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Chakra Series, Part IV: What is the Heart Chakra?

Chakra Man HeartWhat is the Heart Chakra?

The fourth major chakra is our Heart Chakra. It's found in the center of the sternum (the breastbone) and projects outward in a cone-like spiral, from both the front and the back of the body. It is visually expressed by the color green, although sometimes a light smokey pink, like a rose quartz, may be used to represent its energy. Its simple shape is a crescent moon, and it corresponds with our skin and hands and our sense of touch, and with the element of air.

The heart chakra is the center chakra. It is the meeting place of the upper and lower chakras, the link between the mind and the body. It corresponds with our astral body and is where we find our ability to unconditionally love both ourselves and others. The ages between 21 and 28 correlate to this chakra. We have struggled to learn who we are at the core, and are now ready to learn to love, starting with ourselves. If you've ever been on a flight, you've heard the attendants tell you to put on your oxygen mask first before helping others. Only when we are able to love ourselves, are we able to truly love others and let others love us. When we love ourselves, we are able to give and receive love without limits.

Physically, the heart chakra governs the thymus and the immune system, the heart, the lungs, and the breasts. Minor tightness or pain in the heart chakra area or difficulty in taking deep breaths, caused by emotional stress not physical issues*, can be symptoms that there is an imbalance in the heart chakra. 

The heart chakra is fast and transformational like the element of air. It requires freedom and movement to balance giving and receiving love. A great thing about love is that when self-love is realized, love for others can be given freely without ever being depleted.

Heart Chakra Archetypes

The Actor. The Actor has been thrown off balance by trauma, grief, or neglect. When the heart chakra is closed, The Actor feels unloved and disconnected, and he doesn't know how to accept love from others. She may be shy or socially anxious, and fears connecting with other people. He acts like he doesn't need anyone, but in reality he is desperate for love. She is judgmental of others, and isolates herself from healthy emotional relationships. He lets his ego take over for his heart.

When the heart chakra is too open, The Actor says "yes" to everything. She doesn't define her boundaries and tries to reach for love from anywhere instead of looking inside for self-love. He gives love freely, but without self-love, he feels depleted. She may be possessive or smothering in relationships, becoming jealous, manipulative, overemotional, and out of control.

The Actor is like a sink without a plug. No matter how much love he receives, there is nothing stopping it from flowing out. She can't accept or feel the love, she just lets it flow past her.

The Lover. The Lover has a solid sense of self-love and is able to give love freely to others without expecting anything in return. He is compassionate and kind. She is empathetic, yearns to understand others, and forgives easily. He doesn't judge others or their actions, accepts that everyone has their limitations, and he loves unconditionally. She is good willed and generous in spirit, and is open to new ideas and making positive life changes. The Lover is devoted to the ones he cares about. She is loyal to friends, family, and lovers, and gives love to them freely.  

Balancing the Heart Chakra

Balancing the heart chakra always starts with self-love. You can't accept love or love another without knowing what it means to love yourself. If you have never learned how to love yourself, now is the time to start. The first step is to practice self-care: eat good food, drink plenty of water, get exercise daily, and get regular sleep. Cut back on processed food, smoking, alcohol, binge-watching TV, or any other vices you may have. You don't need to cut unhealthy things out completely (unless you want to). The goal isn't to become the cliche of the perfect human, the goal is just make improvements for yourself. 

Be good to yourself. Love your own face. Would you ever look at your best friend, or anyone else you love, and tell her that she's too fat or too thin? That his smile is crooked or his nose is too big? That her hair is too thin or thick or straight or curly? That his best isn't good enough? Treat to yourself like you would treat your best friend - be your own best friend. Think of at least one thing every day that you love about yourself. It could be your strong legs that carry you, or your sense of humor that brightens the day, or your talent for the piano or guitar. Write these things down, no matter how big or how small, so you can look at them if you ever forget how amazing you are.

Find your boundaries. Learn to say "no" when you need to. Everyone has their limits, and if you push past yours, you aren't helping yourself or anyone else. You can love unconditionally while respecting your limits. You can love unconditionally while still accepting that sometimes relationships have conditions. 

Stand up straight, with your shoulders back and your chest open. When we hunch over our desks, or our computers and phones, we're closing off our heart chakra. When we're feeling down and instinctively hunch over our hearts to protect it, we're closing off our heart chakra. We need to continuously remind ourselves to keep our heart open and take deep, full breaths. Opening the space physically through good posture will help keep the energetic space open. Heart opening yoga poses like the camel pose (utrasana) and the cobra pose (bhujangasana) can help keep the heart chakra balanced.

Rose is the go-to essential oil (and whole flower) for the heart chakra. Other essential oils for the Heart Chakra include florals like jasmine, lavender, ylang ylang, and chamomile. Oils for movement and respiration, such as eucalyptus, cypress, and peppermint, are also good heart chakra oils.

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*Common Sense Warning: If you are having chest pains, difficulty breathing, or any other medical problems, don't self-diagnose through blogs about energy healing. See a doctor.

For educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.