Our lives are governed through 7 main energy systems or chakras that run from the root to the crown of our physical body. The key to keeping our life balanced is keeping the chakras balanced. The center of balance is the anahata chakra or heart chakra. The heart chakra is at the very center of our body located in our heart region and it governs love, compassion, forgiveness, creativity, relationships and how we relate to the world.
We live in a dichotomous world; light always meets the hue of darkness. The shadow side of our heart chakra governs hate, resentment, and anger. When our heart chakra is blocked, we invite anger, hate, jealousy, and resentment to govern one of the most vital energy spaces in our body. Have you ever felt your chest tighten or feel like something is lying heavy on your chest, but can’t figure out why? These physical signs are good indicators that your heart chakra is blocked. When your heart chakra is blocked and you become adept at detaching your ego from your essence (self/Self), you will notice other ways in which a blocked heart chakra manifests in your life, and you can view the events symbolically and work on constructively changing them in your life. However, when you are grounded in anger and hate your energy field changes to a very negative charge and the people, places and things that come into contact with you will also be of the shadow hue. This state of being can be very damaging to yourself, your friends, family, and your environment. This state of being is sometimes very hard to pull away from, but with patience, breath, and yoga practice, it can be done.
Certainly we all have emotions of anger, jealousy, hate, and resentment, but there is a difference in letting those darker emotions wash through our being and inviting them to stay in our life. The tricky part here is that intellectually we may affirm this truth, but sometimes our heart chakras become blocked on an unconscious level.
We must practice physically keeping our heart chakra open and a great asana or pose to do this is Anuvittasana or standing backbend pose:
Before going into Anuvittasana, you will need to bring some warmth to the back, legs and spine and get the blood and oxygen flowing through your body. Start standing, feet hip width apart, and active feet with toes spread wide, rooting down through your heels, palms in prayer position, heart center, and come to mountain pose. Stand tall, engage your core, soften shoulders, and activate your quadriceps. Breathe here in mountain for several breaths, setting your intention on opening your heart. You want to breathe slow, long, steady breaths in and out of the nose establishing a vocal breath called Ujjayi. Ujjayi breath is pivotal in warming the body up as well.Feel your ribs expand and your chest rise, and invite love in your heart as you breathe and send it out to someone in need as you exhale or focus on breathing light in and sending it out. After several breaths, you will inhale taking arms upward to sky and exhale, core still engaged, palms together tapping through heart center gently coming into Uttanasana or standing forward bend pose (upper, middle, and lower back come down and you reach your finger tips or palms to the earth, knees slightly softened, and more so if you have tight hamstrings), letting head and neck relax. Gently inhale up – lower, middle, upper back, crown of the head, then raise arms and palms together until hands reach sky. Do this flow several times and come back to mountain pose. Now to take the full version of anuvittasana (also like a variation of mountain pose), stand feet hip width apart, active feet and toes, arms in prayer position at heart center. Inhale and reach arms up and wide lifting and expanding with the front body – NOT THE BACK – hands active and fingers spread wide, looking up toward the sky and breath 3-5 breaths. As you exhale bring palms together, tap through heart center and rest in your standing forward bend for a few breaths. Inhale up and come back to mountain. Do this flow a few times. Close in mountain pose with palms in prayer position heart center, and affirm your intent to keep your heart open throughout the day and your life.