This is the fourth in Phoenix Adoni’s series on the heart chakra. (See the other parts here, here and here.) In this installment, Phoenix looks at breathing exercises to open, balance and heal the heart chakra.
Breathing is considered, in Hinduism as well as many other cultures, to be the most important basis for life and creation, and as the connection between mind, body and spirit. However, most of us suffer from shallow breathing, which stays trapped in the chest, leaving our diaphragms ignored and constricted. This shallow breathing is typically developed and becomes habitually automatic due to stress, depression, anxiety, smoking and overactive mental activity.
Deep breathing exercises not only expand the diaphragm, but assist in clearing out built-up, toxic emotions within our system and psyche by connecting together the mind and body. This is the vehicle through which the emotions are transmuted – and within this transmutation, our consciousness expands.
Start by sitting in a chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Begin by taking long, deep breaths (fully on the inhale and exhale) and, as you do, feel the breath as it moves down through your body and into your diaphragm. As it expands with each breath, pay close attention to how the energy shifts in your body as well as your mood alterations. If done consistently, deep breathing will become habitual, and the effects life-altering.
Heart Expansion Breathing
Over time – through various situations, events, wounds and traumas – our hearts shut down. Most of the time we aren’t even aware that it’s happened until something in our lives arises, putting us face to face with our closed hearts. In order to live with great vibrancy, it is crucial for us to be in touch, develop and expand our hearts through constant awareness.
This exercise is much like the deep breathing exercise except that instead of breathing only into the diaphragm, place your attention upon the heart. As you inhale fully and slowly, feel the breath enter your heart chakra. Allow the breath to fully expand your diaphragm, but keep your attention solely on the heart. After a time, you may notice your heart tingling or growing warm with each breath. This is a sign that your heart chakra is opening and being feed the life force energy of the breath.
What are your favorite exercises to open the heart center?