The fourth chakra, called Anahata which means "unstruck" is located at the heart center is the mid-point of in the seven chakras system. Ruled by the air element the heart chakra is the gateway through which all of our physical experiences pass in order for us to gain understanding of our deepest emotional beliefs. It rules over the air element and involves our cardiac and pulmonary function. Imbalance here can manifest as overly emotional reactions or anger and resentment. When balanced we are unafraid to experience the myriad emotions contained within the heart and are able to find gratitude and contentment with our given situation.
Body Systems: Circulatory, Respiratory
Parts Affected: Chest, heart lungs, arms, shoulders
When Excessive: Controlled by emotions
When Blocked: Fear, resentment
When Balanced: Gratitude
Mudra: Vajrapradama Mudra (see also Emotional Healing Mudras)
Bija Mantra: Yam
Clasp fingers and open palms toward heart; point thumbs upwards. Hold a few inches away from the chest.
Benefits: Builds confidence, security, opens the heart very gently
Begin on the hands and knees, toes pointed. Inhale lift the sternum forward and drop the pubic bone back between the legs to arch the spine. Exhale round the back and drop the head and tail bone towards the floor. Repeat with your breath 10 times.
Therapeutics: Massages the internal organs and warms-up the muscles along the spine.
Adya Svasa (Upper Chest Breath)
Begin lying down with head and knees supported. Rest hands on chest below the collar bones and notice the movement of the breath in the upper chest. Notice a lifting of the chest toward the chin on inhale and lowering toward heart on exhale. Imagine a balloon in the center of the chest that inflates when you inhale and deflates when you exhale and concentrate on the feeling of expansion away from the center and surrender toward the center. Repeat for 1-3 minutes.
Benefits: Uplifts energy and mood, massages heart, thymus
Practice Tips: Use when feeling lethargic or depressed
I attend Cheryl's class regularly and feel that my practice has improved immensely over the past few years due to her expert coaching. Her teaching style is clear and compassionate and her previous experience in teaching adults is evident in her organized approach and easy to understand instructions. I also appreciate that Cheryl not only teaches us about how to correctly position ourselves, but also touches on many aspects of yoga philosophy, which in turn has deepened my personal practice and heightened my awareness of the connection between mind and body, breath and relaxation.