Heart Breath

By Lita Artis, MA, LMT, my massage therapist

One of the most kind and compassionate acts of self-care is to breathe through our heart space. A simple practice of a 5 second in-breath followed by a 5 second out-breath for 5 minutes can not only get us out of our heads and into our bodies, it can also reset our nervous system to move one into a more relaxed state. And, of course, there is more.

In scientific terms this practice establishes a coherency between our hearts and our brains via the electromagnetic relationship between the two. Interestingly, the electric field of the heart has 40-60 times more amplitude than that of the brain. The magnetic field of the heart is approximately 5,000 times stronger than that of the brain.  Isn’t this amazing information?

The technique is simple: Place your hands in the center of your chest, or even over your heart which lies just to the left of center. Breathe in and out of your heart space. Breathe in and out with a sense of ease, comfort, peace, and softness. See if you can hold this space for 5 minutes. Our minds can wander easily, but with a simple suggestion we can go back to this breathing in and out of the heart.

When I engage in this practice, I like to notice what happens. Initially, under my hands as they rest on my heart, I usually feel some warmth arise in my chest and the beginnings of an energetic connection between my heart and my hands. And what follows is an interesting cascade of sensations. My heart space opens up. I can feel my shoulders relax, my breath becoming deeper, and the business and busyness of my mind slows down.

Five minutes of this breath assists to balance the nervous system, supports our immune system, reduces blood pressure, supports “bigger mind” decision making, and rebalances the body and emotions following periods of stress, anger, or anxiety.

Want more interesting information? If you/we add an emotion of gratitude or appreciation as you do this practice, an expansion of our electromagnetic field occurs. The simple infusion of a memory of someone, something, or some experience in which we are grateful for amplifies this field and can influence the larger space around us.

So simple and potent this practice is, and it comes with a package of benefits, so to speak. It is free. You can do it anytime, anywhere. I sometimes do this at night in bed when my mind is racing. I will often use three breaths for each of my loved ones, and I can’t even get through 3 or 4 people before I am asleep.  This is my experience. You may experience something else.

If you want more information about this technique, check out the folks at HeartMath and the Global Coherence Project. They have tons of information, data, and additional ways of working with this practice.

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