yoga teacher trainingBy Faye Martins

The Fourth Chakra or Anahata Chakra is located in the heart region in both the front and backside of the torso. It is the mid-way point between the three lower, earth-based chakras and the upper three chakras that are focused more on the spiritual elements of life. When the Anahata Chakra is healthy and balanced, we are in touch with a well-spring of deep peace and love within our own beings.

When the Fourth Chakra is closed down or stagnant, you may feel cut off, lonely and shy. You may also have difficulty forgiving others for their transgressions, forgiving yourself, and you may have a lack of empathy for those around you. Physically, a Yogi or Yogini who is experiencing a blocked Anahata Chakra may experience difficulty breathing such as is the case with asthma or heart disease. A Fourth Chakra that has been closed down because of painful emotional experiences may frequently lead to shallow breathing. In this case, a regular practice of pranayama exercises will help to invigorate and rejuvenate the Fourth Chakra.

If you experience an overactive Heart Chakra, you may experience strong negative emotions linked to love such as jealousy, possessiveness, co-dependency and controlling behavior aimed at preventing abandonment. If you experience an overly-engaged Fourth Chakra, forward bends will help you to turn inward and release stress and tension as you focus on the energy and nourishment within your own being. Supported Forward Bends will help you to let go of a sense of constant “doership” and allow your body and mind to relax from the constant search for love and nourishment from others.

Dirgha Pranayama

To invigorate and circulate new blood and oxygen into the Anahata Chakra, a regular practice of Dirgha Pranayama is very helpful. To practice Dirgha Pranayama, sit comfortably in an easy cross-legged position on your Yoga mat. You may want to sit on a folded blanket if your hips are tight. Start by taking in three full breaths, inhaling and exhaling completely for equal lengths of time.

Dirgha Pranayama consists of dividing the inhale into three equal parts. The first part of your inhale should fill up the lower third of your abdomen, the second part of your inhale will fill up your chest cavity to the lower part of your lungs, and the third part will fill up your lungs completely. There is a small one to two second pause between each inhale. After you have completed your series of inhales, hold the breath for five seconds and then exhale slowly. Repeat this breath five to ten times at the same pace.

© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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