June 21, 2013

The 4th Chakra & Matters of the Heart. ~ Joan Hyman

“Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else.”

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Our heart chakra is the center of the rainbow that makes up the chakra system.

As a society, we have moved away from the Piscean Age, where there was much undoing and death of the old ways, and into the Age of Aquarius, where more people are waking up and moving toward a place of awareness and understanding for each other.

This shift brings us closer to a more spiritual place where we can learn to live from the heart chakra.

Most people live within the lower chakras, which are related to survival, pleasure and power. To rise up to the heart chakra means we also have to deal with pain and underlying grief. This can be especially difficult in the fast-paced world in which we live.

When we are constantly focused on paying our bills and getting ahead in our lives, there is little time for self-reflection and dealing with painful emotions that we have stuffed down and ignored because we are too busy. Pleasure can be confused with love but is short lived; whereas love is everlasting but can be painful.

The answer lies in us learning to love ourselves first.

This is a deep question to ponder—do you really love yourself and what does that actually mean? Do you treat your body as you would your own child and feed it with healthy, nourishing foods and regular exercise? Are the people with whom you surround yourself loving and supportive?

Start by observing these things in your daily life and make the changes slowly. Truly loving someone else begins first by loving yourself and taking the best possible care of your own physical and emotional needs which creates space in your life to then share the abundance of love.

Dedication and compassion are traits that are equally important and can help open the heart chakra. Loving someone or something creates dedication and commitment, and we learn compassion by dealing with our pain because we gain awareness from painful situations. This helps us understand others and stay open to all types of people when we learn we all have something to teach one another.

All of us have something unique to offer the world, and we can grow and shine when we stay open to all types of people and situations in life.

Sadly, as part of the human condition, we often shut down and just focus on survival because we can feel unsafe in the world, forgetting to bring our energy up into this place that resides in the heart.

Therefore, our breath is the most important and healing force we have—and the more we use it, the more we can open our heart chakra.

Pranayama, yoga practice and conscious breathing are all techniques that foster opening of the heart. Breathing is the direct link that connects our physical bodies to our spirits. Take deep breaths in when you are feeling low and know that we all have the right to abundance and love.

Learning to love even the darker sides of ourselves can help us find intimacy in any relationship and especially within ourselves. Inner work is key to closely understanding the human condition and relate better with others. Remember, we are all loving human beings who are on this planet to help elevate our society, so be kind to yourselves and transfer that love to those around you.

Contribute to humanity by living a life that you are proud to share with others.

When we live from our heart center, we can find balance in our lives and a sense of connection with everyone and everything around us.

Joan Hyman is a distinguished YogaWorks Senior Teacher, who weaves her personal yogic journey into popular teacher trainings, workshops and retreats around the world. Her teachings come from an organic, intuitive place as she draws upon the joyful study of Ashtanga, Ayurveda (the science of life), chakras and meditation. With over 20 years of experience, Joan’s extensive travels and openhearted approach to teaching yoga illuminates her energetic spirit and uplifts all students to continuously evolve. Joan’s next workshop will be at Kindness Yoga July 12 – 14. You can find more information on her website.



 Like elephant journal on Facebook.

Assistant Ed: Dana Gornall/Ed: Bryonie Wise


{Photo: via Neural Damage on Pinterest}

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Rogelio Nunez Jun 21, 2013 7:40pm

good reminder, thanks….anusura yoga focuses on thus aspect/cakra….
all the cakras need to be cleansed, in order to go to the upper most, throat, 3rd eye n crown…which are the most etherial n least physical….self love teaches us to love each other n God…this way we connect on a universal level n sense our oneness.

Joan Jun 21, 2013 11:08am

Thank You Kate and Bob! It felt sweet when I wrote this, happy you both enjoyed this! 😉

Bob Weisenberg Jun 21, 2013 7:56am

Enjoyed this, Joan.

Bob W.

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

elephant journal

Elephant Journal is dedicated to “bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society.” We’re about anything that helps us to live a good life that’s also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant’s been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter’s Shorty Awards for #green content…two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of elephantjournal.com. Questions? Send to [email protected]