The Fourth Chakra — The Heart Chakra

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The Fourth Chakra—HEART Chakra

4th chakra

The fourth Chakra is locat­ed in the cen­tre of the chest, over the heart.

This Chakra gov­erns our abil­i­ty to enact our voca­tion and live our life lovingly.

The colour asso­ci­at­ed with this Chakra is vivid green.

The fourth Chakra is about com­pas­sion, ser­vice and voca­tion. It is about act­ing lov­ing­ly. It is our “cen­tre,” and the first of the spir­i­tu­al Chakras. The first three are con­sid­ered “phys­i­cal.”

This Chakra opens as we are able to see beyond our­selves and become of ser­vice to oth­ers through “self-cen­tered self­less­ness.” Voca­tion­al think­ing tells us that we are here to be of use, not to use oth­ers or to be used by others.

Blocks in this Chakra will affect the upper back, arms, heart and lungs.

Heavy heart­ed­ness, grief, pain, and anger can live here.

Heart Pointedly


The 4th chakra is the seat of love and compassion. 

One of the questions I get a lot of is around the meaning of ‘popped’ sternums. Here’s a picture.

sternum out

Ster­nums pop when the lig­a­ments that attach the ribs to the ster­num tight­en. Metaphor­i­cal­ly, the ster­num moves out to pro­tect the heart from fur­ther injury.

This typ­i­cal­ly hap­pens after a tragedy or loss. Our egos (of course…) get involved and by fiat declare our hearts inca­pable of deal­ing with the loss. (They’ll “break…” after all! — Yikes!)

Of course. Our egos are invest­ed in telling us that we are hard done by, vic­tims, weak and inca­pable of look­ing out for our­selves. In oth­er words, our egos are invest­ed in keep­ing us stuck and in pain. The whys of this are for anoth­er article.

The Heart Chakra is the home of emo­tion­al pro­cess­ing. In a sense, the Heart Chakra is all about agape (self­less love) and com­pas­sion. The heart process­es our emo­tions for us. We grieve and mourn and equal­ly cel­e­brate and laugh uproar­i­ous­ly, from the heart. We say, “It feels good to get that off of my chest.” Get it?

In order to work on this region, you’ll have to get famil­iar with the ter­ri­to­ry. You need to find your ster­num, your ribs as they con­nect to the ster­num, and the “inter­costal spaces” between the ribs.

chest graphic

Once you’ve locat­ed the points, use the text below to explore let­ting go of blocked “heart material.”

Here’s a picture of me working on a client, to give you an idea of what you’ll want to do for yourself.

into to chest work

Here’s a link to a video, and a description of Bodywork for the chest, which provides a good “heart release.”

A Look at the Psy­chol­o­gy of the Heart Chakra

At work­shops, I often read a heart med­i­ta­tion; I decid­ed to write my own heart med­i­ta­tion for this article. 

I’ve also record­ed it, and you can down­load the mp3 file here. (right click to save.) 


left click the above link, and it ought to play! 

Heart Release Meditation 

Begin by find­ing a place to lie down. Adjust your­self so that you feel com­fort­able, secure and safe.

Begin to breathe in and out, soft­ly and gen­tly, being aware of the breath as it moves through your mouth and nose. Feel the breath fill­ing your lungs, ful­ly and deeply.

Now, using your fin­gers, locate your breastbone. 

Slide your fin­gers out­ward, toward the place where your ribs meet your breast­bone. Move your fin­gers into the spaces between the ribs, and press inward a bit, feel­ing for sore­ness or tenderness.

When you find the spots that seem the most ten­der, rest your fin­gers there.


Press the ten­der spots gen­tly, and then increase the pres­sure until you are aware of the pain you hold in your chest.

Breathe into the pain.

Allow your mind to float free.

Recall sit­u­a­tions in your past where your heart has been hurt.

