Heart Feather; heavy

There are some beautiful heart opening postures that really invite a feeling of expansion and release.

Heart wounds are difficult to mend. They cut deep and scar messy.

Loss, betrayal, rejection, pain; all contribute to heart closure.

So, here let us explore the channel of the heart and how it traverses through our body and explore methods to help lift and lighten the load.

The heart lies at centre; the fourth chakra (energetic wheel) of the seven major chakras that lie just in front and parallel with the spinal column. Three earthy centres below and three heavenly realms above.

As above, so below. Heart centre affects the whole vessel that is the body. Here lies the emperor of the body (the ruler) in an emerald green realm; being the colour associated with the frequency of heart vibration.

Whatever flows through heart affects the energy of all the chakras. Physically, the heart pumps all the blood about the body, providing nourishment on all levels.

Here, at this space we find the qualities of balance, self-worth, compassion and love. The element of heart is fire; warm and transformative, passionate and immense; but also destructive and painful.

What makes heart heavy? Grief and loss can make the heart heavy/stuck/out of balance if we do not allow the emotions of loss to be processed fully. Endings signify new beginnings, but some endings are truly painful and oftentimes we either shut off the heart entirely; not allowing ourselves to process painful experiences, or distract our attention to other thoughts/emotions/sensations.

The problem is that in shutting off, and not processing the emotions here and now, the energy becomes stagnant and stuck. A lack of energy leads to a depletion at heart centre and all the feelings of warmth, transformation, compassion and love become weakened. And this affects the entire energetic system. Leading to a huge disconnect, suffering and self-harm on many levels.

The path of the heart begins in the little fingers and travels along the medial arm (inner arm in resting position) to beneath the armpits, then onto the heart. Another path leads from heart to the lungs, chest and up to the tongue and lower eyes. A third channel runs from heart down through the diaphragm to the small intestine.

Just think about the path of the heart; do you ever suffer chest issues (asthma etc.), eye/sight issues or recurring infections; do you suffer tight shoulders or a compressed chest? Heavy heart energy (a grieving heart) may be the underlying cause or contributor to suffering along this meridian.

More obviously, a lack of self-worth, an inability to let anyone close, to shut off from feelings of love and devotion are sure signs that heart energy has weakened. And, again, pretty obvious are the signs of someone with too much heart energy; but for this topic, we are specifically looking at heavy heart (like 'sad' heart; lacking energy and light).

So what are some simple ways to process and dig up shallow or deep grief? How can we simply, and with little time process and revive heart centre?

A few tips to try:

- Breathe. It's like a no-brainer, but breathing into the the chest and beyond into the diaphragm is going to flood these areas of the heart meridian with new oxygen-rich breath and prana (or qi; vital life energy). Consciously breathing is key. In yoga we are encouraged to breathe in and out through the nose, but if you have restricted heart space, an audible exhale/sigh through the mouth can really help release some energetic stifling. We recall when our mama passed away, we just sat for at least ten minutes really just breathing into our bodies; we were together and unconsciously started to fall into deep pranayama. All these experiences were being welled up within and the breath really got us through. It's easy to find some good breath guidance online these days, but we will include some instructions over the next few weeks too. Make sure you don't fall into a panicked breath; the idea here is that the breath is really generous, slow and not rushed. Quite often, a 'deep breath' is actually a rushed breath; notice next time you think you are breathing 'deeply'; it's likely you're just sucking air into the lungs at an extremely fast pace. For healing heart energy, you want the breath to be really drank in and taken in as you would a delicious elixir; like you want to taste every single drop and really allow the flavour to fall deep. A slow breath is the best breath; especially during any grief.

- Sweeping the meridian clear with your palms. Again; the idea here is that we want to introduce you to some ideas which are super easy to remember, with little instruction, that can be embraced pretty much as soon as any heartache occurs. An easy way that we have learnt is to literally use your palms to sweep along the entire space the heart centre follows; seated or standing, eyes closed; feel into all you feel in the moment. Notice the heart beat and rhythm of the breath and pulse. Now take your right arm and sweep along the left arm from little finger all the way up the inner arm to the armpit. Repeat for the right arm. Now sweep just below the armpits, over the breast and collar bone, up the throat to the eyes. Light, brisk, repetitive sweeps as if you were sweeping the earth with a broom. Feel the energy of your body and consciously drop a layer deeper. Go ahead and sweep down to heart and onto the diaphragm and just below; into the area of the small intestine. Once you have swept all over, pause. This practice can be done anywhere. We embrace it when we've had an argument, a break-up with a loved one, unbearable news, loss or suffering of any kind. Touch is healing. To do a practice like this can be deeply nourishing on an energetic level and it's emotionally comforting too.

- Last simple tip (that isn't a typical yoga posture); take your right thumb and place it into the nook of your left wrist crease; right at the bottom (little finger side). Feel into this nook and massage it or tap it (whatever works best for you) for about 3 minutes. Notice the effects and sensations. Here is a gateway to the heart meridian and you may feel some warmth being encouraged throughout the body. Stay with this. Release and pause to observe.

Flow is our natural state and when life is in balance, all flows through with ease; digestion, elimination, emotions; even the 'heavier' elements of grief and loss. We have to let it all flow through; so we can invite new opportunity, embrace others and receive love reciprocally.

We understand your heartache. Because we have been there too.

But don't shut off your heart. Because in shutting the door to heart, you close the door on life.

More on this subject over the next month.

Be love. See love. Feel love. And let all be, exactly as it is; perfectly imperfect.