When it comes to strengthening one’s heart, both yoga and meditation are powerful healing practices. While many forms of yoga concentrate on asanas intended to massage the muscles around the heart, certain meditation practices use mantras and focusing techniques to open the area. Regardless of which practice you choose, healing methods that bring awareness to the heart center benefit one’s ability to give and receive love.
Checkout this recent Yoga Journal post on a calm heart meditation. Intended to nourish and cleanse the heart center from the inside out, a calm heart meditation is especially useful when you are feeling shut down.
Begin by bringing your awareness to the center of your chest. To draw your mind into meditation, start to repeat the sound Om with each exhalation. You can chant Om silently at your heart region or out loud, letting the sound emanate from your chest, as though you have lips on your heart. Let the sound vibrate like a gong, where the sound of Om ripples in all directions. As you work with the sound, feel that each Om widens your heart like a great lake. As you stay with the Om, feel that your heart is being washed of any unnecessary gripping, tension, or feeling. If a particular emotion arises and starts to overpower the meditation, allow it to be buoyed by the sea of sound. Look underneath, around, and inside that emotion and discover an insight that may arise from the spaciousness of your inquiry. Gradually, the sound of Om will dissolve into the calm spaciousness of the heart-the great container.
When you are ready, bring your hands together in Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal) and complete your meditation with a moment of gratitude, reflection, or prayer to integrate the energy of your meditation into your life. You can bring your awareness to your heart anytime throughout the day to return to the seat of unconditional love.
Read more on the benefit of yoga and meditation practices that calm the heart here.