. Not meeting anyone new is leaving us more time to dwell on past relationships. Another potential pitfall is if you have been focusing all of your energy on taking care of your family that you have neglected to focus on enriching yourself. Or maybe being in close confinement with a significant other may have built a wall of grudges and resentment between the two of you. Or you could be like me, and let political differences with your parents (or twitter at midnight) bring you to the brink of insanity.
If your heart chakra is blocked, you may be suffering from an absence of inner peace. You could be festering in grudges, averse to forgiveness and acceptance, struggling with giving and receiving unconditional love, lacking compassion towards others, and/or struggling with finding joy. In the physical body, you may notice poor circulation or abnormal blood pressure levels.
When your heart chakra is healthy, you can experience pure childlike joy and deep wholesome love for yourself and others. And, perhaps most importantly right now, hope.
- MANTRA: Hold your gaze on the green photo above as you repeat the mantra “I am filled with infinite love and gratitude” 5 times. Close your eyes and try to envision the color green as you repeat “infinite love and gratitude” five more times.
- PRANAYAMA: Inhale in peace and love, exhale out stale energy. Let your arms move with your breath, opening them into an air hug as you inhale. Exhale wrap your arms around yourself in a hug.
- GENERATE HEAT: Rub your hands together to generate heat. As you rub them together envision a green light bursting from your hands into your electromagnetic field, sealing up any energy leaks. Place your warm left hand over your heart and your right hand on top of your left. Feel your heart beat into your hands as you breathe the green light of your hands into your heart.
- CONTEMPLATION: Sit in a quiet meditative state and recall all of the things, people and places that make your heart sing. Spend a few minutes letting that love be for yourself.
- USE ROSE: Rose quartz and rose scent (from essential oils or flowers) are heart opening.
- POSE: Camel Pose, Warrior 1 with hands interlaced behind back, Eagle Pose to stretch out the shoulders and relieve tension.
The Higher Chakras
The heart chakra is the bridge between the lower chakras (root, sacral and solar plexus) and the higher chakras (throat, third eye and crown). The high chakras are home to your intuition, insight, and connecting with the spiritual realms. That can mean God in any religion, your spirit guides, past lives, whatever you believe in – it’s not wrong. The crown chakra is your connection beyond this conscious life to the divine. While these can be overwhelming to conceptualize, the important message is that it is easier to achieve an enlightened life filled with intuition and spirituality if your lower and heart chakras are in balance.