With the busiest time of year in full swing, staying centered often gets put on the back burner. Tapping into the heart can be the support we need to emotionally self-regulate, stabilize our energies, and return to the self. Whether you’re amid the winter blues or just feeling a bit out of touch– these heart-opening practices are simple yet effective ways to help you stay centered this holiday season.
As we spend these winter months with family or old friends, we may feel old wounds begin to resurface. Yoga has the potential to unveil locked emotions and open up the heart center. Through yoga asanas, physically opening parts of our bodies may trigger an emotional opening that expands your heart space. What happens is that when we stretch and squeeze the tissues around these organs, the emotions stored in those spaces can become unleashed.
Common heart-opening postures like cobra pose, upward-dog, camel pose, boat pose, bridge pose, and fish pose, allow the heart chakra space to feel release. Pranayama or breathing techniques are also heart opening, as this practice supports the movement of oxygen, recalibrating the body and the heart. To bring more balance into your routine, it’s essential to be mindful of the heart space, working on lifting the chest and collar bones to bring in that physical awareness that we sometimes tend to forget during the holidays.
Incorporating a breathwork ritual can create a haven for solitude and self-study after feelings of too much social stimulation. Studies have shown that slowing the breath intentionally induces tranquility. Although we breathe regularly, we may not be harnessing the full potential of our breath. When we experience intentional, deep, full breaths that fill the entire lungs, it increases elasticity in the diaphragm, expanding the heart space and releasing tension.
Moreover, breathwork can induce altered states of consciousness as seen in Holotropic Breathwork, creating the opportunity for “breakthrough” insights and deepening self-awareness. Several breathing methods have shown stress reduction while promoting balance and relaxation, such as diaphragmatic breathing, alternate nostril breathing, and deep breathing. Implementing this practice into your daily routine enhances not only your mind-body connection but also eases any stress-related tensions bringing you closer to your most natural state.
Emotional Freedom Technique
The Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT is a therapeutic acupressure technique used to manage physical pain and emotional distress. Like traditional acupuncture, Qigong, and Tai Chi, EFT uses meridian points in the body. By simply using the fingertips to tap on a specific area like the head or chest, EFT sends kinetic energy to the meridian points. This method is also known as “tapping.”
While focusing your intention on the heart and using voicing positive affirmations, EFT has the potential to clear emotional blockages, allowing your body to restore balance. Many have used this technique to remove undesired emotions and decrease or eliminate pain. It is also an effective treatment for PTSD. Requiring only a little practice, EFT is relatively easy to learn. This technique can be used up to 10x a day and is a beneficial way to consciously start your morning and end your evening centered and collected.
Cacao ceremonies are a centuries-old ritual revered as the ultimate heart-opener. In the West, chocolate is a commonality, though it’s worlds apart from its raw natural source and the ancient history rooted in its practice. Cacao was used in ancient ceremonies by South Americans like the Maya for thousands of years. In addition to being rich in essential vitamins and minerals, Cacao increases blood flow to the brain, which helps to strengthen awareness and focus.
The experience of raw chocolate can also support the healing of energetic blockages. Although the most potent effects of raw chocolate are in group ceremonies, you can also experience it on your own. It has an active ingredient called theobromine—which translates to “Food of the Gods.” It also contains anandamide, known as the “bliss molecule”, which is why Cacao is known to boost mood. Whether you’re building a personal ceremony with Cacao or participating in a group ceremony, the heart-elevating and bliss-generating benefits of this medicine ensure a decisive shift in the heart space. Try giving Sun Potion’s Anandamide Raw Cacao & Tonic Herbs a try the next time you need to lift your spirits.
Heart activating herbs are long-held in the magical traditions of herbalism. Soothing herbs like hawthorn, rose, and lemon balm are powerhouses for tapping into the sacred heart’s frequencies. Historically, hawthorn has been used as a heart tonic for overall wellbeing, helping to strengthen and tone the cardiovascular system, lower cholesterol levels, and manage blood pressure. Hawthorn clears and supports the heart space on an emotional level, reducing fear and promoting resilience.
To work with its potent healing energies, check out this Hawthorn Flower Essence by Herbal Revolution. Equally, rose identifies with love and matters of the heart. This versatile, soul-soothing plant can ease nervousness, relieve insomnia and mild depression, dissolve mental and physical fatigue, and soothe anger or resentment. On an energetic level, rose opens the heart and lifts the spirit, helping us overcome grief and ready the central self for new beginnings. Plus, harnessing the healing properties of rose is easier than ever with rose tea blends, elixirs, and powders.
Lemon balm is associated with the divine feminine and the emotional self. This lemon-scented perennial is in the Lamiaceae family displaying serrated heart-shaped leaves. Additionally, it has a strong association between emotions and their balance and understanding and has been used to ease tension and open up the heart. Used since ancient times, lemon balm is native to the Mediterranean and various regions in North Africa, Asia, and Europe. An ancient text recounting Azerbaijani folk medicine practices stated the Tibbname, a bath in lemon balm tea, supported heart health and promoted healthy skin– an ideal ritual to calm the mind and body during the busiest season of the year. For those looking to easily include lemon balm in their routine, this Organic Joy Tonic by Urban Moonshine has a proprietary blend of heart-opening herbs, including balancing lemon balm.
“About Holotropic Breathwork®.” Grof Transpersonal Training, 16 May 2020, http://www.holotropic.com/holotropic-breathwork/about-holotropic-breathwork/.
Anthony, Kiara. “What Is EFT Tapping? 5-Step Technique for Anxiety Relief.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 18 Sept. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/health/eft-tapping.
“Chest-Opening Yoga Poses Archives.” Yoga Journal, https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/types/chest-openers/.
Herbs for the Heart and Emotional Healing. https://traditionalroots.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Herbs-for-the-Heart-and-Emotional-Healing.pdf.
Morales, Eduardo Antonio. “How Does Ceremonial Cacao Make You Feel? Everything You Need to Know.” Medium, Cacao Ceremonies, 6 Aug. 2020, https://medium.com/cacao-ceremonies/how-does-ceremonial-cacao-make-you-feel-everything-you-need-to-know-98de27d2533f.