In Appreciation of Your Heart – Zenquility
Woman's hands holding heart

In Appreciation of Your Heart

February! A time of love, chocolates, hearts, massages, and roses right? 🙂

One of those topics is a personal favorite of mine. I love chocolate and massages (yes I do!) but what I’m talking about is the heart.

As a massage therapist, I have a unique perspective on the heart – physical and otherwise – and would love to share with you my appreciation of your heart so that you might appreciate it, too.

Your physical heart

First let’s appreciate the anatomy and function of your heart. Imagine it fit inside your chest cavity, in the upper left quadrant of your body. This wondrous muscular organ pumps nourishing, healing blood through your vessels. Before each beat, your heart fills with blood so the muscle will contract and push this life-giving force through your entire body. It does this all day and all night, all the time to keep you alive and well. It feeds and cleanses you 24-7.  How can we not be in awe and appreciation of that?

During massage, while I work directly on your muscles, I am also working with your circulatory system, which is powered by – you got it! – your heart. Every massage stroke helps to move blood throughout your body. This aspect of massage is very important, and something that I consider for every session, in terms of both the potential precautions (i.e., understanding the impact of massage on heart conditions) and the potential benefits (e.g., improved blood pressure).

Your energetic heart

While all of this anatomy is amazing and enthralling, this is not the only perspective from which to appreciate your heart. In my life involving massage and Reiki and the healing world, I also celebrate your energetic heart – that is, your Heart Chakra!

Your Heart Chakra is the non-physical aspects of your heart, expressing emotions of compassion and love.

In Sanskrit, this fourth chakra is referred to as the Anahata, which means, “unhurt.” (Isn’t that beautiful?) This is the spiritual place where past experiences and grievances cannot harm us. The Anahata Chakra is associated with the color green, which stands for transformation and love energy, and you will know if your Anahata (Heart) Chakra is properly balanced if you are feeling well, filled with love, forgiveness and compassion. Living from “unhurt” is a joyous and engaging state, indeed.

A person with an open Heart Chakra is altruistic and respects others. People around them will notice an easy going peace about the person, no matter what else may be going on around them.

But when imbalances occur in this energy center, you can experience them emotionally or physically.

Emotional imbalance happens when the Heart Chakra is in distress. You might “over-love” or dote on people to the point of smothering them. Maybe you feel jealousy, abandonment, anger, and bitterness, or fear of being lonely. By getting this chakra balanced, you become free once again to feel joy, gratitude, love and compassion. Forgiveness flows freely and trust is gained, and ahhhh, peace is there, finally.

Physically, imbalances in the Heart Chakra can manifest as heart and lung dysfunctions, asthma, breast discomfort, lymphatic issues, shoulder and upper back pain, “which can radiate down the arms and include the hand and fingers.”

Caring for your Heart Chakra

Something interesting to note is that the Heart Chakra is the compass point for your entire life force. So maybe it’s a good idea to support the balance of its energy? To support that intention, I’d love to share two practices – Heart Chakra Energy Massage and Heart Breath Work – that can strengthen your Heart Chakra and clear out toxic energy. You may practice them daily or as often as you would like.

Heart Chakra Energy Massage
  1. Lie on your back and sink into relaxation. Gently let your eyes drift shut. Time to rub your palms together as you gear up and turn on your hand energy centers. Rub your palms in a circle, then let the left palm come to rest on your chest over your Heart Chakra. Slip your right hand over your left hand and inhale several deep peaceful breaths.
  2. Let your breath deepen. Really let the exhalations out. Focus as each inhale, you are drawing energy in. That’s excellent. Now with each exhalation, love and pure energy is streaming into your heart chakra.
  3. Imagine vibrant green energy in the shape of a globe or a huge dish of green pulsing light spilling into your chest. Keep going for seven or eight breaths. Really feel it. Now, slowly rest your hands to your sides.
  4. Just keep quiet for a time. Feel the effects of this meditative practice.
Heart Breath Work
  1. Relax. Close your eyes and take a couple of deep, calming breaths.  Focus on your heart.
  2. As you bring your heart chakra into focus, access whatever inner senses are available to you—sight, hearing, feeling, knowing, imagination…then activate feelings of love in your heart and use those feelings to feed your heart flame.  Love is the fuel.
  3. Feel love in your heart. It brightens, it intensifies, it spreads warmth and light throughout your being.  Breathe as though you are drawing vitality from the heart of the Earth.  Breathe in energy from all the elements, minerals and plants.  Hold your breath for a moment while the intelligence of Earth mingles with the love that you continue to pour on your heart flame.
  4. As you exhale, the charged energy radiates out from the heart center, igniting every cell with life-force energy and love.  Take several deep Earth Breaths—simultaneously extend your consciousness upward toward the heart of the cosmos.  You are inhaling power from the Earth and drawing vitality from all the heavenly bodies and the intelligence that permeates the universe.
  5. Hold your breath for a moment as these energies combine with love.With each out-breath, experience the growing life-force energy, intelligence, love, and radiance, until you are ready to open your eyes.

Take care of you! Much love to you and your heart. ♥♥♥

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