Meditation for a Calm Heart

Sit comfortably with left hand over heart and right hand in Gyan Mudra, thumb to first finger. Eyes closed. Draw ears over the shoulders, giving you a gentle Jalandhar bandh, or chin lock. 

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Breath: Inhale slowly through the nose, expanding horizontally 360 degrees. Suspend and hold the breath with full lungs for as long as possible. Lift the chest and pelvic floor.

When you can't hold the breath anymore and are starting to get that panicky feeling, exhale slowly and completely. Exhale until every drop of air is expelled from lungs, then hold the breath there for as long as possible. Then inhale slowly and repeat. 

Time: Set your timer for 3-31 minutes

Ending: Inhale and Exhale strongly 3 times, then relax. 

Benefits? It helps us see our relationships with others and ourselves more clearly.  It also cultivates calmness and increases lung capacity. If you are confused or upset with yourself or someone else, try this meditation.

Why hold my breath? It helps retrain the nervous system. When we hold the breath in, our heart rate and blood pressure rises, then when we hold the breath out, our parasympathetic nervous system turns on, calming us. Wherever we suspend the breath, we experience moments of Shuniya or zero. Shuniya is the deepest level of stillness into which you can plant new seeds of behavior, thinking, or way of being. 


Tips:

  • One beauty of this meditation is that you won't be able to miss the feeling of your heart beat into your left hand. It instantly brings you into the moment and into your body. Soak that up and use it in this meditation. Notice how the heart rate changes whether you are holding the breath out or in. 
  • Look into the center of your forehead with eyes closed ("Third eye") and soak up that shuniya, that sensation of zero, nothing, stillness. See that no thoughts (or very few) are crossing that internal movie screen. 

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Anxious, frantic, overwhelmed, or wheels running without direction. In the extreme we are in Hyperarousal where we are easily startled, panicked, and obsessive. We are outside of the safe zone and again, our bodies tell us something is not right. 
These could be times we reach for coffee or alcohol to "fix" it. We may reach for food, a screen, gambling or shopping too.

Belly Tight-Belly Slack- it's a choice

Lower back problems are the worst. Chores are the worst.

You won't catch me ironing more than three times a year. I wear wrinkled clothes and I wear them three days in a row. Seriously, I do. It's very French, I hear.

It's sad that we often do chores (using our bodies actively, getting exercise), whilst throwing our bodies around, lifting and bending all wrong.

Should we make it worth our while and make those chores pack a punch? Okay, how about if I promise a calmer mind and a tighter belly?

Here's how. When you bend down to get something out of that bottom drawer in your kitchen, instead of rounding your back, belly slack, all the weight of your torso hanging off your lower spine...

...instead, let's firmly plant our feet, engaging all  the muscles in our legs, hug our belly buttons to our spines, lifting, then imagine we have a string attached to the top of our heads pulling it away from our pelvis.

The pressure now dissipates as the weight is displaced along your spine, in your diaphragm, and along your strong legs. A strong, stable core.

 Cleaning the toilet, putting laundry in the dryer, tucking the sheets in the bed, picking up unidentifiable nuggets? No fun? Choose to make it a practice. I know I know. It makes harder. Well growth isn't easy. Strength isn't easy. But our bodies feel so good when we give them a little love.

We can see it as an opportunity to live our yoga, feel our bodies, and choose for it to be in a different position. We're choosing a different way.

If you want to give it a real yoga (Sanskrit) name, you'd be practicing Tapas, the fiery determination that keeps you doing the things you know are good for you when you don't really want to do them. Tapas is one of the Niaymas (observances) written about in the Yoga Sutras.

Let's choose to make our lives a little better, get a little bit stronger, and switch our thinking. Chores are now a chance for us to practice yoga and by doing so, be mindful, in the moment, connected to our bodies, see ourselves and for those of us concerned with beach season, tighten our bellies.

None of this will slow us down either. We'll still get that casserole in the oven or pick up that dropped pen off the floor in the same amount of time. We just chose a DIFFERENT WAY. 

Reply and share where else in life can you choose a different way? 

Embrace your edge and do something that scares you a little today.