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Anahata chakra (heart)

August 25 2019 | Yoga philosophy

Location: thoracic.
Quality: rajasic (active, dynamic).
Element: air.
Sense: touch.
Colour: fire red.
Petals: twelve.
Mantra: YAM.
Yantra: smoke-coloured hexagram.

The Anahata chakra constitutes the axis, the middle piece of the seven main chakras. It mediates between the three basic chakras, which contain our animal past and the three higher chakras, which contain our celestial and divine future and evolution.

The Anahata is more important than the Manipura to our spiritual evolution. If we liken the Manipura to our primate brain, then the Anahata is our humanoid brain, the brain that directs and determines what it is to be truly humane.

Anahata is a manifestation of the element air and its related sense of touch.

Whereas, on the level of Manipura, becoming wealthy or powerful or possessing excellent skills would be the highest goal we would strive towards, once Anahata is activated we learn that the greatest gift in life is to make a positive contribution to the life of others. Because we realise that true happiness and freedom do not arise from receiving but from giving selflessly. Unlike Svadhishthana, which reflects neediness, and Manipura, which wants to take, the Anahata is wanting to give unconditional love.

If you look at the human beings as a promise, a bridge that spans the chasm from the animal towards the Divine, then the heart chakra is the exact midway.

It is important to open the Anahata after Manipura has been activated but before animating the higher chakras. If one opens Anahata without stimulating Manipura beforehand, one is likely to be taken advantage of. On the other hand, if the higher chakras are opened without Anahata being activated beforehand, one is likely to become something akin to a cult leader.

When Manipura and Anahata have been opened, most things that life throws at us can be handled. The heart chakra fosters submission to a higher intelligence and power.

The ability to consciously place prana into Anahata is a great asset for an individual. It helps us to stay centred in the heart and connected to the greater good during trials and tribulations. Placing prana into Anahata is important during conflict resolution.

Like Manipura, the Anahata is a rajasic chakra. The two lower chakras are tamasic and, with their focus on survival, procreation and formation of simple mammalian social structures, they represent our past. The Manipura and Anahata represent our present situation. Rajas provides energy and we need the energy surge of these two chakras to move human society forward across the bridge that spans the chasm between the animal and the Divine within us. To make our path across this chasm, the inertia of the past has to be left behind and great energies have to be mobilised.

Patanjali offers two niyamas (observances) to purify the heart, shaucha (cleanliness) and santosha (contentment). Shaucha relates to physical, mental and emotional cleanliness. Santosha relates to learning to see the perfection that already exists in our life and this world, rather than let ambition constantly drive us.

Apart from meditating directly on Anahata by using the mantra YAM, the most important technique to activate it is Bhastrika pranayama.

Among the asanas, back-bending assists in opening Anahata.  Opening the heart means to be able to love others without needing anything in return.

The heart chakra constitutes an essential step in human evolution. It enables us to switch from mere justice and getting even to compassion and forgiveness.’

With gratitude for these teachings to Gregor Maehle and his book ‘Yoga Meditation’

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