Anahata Yoga is a unique yoga practice which takes its name from the fourth chakra, located at heart center. Otherwise known as the “Heart Chakra”, the Anahata chakra represents love, empathy, balance and compassion. In fact, the word “Anahata” itself means “Unhurt, unbeaten and unstuck.”
The Anahata, or “Heart” Chakra
When the heart chakra is engaged and open, one is able to act from a higher consciousness. It is also regarded as the healing center, for many regard love as the greatest force in healing. By opening the Anahata chakra, the energy of love is released, and loving kindness is practiced. It opens the heart to not only yourself, but to others around you. While all chakras are vital, the heart chakra is especially important as it also us to plumb to the deepest areas and connect with our true soul.
Anahata Yoga Origins
Anahata Yoga it greatly influenced by its predecessor, Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga, which means “force” in Sanskrit, is a branch of yoga which places importance on physical movement along with mindful well-being. The majority of yoga practiced today fall under the category of Hatha, including Anahata Yoga.
What is the Purpose of Anahata Yoga?
Anahata Yoga’s main purpose is to unify, open and stimulate the energies which come enter the practitioners heart through various breathing exercises, postures and mediation techniques. The physicality of Anahata Yoga should not be experienced as a struggle or difficult exercise. Rather, its primary focus is on breathing deeply through the movement, thus awakening the heart.
There is a form however to the practice. Included in this form is a warm up, which includes various Yogasanas, or poses, Pranayama, or breathing exercises, and brief moments of mediation. After setting a personal intention before the practice, the practitioner then sits in silence, and pays mindfulness to their breathing. After the breathing exercises, a set of poses are done, which are intended to open the heart and engage the spine.
A practice of Anahata Yoga would consist of warm poses, standing poses, then balancing poses, followed by a meditation session. All Ahahaha practices finish with Shavasana, or corpse pose.
All the poses in Anahata have a purpose, which is designed to open the heart chakra, loosen the tight of joints, and release and unblock energy flow, so that it may flow freely throughout the body. The following are poses which will mostly likely be practiced in an Anahata Yoga class
Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Camel Pose is strengthens the spine, shoulders and arms while at the same time opens the chest and heart chakra. It is a poses which also opens not only the practitioner physically, but emotionally as well, as it reveals our vulnerabilities.
Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
Cobra pose also aids in strengthening the back while opening and exposing the heart chakra, as well as stimulating the circulatory system.
Marjariasana (Cat Pose) and Bitilasana (Cow Pose)
Although separate poses each with their own strengths, to achieve maximum benefits it helps when done alternating. This pose is is all about contraction and expansion. It helps in loosening the kneading out the tension of the entire back and neck. Releasing the tension in these areas is vital for
Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
The fish pose is an excellent pose which improves spinal flexibility and strengthens it as well. It also expands the chest cavity, which also the heart chakra to fully open.
Backbends in general can be difficult for those with a closed Anahata Chakra as it can break about feelings of being unsafe. However, these poses are vital in opening the heart, and the rewards of a healthy mind and heart are priceless.
The Benefits of Anahata Yoga
Proper balance and openness of the heart is vital. Anahata itself bridges the lower and upper chakras. Having this open and stimulated is more than goal for emotional, physical and psychological well being; it is a necessity.
The heart chakra affects the health of not only the heart, but of the lungs, chest and arms as well. When not tended to or out of balance, poor circulation, and other physical ailments can occur.
Mentally, an imbalanced heart chakra can cause feelings of isolation, loneliness and disconnect. It can leads to feelings of unworthiness and leave the practitioner with an inability to trust themselves or others.
Feeling of forgiveness live in the heart chakra. That is why practicing Anahata Yoga will aid in “releasing” these feelings of negativity. Even when when want to let go, sometimes we just don’t know how. This is where practicing Anahata Yoga can be of great service.
Anahata Yoga is a wonderful practice in that is opens up bodies and minds to greater awareness and connection with our true selves. By practicing Anahata, you are letting go of fears, resentments, anger. And allowing room instead for joy, wisdom and truth.
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