Per­haps some­one aban­doned you. Friends, loved ones, may have died. Sit­u­a­tions, jobs, careers may have end­ed or been tak­en from you.

See what emerges from your mind’s store­house of memories.

Rec­og­nize that you have pushed these mem­o­ries away. You told your­self that you’d griev­ed enough, that it was time to move on. Or, you promised your­self that some­day, even­tu­al­ly, at the right time, you’d come back to revis­it the pain of your loss.

And you nev­er did.

Until now.

The mind stores data. And it replays the data as it seems appro­pri­ate. Often, our painful, unre­solved mem­o­ries become the things our dreams are made of.

Our wak­ing moments trig­ger mem­o­ries we thought were lost in the recess­es of the past.

Breathe. Take in a breath of calm sur­ren­der to all of your mem­o­ries, good and bad.

Con­tin­ue to apply pres­sure to the ten­der area.

Open your­self to the pos­si­bil­i­ty that you can­not think a feeling.

Your heart is designed to be vast­ly capa­ble of con­tain­ing all that you feel, all that you hope, all that you dream.

As you let down the walls you have erect­ed to guard your­self from fur­ther hurt, you begin to feel just how big your heart is.

Breathe. Acknowl­edge that, in the past, your pain caused you to tight­en up. Your shoul­ders rolled for­ward, as you attempt­ed to pro­tect your heart from fur­ther hurt.

You became blocked, rigid and unlov­ing – of your self – of others. 

Far from pro­tect­ing your­self, your tight­ness only iso­lat­ed you from others.

Breathe. Open to the pos­si­bil­i­ty of let­ting go. Feel the ten­der spot beneath your fin­gers, and be kind with yourself.

Rec­og­nize that all of the avoid­ance did not dimin­ish your pain. All that it did was pushed it deep inside. Your mind seized upon it and obsessed over it. Your mind found peo­ple to blame for all of your pain, and when no one was con­ve­nient, your mind blamed you.

And you blamed you, and tight­ened more, and hunched your shoul­ders and rolled them over your heart, and from there, attempt­ed to live.

No more.

Open your­self, right now, to feel the pain beneath your fin­gers. Let your sad­ness and loss be real for you. Open the cen­tre of your­self – open your heart, and let in all of the hurts and sad­ness of your life.

Feel them. Let your heart do what it is best at.

Grieve your losses.


Let go of your need to hold on to your pain, to your sto­ries, to your vic­tim stance. Let it all go.

Let your heart absorb your thoughts and remembrances.

Let your heart begin to feel. Everything.

Notice that, as your heart begins to feel, the pain beneath your fin­gers is dimin­ish­ing. Your mus­cles are relax­ing. The pain in your ten­der spot is eas­ing. You feel your heart opening.

Breathe. Rec­og­nize that block­ing your heart from your pain means you’ve also blocked your­self from giv­ing and receiv­ing love.

Love is meant to be giv­en with aban­don, received with aban­don. Love is not doled out with an eye­drop­per, but rather is released as a flood.

Open your­self to feel­ing com­pas­sion – for your­self and for others.

Breathe com­pas­sion out into the Uni­verse, and breathe com­pas­sion for your­self into every cell of your being.

Notice that the pain at your ten­der point is almost gone. A rem­nant remains, not the result of refus­ing to feel, but rather because, as humans, we all hurt.

All of us are bro­ken at the heart.

Breathe, and have compassion.

Let your hand fall away from your ten­der spot.

Breathe in the free­dom that comes as you open your heart to your self and to the uni­verse. Notice your relax­ing mus­cles, the ease with which your lungs fill with air, and then release it back.

Breathe. Feel what it means to be human, and let your­self hold your heart ful­ly and wide­ly open.

Let your breath return to nor­mal, and feel your­self sink­ing deeply into the ground. Relax­ing. Let­ting go.

Stay there until you are ready to car­ry on with your day.

Use the Chart, above, to view other Chakras, 
or click below to move to the next Chakra 

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