How often do we take time to honor our hearts? After all, the heart is the ultimate driver of life. This concept goes for both physical and spiritual realms. Physically, we must have a healthy heart to survive, and spiritually, it’s said we must look to acquire joy for added longevity. Further, we know the heart is a solid representation of love.
The power of yoga balances the physical and spiritual in astonishing ways, as yoga’s defined as being in unison with the mind, body, and spirit. When speaking of the spirit, we can connect the heart because of its complex energetic frequency. This is also known as an intuitive feeling.
I used the word astonishing above because the heart has so much to do with our physical and spiritual well-being. To keep the heart healthy, we are encouraged to eat leafy green vegetables or anything that can improve our vitamins A, C, and K intake. They have high amounts of potassium and magnesium. And they’re rich in fiber. In combination, these essential vitamins and elements help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
On the flip side, to keep a humble heart, one must first understand the concept of the heart chakra, which coincidentally (or not!) is represented by the color green.
Cardiovascular health is a massive concern for many people, especially men. Those who choose to practice yoga to improve their health can receive many benefits, including calming the nervous system and reducing disease-causing inflammation. Yoga is also a significant component in stress relief and taming hypertension. While yoga brings attention to the breath, this awareness responds as the key factor in improving circulation and lung function.
There are many yoga positions that specifically target a healthy pumping heart. Most poses require the touching of the toes, which is important for bringing the head below the heart and for promoting breathing from the diaphragm. Breathing while in these positions not only massages the muscles, it keeps the heart beat at a steady rhythm. Going into the Pyramid, which in the western world is called the Downward Dog, has more critical benefits.
Yoga for the Spiritual Heart
Being a certified yoga instructor, I tend to remain modest about the notion that there are more spiritual attributes in yoga for the heart, but the reality is that pairing yoga and meditation heightens the heart chakra in extreme ways. Together, they serve as a reminder of love for self and love for others. This awareness can magnify humility in one’s sense of being. It holds the key to compassion.
The most valuable love a person can acquire is self-love. When self-love is attained, one can decipher what true love really entails.
A specific posture in the Kemetic Yoga practice is the Divine Embrace. In this movement, the arms are around the upper body, giving yourself a hug—a reminder to embrace self divinely. “A grateful heart is the beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being,” a quote from Crowned King of All Kings, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. This realization is paired with focusing thoughts to the healing of the heart. The breath serves as the life force.
In most indigenous cultures, the heartbeat is referenced by music. In celebration, tribes gather together and play the drum in the same rhythm as the heart. It is considered the root sound to life.
An easy and very important yoga posture to mention is to lie on the stomach. This represents womb and heart connection to the earth. Noticing the heart lying flat on top of the earth, one must visualize the mystical healing coming from the earth to the heart. To balance the healing, that same energy must be reciprocated to the earth in recognition that the earth, too, needs love and healing. This is a heightened awareness to mastering true unconditional love to oneself and to the elements of the earth. This visualization can raise the heart vibration, maximizing the power of love within.
For one to truly harmonize the mind, body, and heart, one must energize in balance. This serves as a full commitment to the power of awareness and the integration of insight and intuition in all aspects of the heart.
By Fabienne Claude