So often, I write of those times when challenges or negativity have invaded one’s realm: Most of my professional work through the years has been dedicated to helping others ameliorate those feelings. Sometimes, however, a sense of welcome relief or gratitude with regard to a certain situation or relationship equally needs to be acknowledged and tempered with a dose of pointed practice.
Much like a Full Moon, a full heart leaves one buoyed by activating, stimulating energy. As enjoyable as this “high” can be, the heightened state nevertheless signifies an imbalance within. Instead of mindlessly enjoying a temporary rush of happiness, you can learn to harness and integrate its positive essence: When the high-energy pops are shifted into a state of balance, one is left with a feeling of profound reverence for the workings of Life.
Today’s practice was born of a decidedly unexpected burst of joy. The moment sprang from days of legitimate concern over the outcome of a particular situation. Throughout those days, the best I hoped for was that the recovery from the likely result would not take too long. And then, as the circumstances began to wind down, it turned out that all was far more than well: A profound sense of Love permeated the conclusion of the scenario, and this heart emerged with deep peace and unbridled gratitude.
With this rush of energy into the Heart came a stunning burst of physical energy. Generally, that is a welcome feeling; rather than the fatigue that may typify the aftermath of stress, my body was enthused and my mind nearly overcome with the awe of how things had worked out. In order to settle and yet retain these clearly positive energies, I developed the following routine.
Special note: This entire routine can also be used to lift you out of a funk. As the goal of the practice is to balance the Heart center, the four-part sequence alternatively will uplift you when you are down.
To begin, stand with plenty of space around you. Then, start to move your arms through the surrounding air. As they move, let the rest of your body follow their lead into this aura-clearing movement. This activity opens and flushes the meridians of the Heart, which flow through the arms. You may move quickly or slowly, sharply or fluidly: Allow your high energy to rush through and beyond your physical dance. Continue for a full 3 minutes.
When you have finished your arm dance, stand quietly for a few deep breaths. Then, come onto all fours in preparation for Downward Dog. You need not be proficient at the posture; if the pose is not accessible to you, keep your knees on the floor, with your elbows and forearms on the floor. The overall aim is to have the heart at a level above the head: Not only will this position shift energy into the Upper Chakras, your mind will clear, and the nervous system will settle.
Regardless of which Down Dog variation you choose, lift one leg into the air. Let it begin its own dance: circling, rising, descending, bending, shaking… allow the leg to find its own rhythm and flow. Continue for 1 minute, and then switch to the other leg for another minute.
Next, lower yourself completely onto the floor to assume Baby Pose. Leave some space between your legs, so the the Heart can “breathe.” Stretch your arms ahead of you on the floor, bringing them into the shape of a wide V; if this bothers your shoulders, narrow the V a bit, or slightly bend the elbows to relieve the pull on the shoulders. Breathe deeply and fully in this pose for 2 minutes.
Finally, roll up slowly to sit on your heels, or in an easy crossed-leg position. With your right hand in a soft fist, place the hand on your Heart center. Lightly cover the fist with your left hand, as if laying a soft blanket over a precious loved one. Begin to slowly and gently squeeze and release the right fist, much like a steady, relaxed heartbeat: This is the rhythm of your now-balanced energy. The movement and placement of your hands channel and consolidate this energy directly into the Heart Chakra, where its fullness can infuse your entire system.