Chakra Location: The Chest
The most commonly accepted location for the fourth chakra is at the center of the chest, between the breasts. It’s slightly to the left of the actual organ of the heart. That’s why it’s often referred to as the “heart chakra”.
As the fourth energy center, it’s important to remember that it is multidimensional and is energetically represented with a front going through the center of the chest, and a back going through the spine between the shoulder blades.
Because of its location, the heart chakra is associated to the cardiac system and the lungs. These organs are interdependent and rely on air and breathing to function properly. The gland associated with the heart chakra is the thymus, which is in charge of regulating the immune system.
The symbol for the heart chakra is traditionally composed of:
- A circle with twelve petals
- An downward-pointing triangle interlaced with an upward-pointing triangle, forming a six-pointed star or hexagram
The intersecting triangles represent the air element and its all-encompassing quality. They also symbolize the union of seemingly opposite principles or types of energies, such as male and female, spirit and matter. The star that they form evokes the harmonious joining of forces and highlights the function of the heart chakra as a center of integration and connection. The twelve petals are often depicted with the color red.
What does Anahata mean?
The fourth chakra is referred to as:
- Heart chakra
- Chakra 4
The most common Sanskrit name for the heart chakra is “Anahata“, which means “unstruck.”
What role the fourth chakra plays in our lives
The Heart chakra is associated with the following psychological and behavioral characteristics:
- Capacity to love
- Integration, bridge between earthly and spiritual aspirations
- Transcending personal identity and limitations of the ego
- Experience of unconditional love and connection with all
- Heart-centered discernment
- Appreciation of beauty in all things
- Experiencing deep and meaningful relationships
The fourth chakra connects the lower and upper chakras. In other words, the heart chakra acts as a center of integration of earthly matters and higher aspirations. Far from seeing these energies as separate, the experience of the heart integrates them effortlessly and harmoniously.
The Heart chakra is all about connecting and relating. The emphasis here is on love, giving and receiving, and how open we are in relationships. Love is the energy that helps transfigure emotions and experiences. It’s an essential element in any relationship, whether it’s is with others or oneself.
Love experienced through the fourth chakra is not just about romance, but about going beyond the limitations of the ego and personal preoccupations to open up more fully to compassion and acceptance of all that is, as it is. When we live from our heart and our heart energy is opened and balanced, we can see clearly and position ourselves in any situation, no matter how challenging it is, with discernment and compassion.
The heart chakra is also a center through which we experience beauty in life. Seeing the world through a balanced fourth chakra is being in a state of openness and acceptance that brings us in touch with our world and ourselves in profound and fulfilling ways.
Signs your fourth chakra may be out of balance
The heart chakra can become imbalanced as a result of life experiences that have a strong emotional charge, physical illments, or significant changes in your environment. It may manifests as a blockage in the energy flow or, on the contrary, a tendency to become overactive or have an excess of energy.
You can see the following signs of imbalance in the heart chakra :
- Being overly defensive
- Feeling closed down
- Jealousy; fear of intimacy
- Codependency, relying on other’s approval and attention, trying to please at all cost
- Always putting oneself in the role of the savior or the rescuer; or on the contrary, falling into victimization
- Excessive isolation, being recluse, antisocial
- Holding grudges, not being to forgive
At the physical level, it can manifest as:
- Respiratory ailments, such as lung infection, bronchitis
- Circulatory and heart-related issues
When the energy in your fourth chakra is blocked or hindered, you may experience what is sometimes referred to as heart chakra pain.
Simple ideas to balance the heart chakra
To get started, try out these few simple practices:
- Work with the breath to balance your energy; observe it, play with it with breathing exercises
- Cultivate your appreciation for beauty, whether it’s in nature, people or in the arts
- Practice self-care and love your body up, from a good bath with rose essential oil to yoga poses opening the heart area
- Cultivate self-compassion and acceptance, especially with regards to your emotions and body
- Engage in activities that feed your heart
- Focus on receiving if you are naturally inclined to be a giver; and on giving if you’re more inclined to receive all the time
- Reflect on old wounds inherited from family relationships and come to terms with them compassionately; practice forgiveness deep within your heart
- Express your gratitude, even if it’s in silence; you can be grateful for the presence of other people in your life or simply for good things that make your life easier and happier
Check out these resources to discover more ways to open and heal the heart chakra.