We often talk about the heart (and heart chakra) in yoga with words like, “open your heart”, “place your hands in prayer in front of your heart” and “breath into your heart”. We clasp our heart when we feel compassion or when something touches our soul. When we hug, our hearts connect. In India, there is often a silent salutation with the gentle touch of the heart. A newborns innate safest place to nuzzle is into a warm heart. Within the chambers of our hearts, we each have our own cellular stories stored; there is no right or wrong, our hearts are affected by our life experiences and karmas.
We all have our unique stories, yet we all share this incredible muscle that sends blood around our bodies. This blood provides our bodies with the oxygen and nutrients it needs. It also carries away waste. How nourishing, detoxifying and beautiful! So, we beat together, even though it may be at different rhythms. While February can bring up a myriad of feelings, it’s helpful to check in to our “Self love bank” and see what our balance is. Changing the world one loving vibration at a time requires this sweet do-diligence.
Here are a few easy techniques I learned along the way to invite balance and love into the passionate wisdom of our hearts true nature.
1. Hugging: Seriously :). Take a deep breath into your heart and a slow exhale upon embrace. Connect, give, love and be present.
2. Smile with your heart: Sit comfortably, close your eyes. As you inhale allow the breath to fill your relaxed abdomen (think soft belly) first and then draw your inhale into your chest up to your clavicles (“collar bones”), then bring it even further and allow with corners of your mouth to smile gently, hold the breath for a second or two without strain. Keeping a gentle smile on your face, slowly exhale releasing from the chest first and flow down to your lower abdominal muscles (imagine down to your tailbone). Repeat 10 times. This can be used on its own or just before settling into your meditation practice.
3. Heart Mantra: Sit comfortably, close your eyes. Allow your inhale to fill your heart three dimensionally into the front and back of your body. Repeat (aloud) 5 times peace, harmony, laughter, love. Now whisper (aloud) 5 times: peace, harmony, laughter, love. Finally, say these words to your heart on the inside for as long as you can without strain (recommended 5 minute minimum). Enjoy these words, fill your heart without contemplation. Give to yourself as if these are gifts for your very special valentine. Open your eyes gently, let the mantra go and vibrate love.
Be well this Valentine’s Day and give love to your own heart. Vibrate your loving gift to all those around you. If you are in NYC Valentine’s weekend and want to join 5 Element Spa (and many cool sponsors) for an inspiring community/yoga/wellness day/live music/dance party weekend of events benefiting others, check out this big love weekend to the right of this page.