Anahata is the name of the fourth chakra, also known as the heart chakra for its being in the centre of the sternum, adjacent to our heart. It governs all the organs and limbs that are located in the proximity of this area, in particular the heart and the circulatory system, but also the lungs, and the arms.

This chakra is connected to our purest and most disinterested feelings, such as altruism, humility, trust, compassion and forgiveness.
It is depicted as a green lotus, with twelve petals.

The element that represents this chakra is the air, which unites the sky and the earth, and the colour associated with it is green, which represents harmony and well-being.

When the Anahata is open and balanced, our generosity, openness to others, and empathy are enhanced. We are able to love and give all of ourselves without any second purpose, and to be in harmony with our surroundings.
On the contrary, when this energy centre is blocked, our attitude towards others is negatively affected: we tend to become paranoid, we struggle to trust others or to let ourselves go, and we are paralysed by our doubts. We tend to avoid manifestations of affection, and anxious in our social relationships.

Even when the chakra is overly open we can experience negative consequences: we try to help others in a way that is not completely disinterested. The need to give is linked to our selfishness, and we end up blaming others for our failures and disappointments.
The physical consequences involve the organs governed by this chakra, namely the heart and lungs, causing problems such as high blood pressure, asthma, insomnia and increasing the risk of heart and lung disease.

Anahata in summary

PositionIn the middle of the chest
FunctionLove, humility, compassion, generosity, openness to others
Crystals and stonesAll green stones, especially tourmaline and aventurine

Exercises to rebalance Anahata

The best way to keep the fourth chakra open and balanced is to use the crystals associated with it, or green stones (from emerald to aventurine) during a meditation. Simply place the chosen stone on the area of the heart, while we are lying on our back with our heads facing east, and meditate for the time necessary.
At the level of hatha yoga, the asanas that help us unlock Anahata are those that have the function of heart openers, in particular: Marjaryasana (Cat pose), Anahatasana (puppy pose), Bhujangasana (cobra pose), Ustrasana (camel pose), and Setu Banshasana (bridge).