From the Heart Meditation
Seniorlink Center for Clinical Excellence
From the Heart Meditation
As caregivers, you give your heart to someone every day. We have a physical heart and the spiritual heart. They are both intrinsically connected, residing more or less at the same place in the center of your chest.
We’re going to focus here on finding expansion in that spiritual heart – the place where love, compassion, kindness, and forgiveness is born. When your chest is open and soft, love and tenderness can flow freely.
Three Part Breath Meditation
Today we are going to practice the three part breath as a meditation.
• Sit in a chair or on the floor, sitting tall to giving yourself room to expand and fill your upper body with air. Place your hands down on your legs for grounding or facing up to receive energy. Relax your face, starting with the forehead, and then close your eyes, release your jaw, and let your tongue fall away from the roof of your mouth.
• Begin by observing the natural inhalation and exhalation of your breath without changing anything. If you find yourself distracted by the activity in your mind, try not to engage in the thoughts. Just notice them and then let them go, bringing your attention back to your breath and the inhales and the exhales.
• On the next inhale, take a deeper breath and only focus on filling your belly or diagram. Exhale slowly through the nose, expelling all the air out from the belly, and drawing the navel back towards your spine to make sure that the belly is empty of air.
• On the next inhale, feel free to place your hand on your belly to feel the rise and fall. You can imagine it filling and emptying like a balloon. Continue with two more deep breaths.
• On the next inhale, fill the belly up with air as you’ve been doing and leave a little time to let that air expand into the rib cage causing the ribs to widen apart. Imagine you are filling yourself up like a glass of water. On the exhale, let the air go first from the rib cage, letting the ribs slide closer together, and then from the belly, drawing the navel back towards the spine, emptying that glass completely. Repeat this deep breathing into the belly and rib cage for three more breaths.
• The ribcage has muscles between each rib that we never pay attention to or think about. They need expansion too. We also never think about the ribs that are on the back of our body. They reach all the way around to our spine. When you inhale and exhale, try breathing into the back of the body as much as the front.
• On the next inhale, fill the belly and ribs up with air as you’ve been doing. Leave a little time to let that air expand into the upper chest and all the way up to the collarbone causing the area around the heart to expand and rise. Now imagine you are filling up like a the glass of water all the way to the tippy top.
• On the exhale, let the breath go. Release from the upper chest allowing the heart center to sink back down. Then release from the rib cage, letting the ribs slide closer together. Finally, let the air go from the belly, drawing the navel back towards the spine.
You are practicing three-part breath!
Continue at your own pace, eventually coming to let the three parts of the breath happen naturally, smoothly, and without pause. Continue for three more breaths or for however long you feel comfortable.
Carry this Practice With You
Whenever you need to slow the mind down from your busy week or from the stresses of caregiving, practice this three part breath. Now that you know how to do it, just a couple of rounds can calm the mind and put you in a better mindset.
Thank you for all you do for your loved one. Namaste – which means the light in my honors the light in you.