Would you like to have more influence in your personal life, business or family? Four simple practices can help you stay heart-centered in your daily living, and deepen your love and appreciation for life. What your heart sends out, you receive back. How does this work?
The heart is the largest generator of energy in the body. The heart emits more electromagnetic frequency than the human brain. To cultivate a positive heart energy could bring you that success and intimacy you desire.
A century ago, Dale Carnegie concluded from his research for How to Win Friends and Influence People that 85 per cent of business success is interpersonal skills. Current research agrees that a joyful, successful life of quality stems from our intuitive, intimate, and positive interactions. Four practices to enhance and deepen your heart include
deepening your breath, listening to your intuitive voice, practicing heart presence, and receiving with gratitude.
Deepening Your Breath
When you are in a relaxed and happy mood, you emanate positive feelings, which correlate highly with a happy heart, a healthy body, and longevity. To keep your heart open and relaxed, a deeper and effective breath, controlled by you, is a technique you can use consciously each day.
As simple as it sounds, most people think of a deeper breath as expanding their lungs, causing their shoulders to rise. Deeper inspiration really means breathing consciously into your abdomen and expanding the diaphragm, as if you were blowing up a balloon. You can use this more effective breathing to manage your emotions and keep an open heart.
Rebecca worked long hours in a high tech industry with mostly male cohorts. Whenever she spoke of her “feelings,” her colleagues usually ignored her. When she raised her voice and assertively reiterated her point, her stomach knotted up and her palms sweated. After several months, she experienced mild anxiety attacks, complete with heart palpitations. Rebecca was able to maintain her job and emotions by retraining her shallow breath. She used the deeper breathing at work, before sleep, and healed the anxiety symptoms completely.
Rebecca used a technique called the Full Wave Breath™ taught by the International Breath Institute of Boulder, Colorado. The Institute teaches a three-step approach to breath retraining for management of health, emotions and mind. The first step in deepening inspiration is to breathe into the abdomen. This step alone is enough to break the stress cycle like Rebecca experienced and can be used by anyone.
The second step pulls the breath into the solar plexus, expanding the diaphragm and lungs. It increases your energy and breath capacity. The third step moves the breath, with your direction, into the chest area.
It sounds easy. Yet the research at the International Breath Institute indicates that most Westerners breathe a shallow, thoracic breath, which causes the cardiovascular system to work harder. You actually have to retrain your breath after years of ineffective breathing. Deeper effective breathing is the foundation of staying relaxed and open hearted–absolutely necessary to sustain your heart’s power in the world today.
Listening to the Intuitive Voice
With your busy life and the many roles you fulfill as a woman, you can still find your inner wisdom. You no longer have to say, “I don’t know.” or “I am confused.” You do know and you can be clear. Sometime your life may depend upon it.
Anna Coy found her heart wisdom while suffering through surgeries and a life-threatening illness. Rather than lose her vitality and her grip on life, she turned inward to listen. Anna explains, “I learned to quiet myself through the Full Wave Breathing. The breath was my doorway to my intuition. I would settle into a relaxed state, place my hand on my heart, and ask my questions. At first I didn’t trust. With practice, I was actually relieved to listen to something else besides my mind chatter. I healed my illness, and even made my decision from my heart about having surgery last year. I can say that life got easier when I listened to my heart, and now I wouldn’t live any other way.”
Practice Heart Presence
Kim Lee was a well-paid interior decorator and highly valued by all of her clients except one. Kim’s elderly client had recently lost her husband and was often confused about how she wanted to change her home. When Kim made suggestions, the client sometimes disagreed without reason and Kim wished she had never accepted the account. Because Kim was a professional and truly wanted to be of service to her client, she closed her eyes and put herself in her client’s position of having recently buried her husband. Compassion rose within her, and her reluctance melted away.
The next time she met with her client, Kim placed her hand on her heart to remember to stay heart-centered. In this way, she managed her emotional state by staying calmer. She asked her client questions instead of suggesting answers. In no time at all, they had come to some agreement as to where to start the redecorating. Kim practiced heart presence, emitting a receptive attitude and demeanor. Her professionalism was successful when she could see the elderly woman through the eyes of empathy instead of unwillingness.
Jocelyn Lane faced a dire situation that many other women today have to face. Jocelyn’s husband died of cancer, and she had very little money left over after his burial and the bills were paid. Their small home business supported itself, but not without Jocelyn’s attention to the everyday management details. She was a woman of faith and often prayed in the quiet hours of the night for some direction.
Jocelyn’s prayers were answered when some women of her church community heard of her situation. They raised $50,000 for her support and maintenance. At first when her friends presented her with the money, she could not receive it. While she was overwhelmed with their offer, she felt her pride ferociously declare that she didn’t need charity. When her friend explained that this gift from their hearts was a genuine gift of compassion, she could see that her own heart was closed.
Jocelyn had given so much to others, her friend explained, now it was her turn. Jocelyn realized that her own heart, closed to receiving, was blocking a flow of generosity and caring. When Jocelyn received the gift, check in hand, gratitude flooded her, and humbleness brought her to her knees in a prayer of thanks.
These qualities of the heart–calmness, intuition, presence, and gratitude–remind us that we have a responsibility to keep out hearts open if we are to feel safety and peace in our lives. The open heart emits a calm radiance that invites others to be in their hearts. And so we change the world, one heart at a time.
Step One of the Full Wave Breath or Take a Deeper Breath
To maximize your inspiration, sit or lie down and place your hand on your stomach. Imagine that you are expanding your abdomen like blowing air into a balloon. As you inhale slowly through your mouth, expand the abdomen fully to a count of three. Then release with the breath with a sigh, completely relaxing and softening the muscles. With your mouth still open, inhale again the same way, with no pause between the inhale and the exhale. Try this for ten breaths. Relax and go again.
In this exercise, you place the emphasis on the inhale to maximally oxygenate and energize yourself. The exhale is neither prolonged nor exaggerated, just gently released. With practice, you can expand the length and number of breaths until you lift yourself into that zone of feeling upbeat and happy.
Be patient. If you don’t get it the first time, keep practicing. It is a skill that you have to teach the body after years of restricted breathing.
Dr. Caron Goode is a Managing Director of the International Breath Institute, an educational and training organization offering weekend seminars and certification in the TransformBreathing Energy Management System. Caron is also the founder of DreamLodge Seminars for women and author of Inspired Parenting series. For further information, see www.InspiredParenting.net and www.FullwaveBreathing.com.