During February the media bombards us with reminders to demonstrate our love to those that are important to us, including our significant others, families and communities. The universal symbol for love is the heart, and Yoga philosophy really doesn’t differ that much in regard to this. In Yoga the center for love and compassion is the 4th chakra which is called the Anahata chakra (strange that it sounds so much like Ana-heart-a chakra) and, not coincidentally, it is located in the center of the chest at what is generally referred to in Yoga as the heart center. In an earlier post I addressed the chakras as a whole, but lets talk about the Anahata chakra specifically. The color associated with this chakra is green and one of the ways to balance or unblock this chakra is with visualization meditation that incorporates this color. The sound that is associated with this chakra is “Yam” and strangely enough if you chant this sound you can feel it resonate in the center of your chest. When this chakra is blocked or unbalanced we feel loneliness, resentfulness, alienation, distrust and have attachment issues and trouble relating to others. When this chakra is unblocked and balanced we feel love and compassion for all beings, at peace with life and have healthy, trusting relationships with others. There are certain poses or asanas that can help to balance and unblock this chakra. If you were creating a Yoga class to try and achieve balance in this chakra you would include heart-opening backbends, balance poses, side stretches, and other poses where the heart is higher than the head, for example fish pose, bridge pose and plow pose. For even more information about this chakra, and the other six chakras, I suggest you take a look at The Chakra Bible: The Definitive Guide to Chakra Energy which is a beautifully produced book with a lot of detailed information.