Your entire being is made up of different bodies: your physical body, and your energy body. The energy body includes your aura, and interfaces with your physical body at various points.
In Hindu Tantra, there are energy centers called chakras. Life force energy flows through the physical and energy bodies, passing through each of the chakras.
If they are open and healthy, there is a free flow of energy and we enjoy good physical, mental, and spiritual health. If there’s a blockage, we suffer from a variety of symptoms. The sixth chakra, Anahata, is the heart chakra.
About the Heart Chakra
The word “Anahata” translates to “unstruck,” as in an unstruck drum. It sits the spine, roughly at the level of the heart, and is represented by a twelve-petaled lotus. Its color is green, and its seed mantra is “Yam.”
This chakra is associated with love, compassion, and connection. It also serves as the midpoint between the lower chakras, which are more closely tied to survival, confidence, and the physical plane, and the higher chakras, which are more spiritual in nature.
Blocked Heart Chakra Signs & Symptoms
Anahata can be blocked by grudges, anger, and repressed feelings. When we keep ourselves from healthily expressing our emotions, this important emotional center can shut down.
This leads to a cycle of repression, where we’re no longer in touch with our sense of love and compassion enough to properly express them.
A lack of compassion isn’t the only symptom of a blocked heart chakra.
Signs and symptoms of a blocked heart chakra include:
- Difficulty with relationships. This can manifest as either trouble with trusting and opening up to another person, or eagerly jumping into unhealthy relationships in an attempt to gain love and approval.
- Impatience with others and the self.
- Being hypercritical.
- Feeling disconnected from the community.
Blockages in this energy center can also create symptoms within the physical body. When these appear, they may show up as one or more of the following.
Physically, a blocked heart chakra may cause:
- Decreased immunity.
- Increased blood pressure.
- Respiratory illnesses.
- Decreased circulation.
- Chest pain.
Since this chakra corresponds to the area of the heart, many of the symptoms of a heart chakra blockage also overlap with serious medical conditions.
Keeping the chakras open and healthy should be considered part of preventative medicine. If physical symptoms arise, always consult a physician to rule out a serious acute issue.
Heart Chakra Opening Signs & Symptoms
Just like a blockage produces symptoms, the process of opening does, too. If someone has been living with repressed emotions, trust issues, shyness, and feelings of disconnection for a long time, these things may become part of their baseline existence.
When their heart chakra begins to open, it may produce very noticeable shifts in their sense of normality.
Signs and symptoms of an opening heart chakra include:
- A deeper sense of the emotions. A blocked heart chakra places us out of touch with our feelings. When it begins to open, we may experience a flood of emotion.
- Increased generosity.
- A willingness to forgive.
- A greater depth of compassion for the self and others.
- A sense of peace.
Physically, an opening heart chakra may trigger:
- A healthier resting heart rate.
- Healthier blood pressure.
- Improved circulation.
Methods to Heal, Balance & Open the Heart Chakra
The chakras are energetic gateways, and there are many methods for manipulating their energy. Every person’s energy body, physical body, and emotional situation is different, so they may require a unique combination of chakra opening techniques to heal themselves.
Meditation and Visualization
Sit or lay in a comfortable position. Close your eyes, and scan your entire body for signs of pain or tension. Consciously relax these areas, until your entire body is in a state of ease. Begin breathing deeply, using your diaphragm.
Draw in breath for a count of four, hold it for a count of two, then release for a count of seven. Repeat this three times. When you are ready, visualize your heart chakra as a circular area within your chest, with a green glow.
Take a moment to evaluate it. Is it spinning? If so, how fast? How bright is its light?
Begin drawing lush, green energy up through the root chakra, passing through all of the other chakras up to Anahata. Allow your heart chakra to take in this healing green energy until you feel you’ve had enough.
Practicing Compassion and Selflessness
Anahata is the seat of compassion. It’s blocked by grief, and part of what causes this blockage is the fact that grief can cause us to become wrapped up in our feelings, cutting us off from our sense of compassion.
