Valentine’s Day comes and goes with a flurry of red roses, fluffy red soft toys, candles, cards and romantic dinners. Love reigns — but mostly among couples, particularly youngsters, who believe they must go all out to show mutual love. Meanwhile, the rest of the world goes about life as usual.
In reality, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, pure and simple. It doesn’t matter whether it’s between couples, friends, families … . All of us could do with more love.
And from the perspective of Yoga, one of the ways to do this is by working on our heart chakra — the seat of love, happiness, peace and compassion.
In Sanskrit the heart chakra is called the Anahata Chakra. Anahata meaning “unstruck”. It could also translate to “infinite”. Before we move on the heart chakra, let’s take a look at chakras.
What are chakras?
Chakras are centres of energy all along our spinal column, starting from the base and moving along up to the crown of the head. They cannot be seen in a physical sense but correspond to the subtle body. When all the chakras function to their optimum, then energy courses up and down the spine endowing the person with vitality and vigour.
On the other hand when chakras are clogged, then the body begins to feel heavy, sluggish. One’s mental and emotional state is also affected. And in time disease and illness manifests in the physical body. That’s one of the reasons why it’s always beneficial that we work on our chakras. This is usually through a combination of Asanas that correspond with particular chakras, breath work and meditation.
The major chakras number 7. These are the Mooladhara (root chakra), Svadhisthana (sacral chakra), Manipura (solar plexus chakra), Anahata (heart chakra), Vishuddha (throat chakra), Ajna (third-eye chakra), and Sahasrara (crown chakra).
The heart chakra
The heart #chakra is the fourth (counting up from the base of the spine) and is to be found in the middle of the chest, behind the sternum. The element associated with it is air and it is represented by the colour green.
Being the fourth of the chakras, the heart chakra acts as a bridge between the lower chakras — that provide strength, stability and a sense of being grounded — with the upper three that are related to one’s higher consciousness. The heart chakra thus envelops the energies emanating from the lower and upper chakras binding them together and directing them with love and compassion. Hence there’s a certain serenity to its energy. When the heart chakra is performing at its optimum, one can easily feel love for all humanity and all creation. We are no longer selfish about who we love, who we consider worthy of our love. We are able to feel empathy for all God’s creatures and for all creation.
We can forgive easily. We find it easier to nurture relationships, to resolve all differences.
We have just skimmed the surface as far as our explanation about chakras in general and the heart chakra in particular goes. Let’s take a look at how we can tend to our heart chakra through Yoga.
Almost all Yoga Asana routines have some heart-opening postures. These include the Camel pose or the Ushtrasana. This helps strengthen the upper torso both the front and the back, stretching the abdominal region and the thigh muscles (quadriceps), opening up the throat area.
Another heart-opening pose is the Anahatasana widely known as the heart-melting pose. The pose helps in improving circulation to the heart and lungs.
One of the best Pranayamas for the heart chakra is the Bhramari Pranayama or the humming bee breath. It helps calm the nervous system, is good for the cardiovascular system strengthening the flow of prana (one’s life force).
At Pratimoksha we offer Chakra Yoga classes where we work on each chakra through breathing, asanas, and meditation in our own unique ways.
Coming back to the heart chakra, the more we work on it, the more loving we become … not just towards our soulmate, but also towards everyone in our lives and even the world at large. And most of all we learn to treat ourselves with love and #compassion … .
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY !