Friday, February 19, 2021

Breathing Practice 4 Heart Focus

Just you, your breath, and the beat of your heart.

Since the month of February is heart month, it’s the perfect time to add the beat of our hearts to our breathing practice. I think of this technique as heart focus. It’s one of my favorite breathing techniques and I know it will become one of yours. Our heartbeats will take us deeper into our breathing practice, and our minds will become intensely focused on the beat so there’s no room for other thoughts or distractions. Essentially, it’s heartbeat bliss. 

  • Sit and relax in your favorite quiet place. Some of you may have been lying down previously, but it’s easier to hear and feel the full effect of your heartbeat while sitting. Rest your hands palm up in your lap or lightly on your knees. Relax your jaw and allow soft eyes.
  • Begin to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. With each breath slow the inhale and the exhale down a bit until you reach a comfortable rhythm (lesson 1). This is your time so allow your mind to relax. Let your cares and thoughts float away by coming back home to your breath and how it feels to breathe.
  • When you are ready add deeper breaths slowly. Be aware of how you feel as your deeper breaths relax your lungs (lesson 2).
  • On your next inhalation, pause (lesson 3) and suspend breathing for 4 seconds before slowly exhaling and pausing for 4 seconds. Allow each breath to flow slowly into the next. Reminder - if you are not breathing slow and deep enough you may find yourself lightheaded.
  • Once you reach a comfortable rhythm, listen for your heartbeat whenever you pause. There's no need to over think this, allow your heartbeat to rise above the noise in your head. Please note that hearing and feeling your heartbeat does not necessarily happen right away. It takes practice as with any breathing exercise. But once you become aware of heart focus, it’s always there for you with every beat of your heart.
  • Enjoy this exercise for 15 minutes or longer each morning, throughout your day as often as you would like, and before you drift off to sleep. Adding more time will help achieve a successful breathing practice.

When you are finished, sit for a few minutes bringing your breath back to your natural rhythm. Don’t forget to whisper to yourself thank you - insert your name. After all, this time has been your gift to you.

Let heart focus be an easy exercise. As you focus on your breathing and heartbeat you may even feel a slight sway to your upper body. Allow it to move and breath, ebb and flow with every beat. Allow mindfulness to flow in and out, in and out, to the rhythm of each breath, each heartbeat.

Continue with this heart focus exercise and go back and review previous lessons until next time.

Stay safe, be well,
Heartbeat graphic courtesy of Aliaina Rakes