Connecting with Anahata: Embracing Love
When all knots of the heart are unloosened, then even here in the human birth, the mortal becomes immortal.
Anahata, the fourth chakra, is the heart chakra: the center of love. This love is very different from the sensual or passionate love that you may feel with the second chakra. When the fourth chakra is open, love is felt from within.
Bhakti yoga is a form of yoga that connects us to our emotional center and our heart. Known as the yoga of devotion, the practice of Bhakti yoga is spiritual and as a direct result very personal. The explanations of Bhakti or devotional yoga are varied but there is one joining feature connecting to the spirit of devotion (God), connecting to whatever moves you to feel love.
There is no formula on how you connect to this inner love, it is just there. The trick is to learn how to pay attention and just listen to the love the naturally resides in all of our bodies. I just finished reading “Loving Anthony” by Lisa Genova, an absolutely beautiful exploration of the dimensions of love and it’s different forms of expressions. This book is a very personal journey of two woman both questioning love and its intricacies.
Truly connecting with the fourth chakra is a reminder to leave your ideas of what love is behind (the worrying chattering mind) and open your heart. In today’s world, often our concepts of love (or how we think it should be displayed) stop us from seeing the true love that exists all around us. I often find myself in this trap setting expectations of how I think love (especially romantic love) should play out. As I’m researching this chakra, I’m learning that these expectations are creating boundaries that may cause me to not see the true constant love that surrounds me. For example: I place a lot of value on the words “I love you,” sometimes to the point (I’m embarrassed to admit) of getting upset if I don’t hear it. However, I’m trying to let these ideas go and simply pay attention to the variety of ways that love may be expressed (whether it’s cleaning off my car in the winter, bringing me up a hot cup of tea before bedtime, or a warm smile).
The element for this chakra is air, a reminder to connect with that energizing life giving breath. When we unconditionally share our love with others, we open up our heart chakra. However, this is risky for by extending our love to others there is always the possibility of our love not being returned. In our Western culture, this is a very difficult concept to get our head around. We often see love as a give and take, when we say I love you to someone we expect to hear I love you back. However; this form of love creates boundaries and restricts our heart chakra from fully opening.
Andoea Judith expresses the value of opening our heart beautifully in her book The Wheels of Life, “Love is not a matter of getting connected; it is a matter of seeing that we already are connected within an intricate web of relationships that extends throughout life.” Connecting with our heart chakra works well when we open up both our heart and body. The following asanas will assist in opening up your body:
Asanas that Help open up the Heart Chakra
- Breath of Fire
- Alternate Nostril Breathing
Other ways to open up your world to the love that surrounds you:
- Take an appreciation walk: Notice all of the beauty that surrounds you
- Give yourself a helping hand. In a group of friends (children as well), take a moment to trace your hand. Put your name on the top of your hand and then pass it around the circle. Each person in the circle will write one thing that they love about that person on the hand. At the end of the circle, you will have a hand full of the loving words of your community.
- Sending your love to others: Connect with a smile, gesture and whatever way you express love. Enjoy the magic of sharing this love with others.
I hope that you enjoy this journey into the fourth chakra as much as I am. There are times where I still get caught up in my expectations, however when those moments occur I’ve been trying to connect with my breath and let them go. Sometimes it works extremely well and I quickly see the value of simply loving. Other times it has been a more difficult journey (I still crave the I love you too. At these moments I find that journaling has really helped to get in touch with these boundaries. I look forward to hearing about your journey into the fourth chakra.