Heartbreak is an inevitable experience of being human. Whether it comes to you through one major event, or a series of trials and disappointments, there will be seasons when life feels like too much to bear. As the energetic center of the body, the Heart Chakra, called Anahata, takes on much of the weight of these seasons. This weight can be felt on a personal level, but also interpersonally, when those close to you are suffering. Even further, heartbreak or stress can be felt on a collective level in response to war, political unrest or natural disaster.
When you recognize feelings of sadness, grief, loneliness, or loss, it is of utmost importance to reach out to your own heart with a spirit of compassion and self-care.
Here are my top 5 ways to heal and strengthen the Heart Chakra:
In experiencing heartbreak, the body often responds by guarding and closing down the heart physically. This results in slumping over, craning the neck down, and hunched shoulders — quite literally closing off the heart. Through yoga you can gently guide the body to reopen the heart-space. Include backbends like camel pose, bow pose, and cobra or upward-facing dog to your personal practice to heal and release blocked emotion held in the chest.
These 4th Chakra affirmations work specifically with the heart center to invigorate and empower your ability to love unconditionally, hold space for others and forgive. Choose one that most pulls on your heartstrings to introduce into your meditation practice. In your mind’s voice, repeat the affirmation on the inhalation and exhalation of the breath.
Animals and children have a special gift for opening your heart to love. Their unconditional acceptance and playful spirit brings a lightness to the heart that helps balance the heaviness of heartbreak.
If you have children or pets of your own, this is a great opportunity to invest in bonding time. If not, ask friends or family members if you can share a meal together or offer to babysit a couple nights.
Volunteering at your local animal shelter or adopting a pet of your own is also a deeply healing means of connecting with your heart. As your nurture others, you also nurture yourself.
Taking a bath nurtures the body and heart on many levels. This is my absolute favorite, and I make time for this ritual every night – no matter where I am.
The warm water releases tension in the muscles that often tighten when you experience emotional distress and soothes the mind by taking time to slow down and relax. Add a few drops of essentials oils to your bath water to tune into your heart through the senses.
Rose, sandalwood and jasmine essential oils are known for connecting to the Heart Chakra, so in addition to adding to your bath can be diffused in the air or applied topically to the chest for further heart-healing.
Loving-Kindness, or Metta meditation, is the style of meditation most connected to the Heart Chakra. Working with the breath, you usher your awareness into the chest and heart-center of the body to resolve the common side-effects of self-judgement, blame and guilt that come with heartbreak.
Find a comfortable seated position, close your eyes and begin to cycle deep breaths into the chest, filling the space around the heart with air on the inhale, and softening on the exhale. Bring to your mind’s eye an image of yourself sitting before you, and visualize golden light pouring from your own Heart Chakra into the heart of your visualized self. Offering this pure light as an offering of love, repeating “may you be healed, may you be happy, may you be free.”
If there are others involved in your feelings of hurt, then expand your awareness and visualize sending this same loving energy to their hearts as well. Continue to expand the circle of love, sending it to your loved ones, your community, and eventually all beings.
“May you be healed, may you be happy, may you be free.”
When your heart is hurting, it’s common to experience an impulse to isolate. It’s important to remember your healing doesn’t have to happen alone. If you feel yourself struggling to connect with your heart or move forward independently, psychotherapy offers an invaluable means of emotional support. Counsel from a professional can be a wise and necessary act of self-care, and having a trusted psychotherapist in your life can bring great relief when processing deep grief, trauma or loss.
These are just a few ways you can support your Heart Chakra during difficult times, but I encourage you to explore your own healthy healing outlets.
You know your heart better than anyone.
Wishing you deep healing, compassion, and love through every season of life.