Follow your Heart! Nutrition for an imbalance in your Heart Chakra...
The heart chakra (Anahata Chakra) is situated in the centre of the body, just above the heart, and is associated with emotions and feelings of love, compassion, and empathy. It works to balance the lower three chakras (navel, sacral, root), and the upper three chakras (throat, third eye, and crown). The Anahata Chakra is traditionally seen as the balance between that of the physical world, and that of the spiritual world.
The chakras are a key component of any yoga practice, and when we engage in a regular practice, we embark on a journey through the chakras, working through imbalances in each one as we go, which helps us to become aware of any blockages that might be causing such an imbalance – and the heart chakra is definitely one chakra where I’m sure all of us have felt a little blockage – I know I definitely have!
So how might we be able to tell if a blockage is present?
We may experience such things as; shyness, loneliness, depression/anxiety, finding it hard to forgive, finding it hard to feel empathy towards others.
On the other hand, if your Anahata Chakra is overactive, you may experience such things as; dependence on others for fulfillment, jealousy, high expectations of others, harsh judgment of others, constant need of acceptance from others.
Physical symptoms may also manifest from a blockage or imbalance - keep an eye out for a lowered immune system (frequent colds, flus, and infections), heart and lung issues (heart palpitations are common), poor circulation, high/low blood pressure, and respiratory and breathing difficulties.
So if any of these signs and symptoms resonate with you, now may be a good time to have a little check in with yourself, and notice if you're holding onto anything that's maybe not benefiting you any more. Working with acceptance can be an extremely releasing, calming, and fulfilling way to let go of whatever you no longer need – and making that important connection with your inner Self. But as well as this, consuming certain, heart chakra nourishing foods can be a great and effective way of assisting you on that journey.
The colour that corresponds to the heart chakra is green - so think green foods - these are the most nourishing and balancing for this particular chakra. Get your fill of dark green leafy veggies – think spinach, kale, broccoli, bok choi, seaweed, asparagus, artichoke, cauliflower, cabbage, swiss chard....the list goes on! If a mountain of the green stuff just doesn't do it for you, throw it in a smoothie and get all the good stuff in one hit. Add in some green fruit and you’re onto a winner. Don't forget to eat the skin for extra fibre, and including a green superfood powder, such as spirulina, chlorella, wheat grass, barley grass, matcha powder, maca powder, will add a super powerful nutrient booster! An added bonus of all these foods is that they contain an absolute abundance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants!
Herbs are a great way not only to add flavour to food, but to also pack in more nutrients and antioxidants to your favourite dishes. They have amazing healing and medicinal properties, and have been used in places such as India and China as successful medicines for hundreds of years. If you fancy growing your own but the limits of a London flat have stopped you in your tracks, try growing them indoors. They are surprisingly easy to grow and just require a little space. Nourishing herbs for the heart chakra include coriander, mint, oregano, parsley, sage, tarragon, rosemary, thyme and chives. Herbal teas are also a great way to reap the benefits of these amazing herbs, so why not try swapping one of your daily coffees for a soothing mint tea, or a calming sage tea.