The what. Heart breathing is a heart nourishing and strengthening practice to lighten the emotional load on the heart. It’s a visualisation of breathing in and out of your physical heart that balances your autonomic nervous system while enabling you to be ready to respond with compassion.
The why. Breathing brings attention to the body and allows the mind to relax and create space before responding. The physiological benefits of heart breathing include balancing your autonomic nervous system, increasing heart rate variability and encouraging the parasympathetic response. It increases your ability to manage stressful situations and respond with compassion.
The how. Welcome to Yield and to the heart breathing project. The intention of this project is to create space for you to meet this moment as you are. To begin just notice that you are breathing, that you’re already connected, supported by the breath that sustains you. Feel the breath as you inhale being accepted into the lungs, the feeling of expansion as your sides lengthen. Then feel the release of the breath as you exhale, your whole body softening, releasing. Now imagine your heart as if it were breathing with your lungs. Feel the front of the heart hugging into your rib cage as you breathe in, nestled in between the lungs. As you exhale feel the heart releasing back into that safe space of strength towards the spine. Now as you breathe in imagine the sides of your heart expanding with the breath, softening back to centre as you release the breath. Notice the sensations, just allow them to be as they are, just feel your heart opening and filling up as you breathe into your heart space. Feel the quality of expansion and the sensation of dissolving, releasing, letting go as you breathe out. Imagine breathing in what you need to meet this moment, breathing in support, strength, kindness for yourself and for others. Breathing out, let go, put down what you don’t need so you can bring your full attention to what you need right now. Breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, breathing out. I hope this has allowed you more presence and peace in this moment to come back to the now and be with yourself with compassion.
The when. This practice only takes the space of a few breaths and can be engaged any time you feel stressed, anxious, angry or upset.