The heart chakra is the chakra of intelligence, creative expression and prana, or the life air. The heart is the subtle location where the soul, mind and prana all reside. All the five pranic airs emanate from the heart. For this reason, all feelings of love, attraction and desire emanate from the heart. The prana balances the air element in the body. This air element is responsible for physical locomotion and also for the flow of thoughts. The heart is therefore a very powerful region which supplies prana and the power of locomotion to the physical body and thoughts by its actions. The heart chakra also creates energy by the power of pure thoughts. When we have a strong desire we can go any extent to fulfil our desire, that power emanates from the heart chakra.
In this article, we will discuss three mudras that can benefit the heart chakra.
What are Mudras?
Mudras are hand gestures that activate a certain element or energy in the body. The five fingers represent the five elements. The energy activation point lies on the fingertips. When the fingertips are connected, the subtle energy in your body gets activated. The thumb represents the fire element. This element represents agni within the body, and it serves to activate all the other elements.
The index finger represents air, middle finger ether, ring finger earth and the little finger represents the water element.
When different hand formations, or mudras, are formed, the combination of subtle elements has a powerful effect on the mind and body.
An Overview of the Heart Chakra
Each of the seven chakras has defining features that make it unique. Below is the profile of the heart chakra, known in Sanskrit as अनाहत (anahata), or “the impervious.”
Physical location: The chest. By bringing your awareness to the cardiac plexus, or the bundle of nerves near your heart, you can feel the energy of your fourth chakra.
Developmental stage: Four to seven years. In this period, the child gains awareness of their belonging within a greater community. Their network of relationships expands to include teachers and peers, and they may even take on some responsibility for caring for younger siblings.
Chief domains: Self-love, compassion, and relationships. The heart chakra shapes our approach to relationships and determines our capacity for love.
Emotional challenge: Grief. While grieving is a natural part of the human experience, excessive lamentation blinds us to life’s many gifts. It stifles our ability to give of ourselves. Love cannot thrive in a heavy heart.
When your fourth chakra is balanced, you are empathic, caring, and non-judgmental. You sincerely wish for the welfare of those around you, including people whose beliefs or opinions differ from yours.
Element: Air. The heart chakra rests at the functional center of the body. In yoga and ayurveda, the life-air, or prana, is the vital force on which all bodily activity depends.
The Physiology of the Heart Chakra
The heart chakra balances the air element, the prana which controls the respiratory system. Prana emanates from the heart and spreads in the body in many different ways. It circulates energy in the form of oxygen and remove toxin in the form of carbon dioxide. Our body’s hydraulic locomotion is also powered by prana. This prana originates in the heart, and this prana resides in the heart along with the soul, or atma.
RECOMMENDED: For a complete guide to the many mudras and their benefits, check out Healing Mudras: Yoga of the Hands by Yogi Nataraj.
Mudras for the Heart Chakra
As we have already discussed, each chakra deals with an element and an endocrine gland influencing the body. To purify the chakras, we must practice the mudras relating to the specifi element as well as the proper endocrine gland or system.
The heart chakra deals with the air element, the heart, and the respiratory system
The first mudra we will cover is the jnana mudra:
The Jnana Mudra
The Jnana mudra activates the air element within the body. Touch the tips of the thumb and the index finger together, and gradually adjust until you can feel your pulse in your fingertips. Be aware of the outflow and inflow of energy going from and to the heart. Practice this mudra for about 15-20 minutes.
When Should I Perform the Jnana Mudra?
The Jnana mudra is useful for:
- Improving concentration
- Meditation practices
- Calming the mind
- Overcoming addiction
- Enhancing the endocrine system
- Strengthening the muscular system
Remember that it is very important to feel your pulse while performing this mudra.
The next mudra we will cover is known as the Prana mudra. This mudra energizes the heart chakra and improves circulation and oxygen levels:
The Prana Mudra
Touch the tips of the little finger and the ring finger to the thumb. Adjust the pressure at the tips until you can feel your pulse the fingers. Once you feel your pulse, the apana vayu and your root chakra are activated. Practice this mudra for 15- 20 minutes.
The last mudra we will cover is known as the Surabhi Mudra:
The Surabhi Mudra
Hold your hands with the fingers of both hands touching each other. Now touch the tip of the middle finger of right hand to the index finger of the left hand and touch the tips of middle finger of the left hand to the index finger of the right hand. Similarly touch the tips of the little finger of the right hand to the ring finger of the left hand and the little finger of the left hand to the ring finger of the right hand. Keep the tips of the thumbs touching each other. Hold this mudra for 15-20 minutes.
Bija Mantra for the Heart Chakra
When we perform the mudras we can also chant the bija mantras that activate the chakra. Bija means seed, this seed carries the energy of activation of the chakra. The Bjia mantra for the sacral chakra is ham pronounced “hang,” similar to how the syllable om is chanted.
When we chant the bija mantra along when we perform the mudra we get an even better effect of both the mudra and the mantra. Once we are situated in the mudra the soft chanting of the bija or the seed mantra along with concentration on the chakra is very beneficial.
Suggested Mudra Sequence for the Heart Chakra
- Sit in a quiet place if possible, sit with your back straight or against the wall. You can even sit on a chair.
- Perform the Jnana Mudra. Meditate on the Bija mantra by reciting it softly or in the mind as you practice the mudra. Practice this mudra for 15 minutes.
- Perform the Prana Mudra . Meditate on the Bija mantra for 15 minutes.
- Perform the Surabhi Mudra along with the soft chanting of the bija mantra ham for 15 minutes.
You can practice the sequence based on your time available. If you have 15 minutes perform the first mudra. If you have more time you do the second one and so on.
This sequence will benefit you immensely in cleaning the chakra and becoming emotionally stable.