Heart of Hearts – How to Balance the Fourth Chakra
The all-important fourth chakra, the heart, is in the centre of our energy system. It integrates the three base chakras with the three upper vortices. It radiates like a beacon of love and compassion when balanced, and we are easily able to both give and receive love. When there is an imbalance, this chakra can cause strong emotions like melancholy, jealousy and lack of nurturing connection. Learning how to expand and balance its flow means keeping tabs on the emotional landscape of your life and requires regular dedication to self care. But the rewards are great! A rich sense of gratitude and connection stem from harmonious oscillations between the root and heart. And, a sense of inner guidance and light will be nourished by the flow between the heart and the Third-eye and Crown. There are so many benefits, so let’s get to it and open to giving and receiving love!
How to Balance the Heart Chakra:
- To balance the Root, we introduced the idea of oiling the feet. For the Heart chakra, which is connected to the air element and the sense of touch, there’s nothing better than full body oil massage with the aroma of love – Rose essential oil. Getting a massage from a professional or a loved one are of course super nurturing and optimal for self care. But, if you don’t have access to this, there’s nothing stopping you from taking time to give to yourself. Move from the heart to the feet and back again opening that lower channel, and then move from the heart to the face and scalp and back, ending with the tips of the fingers in towards the heart. Then, place both palms on the heart (left followed by right) and send kind and loving energy toward yourself.
- You are enough! Depletion can come from too much fire at the navel rocketing us into constant action. But this is reinforced by the Heart centre disbalance of feeling that we are not enough. This keeps us cued into the ‘doing’ of the navel as we are motivated by a desire to constantly prove our own worth. Keep both centres working together positively by sitting as above, hands on the heart, with the affirmation: “I am enough, just as I am;” “There is nothing to prove;” “My True Nature is joyful, fearless, expansive and playful.”
- Give four to eight 20-30 second hugs a day! Research has shown that hugging someone for at least 20 seconds causes your body to secrete oxytocin, the feel-good, bonding hormone, and that we benefit from hugs at least four times a day. With the distance created by social media and the false sense of socializing it conveys, it is even more important to reach out and touch someone! If you live alone and work in a more formal professional setting, four hugs may sound hard to come by. So, let this be a cue that you’re going to need to get creative and create more actual physical connection in your life. Hug the kids. Hug the dog. Introduce hugging into your less formal interactions – book club, yoga class, moms group, when you’re introduced to someone. Use your Heart-space skill in navigating how to introduce this if it is not common in the ethos as it exists. If you’re doing enough self care, it won’t come from a place of lack, but rather from a place of community and relationship building.
- Open up! In your asana practice, try supported Fish pose or practicing Savasana with a bolster under the Heart. If you’re a yoga teacher, try a yogic closing where students sit in a circle with their hand on the back of the Heart chakra of the people next to them for the final Om!
- Now you’re ready to meditate! Visualize the Yantra of the 4th chakra: six-pointed sage green star, and chant its Mantra: Om Yam, keeping your attention on the back of the Heart. If you are having trouble with any of the tips above, dive into the most fundamental gratitude – that of the gift of life. Remember your maternal line, hands at the Heart and chant as loud and as long as you can – MA!
- If you haven’t before, consider a step (or leap) outside your comfort zone by bringing in a tangible icon to step-up the devotional flow, such as a Krishna or Radha murti. Not ready for this? Choose something in nature that you can use to cultivate gratitude and reverence, such as a flower.
- It never hurts to ask the universe to help you to connect with the Heart chakra.
Don’t forget you can find videos on everything from nurturing nut milks to chakra visualization and chanting to the full Akhanda Intermediate Heart of Hearts class on www.akhandayogaonline.com.