Part Four: Opening
Shock, trauma, grief, worry… these can cause a slew of emotions that hit right at the heart. When emotions strike at the heartstrings, our body and breath often close up, moving into a protective defense mode.
We may forget to breathe or find ourselves breathing shallow, unconscious breaths, and feeling tension and tingling all across the chest. Shoulders and neck can become tight and our posture collapses in protection of our tender heart.
It can feel difficult to want to connect with the heart in times of intense emotions and the physical sensations that often accompany them. Breath is a powerful ally is moving into this area and bringing a sense of space and ease to relieve some of the tension there.
Opening our chest, breath, and heart can feel scary, but being gentle with the process can allow us to open to life in a way that allows us to live more fully.
To grow a healthier, stronger heart, have the courage to open it.
1. Open. How many times a day do we roll back our shoulders and open the front chest area? Spending time on the computer, reading, driving, picking up children, or doing chores often keep us bending forward your heart the chest area physically. Try sitting back in your chair, rolling the shoulders and chest open and making the back of the neck long. If you can lie down, try hanging the top half of the body from the shoulder blades up off of the bed or elevate your spine on a long, skinny folded blanket. Let gravity do the rest.
2. Allow. Working with the heart and opening the chest area can feel vulnerable, since we’re not often so open in this area. Closed or hunching posture accentuates the protection of our heart and emotions, so move slowly and check in with yourself about how you are feeling. When was the last time you asked yourself, “How am I doing today?”, and listened for the answer? Try it. Be tender with yourself and allow your emotions to arise and flow.
3. Breathe. Opening our hearts takes a lot of breath and air circulation. Focusing on the inhales, slowly, gently fill the area around the heart and lungs, imagine the air sweeping the area clear of any clutter and creating more space. Inhales and heart opening postures are energizing, so this can be a nice thing to focus on when you’re feeling flat, lethargic, or depressed. This can be done before bed, too, just gently and with focus on grounding and exhales.
After you’ve read these few simple tips for caring for and creating space around your heart this month, try them out and let me know how they work for you!
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