How to Heal your Fourth Chakra | 5 Practical Steps
Through lovingkindness, everyone and everything can flower again from within.
- Sharon Salzburg
The fourth chakra or the heart centre as it is most commonly known is located at centre of our chest and deals with themes of love, acceptance, connection and relationships. Chakras are like portals of consciousness through which we can transform our state and ascend to higher levels of awareness.
The heart centre is a halfway point between the physical (lower chakras) and the spiritual (upper chakras) — it is essentially the point of integration between mind, body, spirit and breath. The air element governs here, overseeing the functioning of the heart and lungs — the respiratory system and the thymus gland, consequently this chakra influences our immune system.
Air is associated with thought and so mind and heart are both connected. What you think is how you feel and the reverse is also true — what you feel is how you think. The question is which dominates you?
We get our perceptions of ourselves from this chakra. It resides after all at the centre of our being. It expresses who we are. In Sanskrit is is called ‘Anahata’ or ‘unhurt’ — perhaps better explained as the state of non-violence towards the self, the place through which kindness, compassion and empathy work.
The air element is also about the sense of touch, feeling, observation and intellect and relates to our social connections and romantic relationships (Moon and Venus rules here). Heart chakra healing can help us to expand our emotional awareness, which is so important for us highly sensitive souls:
Our collective mission is to heal the feminine wound within caused by colonial patriarchal violence and oppression through the generations. Our heart centre is a powerful place to be connected to, for this we must put the word ‘self’ before love, acceptance, forgiveness and connection. Our work is to heal the disconnection within so that we may show up in battle (life) as the empowered feminine, the goddess and warrior — Shakti. When we do the work to face and communicate with our emotions, we can allow the heart’s wisdom to influence our life path.
A person with a strong fourth chakra practices self-devotion (bhakti yoga) and tends to their needs with a strong sense of compassion (doing what is right according to the way things are) this gives rise to greater clarity as our mirror gets cleaner from the inside. We’re then able to show empathy to others as we are deeply connected with our own emotional needs and feelings and act authentically. Vulnerable strength is our warrior’s way. Heart-centred people stand firm in their self-truth and are amicable beings that hold the wisdom of surrender to the experiences of both joy and grief that life brings. Creativity flows and there is a sense of peace at their centre.
Giving and receiving is conducted with ease and these people do not draw their identity from things outside of themselves, meaning they don’t seek validation of their worth, it is intrinsic because of their ‘shraddha’ — an indwelling power or faith that derives from the core conviction of their heart.
A healthy fourth chakra moreover, reflects emotional stability and a person who is lead by their intuition rather than logic. The heart informs the head. This person is living more from the present moment. To strengthen this chakra and create a thriving life, we can view life through the lens of gratitude and align intentions based on our truly felt feelings. Divine and unconditional love emanates from a centred heart chakra and there is a strong sense of self-acceptance.
A person with a weak fourth chakra is likely unconsciously masking pain and other uncomfortable feelings through distraction, avoidance and self-sabotaging patterns of behaviour. Ironically, even though anahata means unhurt, we’ve likely been emotionally wounded for this energy point to become blocked. There is a tendency to self-isolate because of issues with trust and safety; touching and hugging is limited and in severe cases, there may be a lack of empathy and an inability for compassion.
Physical problems manifest such as heart and respiratory related conditions, like poor blood circulation and asthma and any kind of pain in the chest, especially if we’ve numbed out emotions and disconnected from grief (both our personal and collective grief is undigested — consciously or otherwise.) The lack of ‘flow’ of our inner waters (which is our Shakti, creative life force energy) can make life stale and stagnant.
The very word ‘relationships’ can evoke negative thoughts and emotions. If the energy is overactive at the heart centre we’re likely to be stuck in our ‘victim’; self-criticism is high and therefore we fear to receive judgement from others — this often comes true (because how we treat ourselves sets the tone for how we respond to the treatment from others). Rather than showing a healthy generosity, which reflects a balanced anahata chakra, we over-give and burn out as we’re not taking action based on our authentic feelings and needs. To put it more clearly, we engage in self-betrayal — the anti-dote of which is, self-loyalty.
Seek yoga — the integration of opposing forces; unite your upper and lower energies through conscious embodiment, centre yourself in self-truth by practicing courage, which comes from the heart! Allow your feelings to surface by dancing between stillness and movement.
Find your centre:
Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.
Below are five practical steps towards the healing of your fourth chakra ~
1) Listen to uplifting melodies. Music is in the domain of Vayu, the vedic wind god for the air element carries sound! It is healing and can transform the vibration of your heart’s energetic expression. Create an upbeat playlist and soothe your heart. Allow it to rest. Don’t forget to dance however, if your body wishes to move! Feel the joy through self-connection. It is the healing balm.
2) Go out in nature and connect with the colour green. Connect with the elements and breathe in fresh air! Look up at the sky and surround yourself with all things green — this is the colour of anahata — natural and healing. Walk and sit on grass; be around trees or take in the scenery of flowers. Eat leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and lettuce and other green vegetables like avacados and cucumbers. Drink green tea. Decorate your home with more green colours and wear these shades too to promote this energy’s frequency.
3) Practice metta and do these yoga postures. At university I was a member of the Buddhist Philosophy Society (The Yoga Society classes clashed with my timetable!) and I learnt and practiced the art of compassion and happiness that is called ‘metta’, the Buddhist lovingkindness meditation. It is a practice of using phrases like, ‘May I experience love and peace’ or ‘May I be well and happy’ that opens your heart to yourself. This good feeling is then extended to friends and acquaintances and then strangers, ‘May all beings experience love and peace’, ‘May all being be well and happy.’
There is also a beautiful Heart Centre Awakening Meditation that I recommend by Christie Sheldon.
Practice hatha yoga postures that open the heart like, matsyasana (fish pose) ustrasana, camel or natarajasana, lord of the dance — poses that allow you to feel freedom and expansion in the upper chest. Deep breathing will encourage the flow of prana-shakti (vital energy) in the body.
4) Create a self-care morning and night routine. If time or other people’s needs weren’t an issue, how would you fashion your morning and night? Whatever just flashed through your mind, do this! A great healing practice is to look in the mirror daily and say ‘I love you,’ ‘I forgive you’ — use affirmations relevant to your experience. If at first you find this too confrontational (sensitive beings that we are) close your eyes and place your hands over your heart and repeat these affirmations instead. Or ask what message your heart has for you today. Follow its supreme guidance.
5) Writing Exercise. Grab your journal and answer these questions for greater healing and integration at your heart-centre.
Name five things that you love about yourself.
What is my relationship to grief? How often do I cry? When was the last time I cried and what triggered this emotional turmoil?
What emotions am I currently resisting feeling or feeling a lot of? How can I transform this energy to either feel it, allow it to pass or lessen its intensity? What tools do I need?
Which connections in my life make me feel happy and nourished?
What do I need from others to feel safe and loved?
Make an effort to move towards these thriving connections and make self-love your priority! Serve from an overflowing cup.
Share your thoughts about your Fourth Chakra — how does your heart feel lately? What changes are you going to make to find more integration between mind, body, heart and spirit?
Join the conversation with other highly sensitive people in my Facebook tribe, Warrior Training for the Sensitive Soul.
You may enjoy the article, Yoga ~ The Air Element
How to Heal the Third Chakra (Manipura)
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