The basic right for this chakra is The Right to Love and Be Loved. Anahata is a center of balance, and we can see that with this basic right. Loving and being loved, giving and receiving, intimacy and freedom, etc. are ways we need to balance the love in our lives. One type of balance that I ignored (and I think many of us do) is the balance between loving others and loving ourselves. For most of us giving and receiving love from others is so much easier than allowing this love to flow within ourselves, but really until we fully and completely love, accept and appreciate ourselves, it is difficult to fully and completely love, accept and appreciate others.
This brings us to one of the ironies of the heart chakra. The heart chakra is asking us to be of service and to help others in order to form connections, but until we can become selfless we NEED to focus on ourselves and become selfish to ensure that our cup of self-love is full. Because until this cup is full (allowing us to share the overflow), we are hurting not only ourselves by threatening to run on empty, but also those around us who may be affected by our unhappiness.
The demon that prevents us from sharing love is grief. “Grief counteracts the heart’s lightness and expansion, and makes it feel heavy and closed”, Anodea Judith. Grief is one of those emotions that can completely devastate us and affect not only our mind and spirit, but also our body and health. Like our work in the second chakra, the only way to overcome this grief is to allow ourselves to feel it. No, it will never really leave us, but we need to feel it in order to transcend it instead of letting it weigh us down.
I’ve mentioned before how a painful episode in my life has led me on this journey, and looking back now, I was affected by grief. I lost something that I thought I had wanted. I needed time to mourn this loss before I could move on. At first I just tried to ignore it, and went about living my life as if nothing had happened. That didn’t work, and I ended up closing myself off to the point where I even sacrificed good friendships because I was just too emotionally drained. That’s when I realized something needed to change, and I decided to take three months out of my life to do my training and take the time to focus on me. This decision was not easy, and it didn’t help that a family member reiterated a few times before I left and while I was away how much they disapproved of my choice. Luckily, I had the support and encouragement of my husband, and this period of time became the best gift I ever gave to myself. Not only did I have time to work through this grief and begin the healing process, but it also taught me an important lesson about love. In the end, the only one that needs to love you is you. All other love flows from here.
Let’s end with some pranayama (breath work). By deepening and controlling the breath, we not only gain access to our repressed feelings such as grief that need to come up, but also to our inner power, which knows how truly wonderful (and deserving of love) we are. We will work with Savitri breath which I often teach in my classes. Start by coming into full and complete inhales and exhales (breathing in for 6 counts – 2 counts into the belly feeling the belly bulge, 2 counts into the ribs feeling the ribcage expand and 2 counts into the upper chest feeling the upper chest rise, and on the exhale use the same order - belly falls for 2, ribcage contracts for 2 and upper chest falls for 2). Once you’ve established this full breath, breath in for 6, hold the breath in for a count of 3, breath out for 6 and hold the breath out for 3. Continue this round of breathing for 10 minutes or longer. Try this consistently over the next week and see how it feels for you. To learn more about the Savitri breath, the effects of this particular count, and options for other counts click here for more information.
Feel yourself expand and open, see the beauty within and love yourself, so you can share the awesomeness that is you,