Consciously choosing to practice compassion and selflessness helps to correct this imbalance. Even if someone isn’t naturally compassionate or empathetic, deliberately making choices for the good of others can help these actions become a habit.
This helps to open and heal the heart chakra, and can prevent blockages from occurring in the future.
Practicing Emotional Control
Emotional continence is one of the hallmarks of a healthy heart chakra. This doesn’t mean repressing the emotions — it means knowing how to appropriately channel and release them.
There are many ways to do this, from releasing feelings through art, dance, and music, to trance, to meditation, to magical practice. This can give us better coping mechanisms that allow us to deal with strong emotions without repression or harm to others.
Since the heart chakra is blocked by grief and pain, knowing how to channel and direct these feelings is an excellent way to shift a blockage.
Anahata means “unstruck,” and refers to a sound made without needing to strike two objects together. This expresses how sound works as a manifestation of energy — two objects hit each other, creating a vibration that we perceive as sound.
Sound healing works by projecting certain frequencies associated with certain states of being or specific energy centers. The heart chakra is said to vibrate at 639 Hz. Listening to music tuned to this frequency can help heal and open it.
Chanting its seed mantra, “Yam,” functions the same way. Consider doing this during meditation.
Crystals and Stones
Crystals have their own vibrational energy. Certain specimens are said to resonate very strongly with the heart chakra, and can bring about emotional healing and remove blockages.
Pink and green stones are particularly helpful. Rose quartz is a traditional love-drawing and emotional healing stone. Emerald is also tied very strongly to Anahata.
Stones and crystals work the most efficiently if they’re close to the area in need of healing. For the heart chakra, that means wearing them in pendants, neck pouches, or brooches that can be placed over the chest.
See also: Check out the Best Crystals & Stones for the Heart Chakra here.
Herbs and Foods
Certain herbs and foods are known for promoting heart health, and Anahata works in a similar fashion. Specific plants help open and heal this area when used internally.
Leafy greens, rich in fiber and potassium, help the physical heart and energetic heart center. Hawthorn berries, called “haws,” also work on the heart on a physical and energetic level.
Eating specific herbs and foods helps deliver their nutrients and phytochemicals to the body, and aromatherapy works by administering minute quantities of potent plant medicine through the olfactory system.
Every scent relies on volatile compounds that are taken up by the cilia of the nasal passages.
Essential oils of rose and jasmine are known for their love-promoting and heart-opening qualities. Dilute them into massage oil and use this to anoint the heart area, or wear them in aromatherapy jewelry.
If you live with pets or small children, avoid diffusing essential oils directly into the air. They are powerful medicine, and can be too much for little bodies to handle.
See also: Check out the Best Herbs & Essential Oils for the Heart Chakra here.
There’s an entire science behind the psychology of color. Every color evokes a certain mood, and some — like green — have even been shown to help reduce certain kinds of pain.
Anahata’s color is green, and surrounding yourself with it is said to help heal and open this energetic pathway. Wear green clothing, decorate with green, or bring live plants into your living space.
Anahata is tied to heart health, so it makes sense that exercise would help keep it open and healthy. Just like cardiovascular workouts keep your circulation going, they can keep your life force energy flowing. Consider jogging, running, dancing, or other aerobic activities.
Specific yoga asanas are also said to help Anahata. Bhujangasana (cobra pose) and Anjaneyasana (low lunge pose), among others, help stretch the chest, open the heart area, and stimulate this chakra.
Some situations call for the aid of a skilled energy worker. There are a variety of modalities, including Reiki, which can manipulate energy within the body and help open the heart chakra.
If you are well-versed in energy healing, you may be able to do this yourself. Otherwise, you may need to ask a professional to work on you.
Anahata is the center of your emotions. When you express them in a healthy way, this energy center stays open and vibrant.
When you begin to hold feelings like anger, resentment, and sadness inside, it sets the stage for an energetic blockage.
Opening and healing this chakra allows you to return to a healthier state of being, allowing you to freely express love and compassion for yourself and those around you.