Awareness techniques and meditations are a dime a dozen. We each have to find one that suite us best. As part of this body awareness series, heart meditation is something I want to explore mainly because the heart is at the centre of our being; and together with the solar plexus, it forms a power centre that holds the key to our well being, both emotional and physical as well as to our creative potential. For example, the heart helps us manifest our desires and the solar plexus provides the energy required for such manifestation.
The area in and around the sternum holds the physical heart and the heart space, where the heart chakra ( anahata ) is also located. Although all charkas are located in the spine, their field of action ( kshetram ) is in the anterior part of the body. The solar plexus is placed just below the ribs and what is called “core” in fitness parlance is located right there, extending downward to the area of the abdomen, just behind the naval. This is the space where the manipura chakra is located. These two charkas are very important in maintaining a certain bodily and mental equilibrium. Working on them with and through awareness is one of the best ways of ensuring that their potential is optimized at all times.
( Read "Chakras uncovered" at www.bindumandalayoga.blogspot.comfor more information on chakras)
Firstly all charkas are connected by location to glands and/or organs in the body with important functions. If our organs are affected then the charkas are disturbed and vice versa. All charkas have exercises and practices that keep them in good shape and our organs, likewise, can be toned and maintained with the regular practice of asana and pranayama. There are groups of asana that target these specific areas, both from the point of view of the chakra and their physical counterparts; these asana not only activate and strengthen these areas, they also specifically make us aware of them. However, there is one significant practice that generates wellness and an overall feeling of rejuvenation, charkas, organs and all. This is the awareness meditation itself done on the heart and the solar plexus.
Lie down or sit in a relaxed and comfortable position, yet keep the spine elongated and shoulders drawn back. Make sure that no part of the body is holding any tension. Once comfortable, take your awareness to your heart, hear the gentle heartbeat and keep your focus on that alone. After few minutes, integrate some breath awareness into the meditation. Try this for starters. Repeat the same exercise with awareness on the naval center. The awareness of psychic centers ( charkas are psychic dimensions, not physical ) has a very positive effect on the nervous system. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which, if done regularly, will limit a person’s reaction to stress. So the importance of this kind of awareness training can never be overstated.
They say the heart knows everything. Ask your heart when in doubt or when confused at life’s cross roads. In order to be able to comprehend what it says to you then, you will have to work for it now by directing your awareness to your heart everyday. Just for five minutes. Listen to your heartbeat and feel your heart pumping out love and compassion. Now let your creativity flow; and enjoy the gifts of your comaraderie with your heart.