Good morning, lovelies!
This week we are discussing anahata, the heart chakra. I did not feel a sense of connection researching anahata like I did manipura, but it was fun reading about the heart chakra over St. Patrick’s Day week. This chakra’s color is green, so I found myself drawn to that color pretty naturally over the week. Whether that’s from my Irish side calling out to me, or because I was learning about anahata, I do not know. Maybe it was a little bit of both? But I definitely have a new appreciation for that rich color of green. 🙂
So anahata – the heart chakra. As you may have guessed, this chakra is our heart center – it is found within our chest and shoulders area and is associated with love. Anahata’s color is green, has 12 lotus petals, and translates to “fresh” in sanskrit. This chakra is associated with being the center of our entire body and is the merger between our lower chakras and our upper chakras. A mantra commonly linked with anahata is “I love”. A goal of balancing anahata is to fill it up with air – making it expansive, free, and open; filling it with knowledge. Within the heart chakra is where our relationships find balance and wholeness. Love is a unifying force here, where we find approval, self acceptance, and sometimes jealousy. When we open the heart chakra, we increase the energy we put in to giving love. When we have a depleted anahata, we cut ourselves off from feeling love. With an imbalanced heart chakra, we do not want to risk getting hurt by someone else so we shut ourselves down (Judith, 2002).
Some signs of an imbalanced heart chakra to look out for include: attachment disorders (particularly with children and their parents), dependence on another individual, a fear of intimacy or rejection, excessive jealousy, feeling unloved, and a lack of empathy (Geroux, 2014; Judith, 2002).
Anahata deals mainly with how we accept and give love, so reading this I made the easiest transition to The 5 Love Languages. If you are a marriage and family counselor, this topic will probably feel like beating a dead horse to you, but you’re also probably nodding your head in agreement. I have recommended this book and given this quiz to so many of my clients. It definitely has earned a place in the world of relationship and marriage counseling, and rightfully so in my opinion! It helps things “click” for people in a simple way that they never thought before. I have made my husband take this quiz several times – once when we first moved in together, and a second time before we got married and were knee deep in our “this is what we want our marriage to look like” discussions. (I’m such a counselor, I’m afraid for my future children!) Not only do I recommend this book to the parents of my clients to increase marital satisfaction, I also recommend it to my client’s parents to increase their children’s happiness. This book can help so many people in a myriad of ways – romantic relationships, family relationships, friendships, etc. It really does feel like I’m trying to sell this book and in no way am I linked to the book sales of The 5 Love Languages, I just know that it works from personal experience and from a professional standpoint.
So let’s talk about what that means and how it connects to anahata. Dr. Gary Chapman developed the five love languages as a way of helping his clients achieve maximum marital bliss. The idea is that every individual feels and gives love within the spectrum of five different “love languages”. The different profiles are: quality time (my personal love language), gifts, words of affirmation, physical touch, and acts of service. When an individual feels love through quality time, they desire receiving undivided attention from their spouse or doing an activity together. Receiving gifts means that a person feels love when someone buys them something, such as flowers on a random day, or a gift that just says “I was thinking about you”. Another strong love language for me is words of affirmation, which simply means that an individual likes to be told they are appreciated, such as their spouse saying “I noticed you cleaned the house today and I appreciate you taking the time to do that”. You may think physical touch means simply sexual touch, but it’s much more than that. Someone who feels love through physical touch likes to hold hands, give lots of hugs, have their back rubbed, or a touch on the arm as someone walks by. Small touches throughout the day help fill up this individual’s “love tank”. Lastly, someone who feels love through acts of service likes when their spouse physically does things for them, such as emptying the dishwasher when that’s not normally their chore (Chapman, 1995).
Using this tool can help counselors teach their clients about love. Since I work with children and adolescents, I primarily use this tool to help parents be aware of how their children feel love, but I occasionally use it to help parents increase their happiness, which in turn helps the client feel love. When we understand how we feel love, it’s easier for us to ask for it, receive it, and give it. Love seems like a silly thing to concentrate on with our clients, but yet it’s a fundamental right for every person. William Glasser, the creator of reality therapy, believes that every individual just wants to be accepted and loved, and when this need is unmet, then we experience an interference in our overall balance (GoodTherapy, 2014).
Some other activities and asanas to help balance anahata:
-chest openers (camel, wheel pose, cobra pose, fish pose)
-alternate nostril breathing (I love doing this.)
-empathy exercise – having the individual imagine they are the other person in the relationship/situation, then have them tell you the story from the other person’s point of view
(Geroux, 2014; Judith, 2002).
So, there you have it! The heart chakra. I hope you are all feeling warm loving fuzzies now!
P.S. The 5 Love Languages website has the love language quiz on it, but I recommend getting the book. I usually find it at most half price books locations for a pretty decent price!
Chapman, G. D. (1995). The five love languages: How to express heartfelt commitment to your mate. Chicago: Northfield Pub.
Geroux, C. (2014). Chakra 4 – anahata – to give and receive love. Retrieved from http://coraandbodhi.com/chakra-4-anahata-to-give-receive-love/
GoodTherapy. (2014). Reality therapy. Retrieved from http://www.goodtherapy.org/reality-therapy.html#
Judith, A. (2002). Wheels of life: A user’s guide to the chakra system. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications.