Would you like to meditate but can’t find the time? When you sit in meditation, does your mind run faster than the next New York Marathon winner? During CranioSacral and Manual Therapy sessions, I receive more and more questions on how to find a way to bring the serenity you experience during CranioSacral and Manual Therapy sessions into your daily life. How to start and maintain a meditation practice. The benefits of meditation are huge. Millennia of practice and modern science have backed up this tradition.
Here is a breathing exercise that is similar to meditation in the type of physical benefits you can reap. It’s fast, easy and powerful. You can do it in public without anybody noticing or at any spare time of the day. It’s called Heart Coherence.
What is Heart Coherence?
Heart Coherence is a natural phenomenon. It has always been accessible, but now scientists understand how it works and how we can benefit from it. It’s fast, easy and powerful.
In my blog, I often write how the brain — what we feel and think — influences our body and its physiology. The reverse is also true. What is going on in our body influences our brain, how we feel and think. I am sure you have experienced that when you are in physical pain, it’s difficult to stay sharp mentally.
This direct relationship between body and brain is especially true between the heart and the brain. Researchers can actually see that, neurologically speaking, the heart sends more information to the brain than the brain to the heart. It’s a natural reflex.
Researchers find as well that when our physiology is at the top, we feel good and we are emotionally stable. The rhythm of the heart and brain are coherent and in synch. That’s called Heart Coherence.
When we don’t feel good, then what? In this case there is a simple way to start Heart Coherence and bring our heart and brain in synch. That’s what we are going to practice shortly.
Fear is excitement without the breath.
Before we do this, let’s take a quick look at some of the awesome benefits you can enjoy with Heart Coherence.
Heart Coherence lowers the stress levels:
- Less stress means quick, clear thinking and decision making. Have you ever said or done something in the heat of the moment only to regret it two minutes later? Obviously, stress is not a good guide.
As for your body, Heart Coherence:
- Lowers your cortisol level, the “stress hormone”, which has such a damaging effect on the health in the long run.
- Naturally boosts your production of DHEA, the “youth hormone”.
- Supports the cardiovascular system and helps lower high blood pressure.
- Balances the endocrine system and the immune system.
- Less stress might mean less emotional eating.
- Helps you get a better night’s sleep.
Less stress simply feels good. That alone should be enough for you to try Heart Coherence. One more thing, Heart Coherence is safe for everybody. There are no contraindications, no side effects and no overdoses. It does not get better than that.
Let’s go right into practice.
It takes only five minutes, three times a day. Why three times a day? Because it has been shown that after five minutes of practice you enjoy about five hours of benefits. So if you do it once in the morning, once mid-day and once in the evening or around bedtime, your day is pretty much covered.
Sit comfortably with your back straight – not stiff – and both feet on the floor. Standing works as well.
Count your breathing: One for a full cycle, which is one breath in and one breath out. Each half-cycle lasts five seconds, that’s 10 seconds for a full cycle – in and out — and six full cycles for each minute. Over the course of five minutes you will do 30 full cycles.
You probably have a stopwatch on your computer or your phone. This will guide your breathing at first. After a couple of weeks, your physiology will have memorized what Heart Coherence feels like and you won’t need a stopwatch to guide you anymore. At that point, use the stopwatch only a few times a week, to ensure you stay in the range of six breaths per minute. Why don’t you try it right now? Just for one minute, six full breaths.
The goal is five minutes, three times a day. You can do it wherever you are. You can do it in the subway, at the office or waiting in line to buy a gigantic stuffed panda bear. It’s as simple as that. If you get only one or two times in your day, it’s OK. It’s still better than not at all. Maybe tomorrow you will get to three times in the day.
Once your body is used to Heart Coherence, you can quickly and easily come back to it during a stressful situation. Even in the middle of a difficult conversation, you can get your stress level down immediately, your mind clear and your body comfortable.
Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky.
Conscious breathing is my anchor.
Tich Nat Hanh
One last thing. At night save one minute — a full minute, not 15 seconds — and go over your day. You might not see noticeable changes for a week or two. But pretty soon, you will be amazed how Heart Coherence has enhanced your life.
Enjoy Heart Coherence and I look forward to hearing about your experience when you come in for a session.
CranioSacral Therapy, Somato Emotional Release and Visceral Manipulation in New York.