The first time I ever had Reiki done, my healer told me that my heart chakra was off-balance and it needed some work. I expected this before she revealed it to me because not only did it become considerably harder to breathe when she was working over my heart, but also because healing my heart has been a lifelong crusade.
Our heart chakra represents everything that has to do with love, joy, relationships, and compassion, in addition to housing our ability to accept and forgive. Our fourth chakra is represented by the color green. When this chakra is well balanced, you are kind to yourself, appreciate others with ease, and are naturally grateful for all the wonders of the world.
The heart chakra is located, of course, by your heart and translates to “Anahata” in Sanskrit. “Anahata” means: unhurt, unstruck, and unbeaten. This beautiful translation truly represents the power of resilience we all hold in our hearts.
As an empath and a sensitive soul, this is the chakra I’ve always deeply resonated with the most, and the one that fluctuates constantly. When I was growing up, I was always being told I was too emotional and too sentimental. Do any of these lines sound familiar to you?
“Pretty girls don’t cry.”
“Happy girls are the prettiest.”
“You can’t tell someone how you really feel. Keep it cool.”
“Keep your feelings to yourself.”
“What are you going to do? Cry about it?”
Hearing things like this, especially as someone who was already intuitively tapped into their emotions, was the beginning of my lifelong crusade. Was it wrong to feel? Was it wrong to claim what I felt in my heart? How much was really too much?
Plop all of that uncertainty growing up over a series of heartwrenching and soul-debilitating heartbreaks that nearly took the life out of me, and you’ve got yourself a very unbalanced heart chakra. I had to learn to love myself first and undo the underlying fear that I was not enough. Spoiler alert: We are all enough.
Over time, I regained my power and my confidence. I started to embrace vulnerability and use it for good. I overshared. I felt openly and boldly. I cared extra for those around me. I became myself through the power of my heart, but that didn’t mean I still didn’t have a lot of healing left to do.
Each of us carries a lot, and some things stay buried in our unconscious minds without us knowing. Sometimes, the things we carry will affect other facets of our lives because we have yet to deal with them. Sometimes what we need to heal is residual from the past, an unknowing habit in the present, or it’s energy we’re feeling in the present moment.
When we close our heart chakras, we don’t allow ourselves to receive some of the greatest pleasures in life. Often, the reason this chakra is off-balance is because of old wounds and ideals our ego has so graciously carried for all of these years.
Does this resonate with you? If so, I’m going to take you through some magical practices and tools to help you heal your heart chakra. Since I’m working on this too, I spoke to a variety of experts who had some amazing advice to offer. Let’s let some more light and love in, shall we?
Lindsay Coldrick, an energy healer, recommends two stones, in particular, to help you heal your heart chakra.
“I recommend rose quartz to everyone for their heart chakra. It's such a beautiful, warm crystal and I describe it as “a gentle hug for the soul.” It has gentle energy and is for love, self-love, and compassion. Malachite is more of a sledgehammer to the heart. It opens up past hurts and wounds which need to be raised to heal.”
You know we love affirmations at I AM & CO! I have affirmation cards around my room, snuck between pages of books, at my desk in my office, and I’ll pull a new one whenever I need it.
Mandy Barbee, a certified clinical hypnotherapist and yoga instructor, gave me insight into the power of affirmations for the heart chakra specifically.
“Since heart function is governed by the autonomic nervous system, subconscious belief systems have everything to do with the functionality and health of this energy center! Some effective affirmations to incorporate into daily practice are, “I am available to receive all the time because I am safe and loved,” “There is no limitation on my abundance and happiness,” and “My heart is light, and my energy is unlimited.”
Since I’ve started yoga teacher training, I’m BIG into mantras. That’s why I loved the advice I got from Veronica Parker, wellness mindset coach, certified Kundalini yoga and meditation teacher.
“One of my favorite mantras from Kundalini Yoga is Guru Guru Wahe Guru, Guru Ram Das Guru. This mantra invokes the vibration of Guru Ram Das who represents the energy of healing and miracles. Whenever I'm feeling out of alignment in my heart center, I love playing and chanting this mantra to help open up my heart chakra, forgive myself and become grateful for all the little things in life. What are you grateful for right now?”
I’m a huge fan of essential oils and think that scents have an incredible power to shift our moods, heal our mindsets, and bring us into the present. For the heart chakra, Caitlin Policastro, clinical director at New York Center for Innovative Medicine, suggested applying neroli to the area of the fourth chakra because it “emanates a sense of calm and lightness,” or using rose or rosewood which “allows up to open our hearts to enlightenment.
For additional goodness, Policastro recommended lavender, jasmine, and marjoram to open the heart chakra. The last three scents are best paired while meditating or practicing your chakra affirmations!
Changing Your Space
Travel always could nurture my soul and open up my heart to so many undiscovered adventures. I’m not the only one! Katie B Happy, master motivator and founder of b_inspired, has similar sentiments.
“Travel gets me remembering how big the world is. Whenever I feel my 60k thoughts spiraling into a tornado of self-doubt and indecision, I remember what it feels like to meet people of different cultures, see worlds you've never seen before. If you can't travel to Africa, try a town 30 miles away... just wander the local streets and see new people.”
I have mixed feelings about tarot cards, but I do love how Sasha Graham incorporates them for healing the heart chakra.
“To heal and empower your heart chakra, select your favorite tarot card. Examine the card and bring it to your mind's eye. Lie down comfortably and place the card on your heart center while repeating the following phrase three times: my warrior-heart welcomes the wounds letting in the light.
Sit up, shuffle your card back into the deck and pull a random card to answer the following question: "What can I focus on to empower by beautiful, vulnerable heart?" Allow the card to inspire a gentle and empowering answer."
Breathing is not simply our lifeforce, it’s also an incredibly powerful tool for healing if practiced with intention. Rev. Connie L. Habash, of Awakening Self, suggests one of my favorite breathing techniques: compassionate breathing.
According to Habash, compassionate breathing “is an easy and simple practice that connects you to the heart chakra in a visceral, palpable way.”
How to do it?
”Place one or both hands on your heart chakra, at the center of your chest. Breathe in love and compassion, and feel the breath under your hand.
Imagine what love and compassion would feel like if you could breathe them in. Be understanding towards whatever pain is felt, and continue to breathe in the love and compassion. Feel the compassionate touch of your hand at your heart center. After a few minutes, relax and soak it in.”
Dr. Merry from HealthyButSmart.com uses the following meditation for teaching medical students and uses it with patients as well. Can you find seven minutes in your day for some mindful heart work?
Finally, There’s Forgiveness
Does forgiveness come quickly to you? If you’re like me, forgiveness towards others is always easier than self-forgiveness. Melisa Caprio, author of “Postcards to the Universe,” gave me an amazing ritual for healing the shame or resentment in our hearts.
“Write a self-forgiveness letter. List everything you can think of where you allowed something or someone to hurt you and you didn’t stand up for yourself. Speak as if you were speaking to your inner child and tell yourself how sorry you are that happened.
Ask your heart for forgiveness. Sit in front of a mirror and look into your own eyes and say, “I forgive you, I love you and moving forward I will lovingly take care of you always.” Take a few minutes with your hand over your heart and keep repeating these words until you feel complete. Breathe deeply and allow this new energy to sink into your heart chakra. Do this every day until you feel you have forgiven yourself for everything.”
What About Your Other Chakras?
If you are looking to balance more than just your heart chakra, check out this guide for balancing all seven of your chakras.