Short of the brain, the heart the most vital organ in the human body. It is responsible for supplying oxygen and other nutrients, it's pumps blood throughout the body, and if it stops pumping we cease living. With such importance and significance of heart, it should be obvious that the heart has an energy surrounding it that is just as pertinent.
The fourth chakra is the next point in the chakra energy flow. The Heart Chakra is located in the center of the chest and it governs the heart, cardiac plexus, thymus gland, lungs and the breasts, as well as the lymphatic system. The Sanskrit term for the fourth chakra is Anahata, which breaks down to meaning 'unstruck' or 'unhurt'. The idea behind the implication of it's name is that under of all of the grief and pain we feel, lies a spiritual place of purity where no hurt exists. Emerald green is the color often associated with this chakra with the element of air being related to it as well. The chakra's energy is connected to breath and movements, as well as the idea of space and connection with all things. Located at the center of the seven chakras with three below (Muladhara, Svadhisthana, and Manipura) and three above (Vidhuddha, Ajna, and Sahaswara), this is the area where the physical and spiritual meet.
Balance vs. Imbalance
Some of the functionalities of the Heart Chakra is love for oneself and others, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, acceptance, awareness, transformation and change. When this chakra is open and in balance one can feel a flow of love and compassion, with a deep connection and harmonious exchange of energy with all that surrounds you. On the contrary when the Anahata is blocked the symptoms will be polar opposite than that of a balanced energy. Like with Manipura, there are two sides to the imbalance. With an underactive Heart Chakra one can lack empathy for others, there may be difficulty or unwillingness to forgive or accept a situation for what it is, one can be withdrawn, feel abandonment, anger and fear. On the flip side, an overactive Heart Chakra can include feelings of codependency, a need for outwardly acceptance from others, extreme jealousy and harsh judgement of others. Some physical manifestations of the Anahata being out of alignment can be heart issues (potentially leading to a heart attack), issues with breathing (such as asthma), high blood pressure, insomnia, even allergies.
There a variety of ways to heal an imbalance within the Heart Chakra and open up that blockage. Any yoga pose that opens up the chest area is effective in the healing of the Anahata. Some asanas can include the Camel Pose , Standing Bow Pose, and Cow Face Pose. Visualization meditation is also quite helpful in getting in balance; when meditating try to envision the color green shining brightly in the center of your chest. Imagine this color reflecting light, bliss, peace and most importantly love in your life. Keeping in the idea of color reflection, the gemstones commonly associated with this chakra are emerald, jade, malachite, and rose quartz. Use one of more of these gemstones when meditating to help with the alignment. The mantra sound that corresponds with the fourth chakra is YUM. To help expand love and compassion within yourself , you can also try a special chant OM MANI PADME HUM. By repeating any one of these mantras during meditation, will help you gain greater access to the positive qualities of this energy.
With the understanding of how your heart operates in the physical realm and in a spiritual sense, the optimal operation of the organ and the energy that surrounds it should be key. Swearing off positive emotions such as forgiveness and love to potentially avoid the idea of being hurt or being vulnerable creates a barrier between the broken you and the best version of you that you can be. The truth is nobody is immune to the trial and tribulations of life. And the inevitability of being hurt becomes more and more apparent especially the longer that you live. But in no way should you limit your living in hopes that you limit the pain. Because in the end you'll end up limiting yourself, and that is the heart of the matter.