What a week, world!
We are seeing so many rapid changes to life all over the planet. Here in San Francisco and much of the surrounding area, all residents have received a “shelter in place” order, which effectively means we have to stay at home for the next three weeks! (We are permitted to go outside to take a solo walk or do essential activities, but that’s about it.) These instructions come under undoubtedly scary circumstances, but seeing as the uncertain future is largely out of our control, we need to turn our attention to what we can do.
It is all too easy to succumb to fear in the face of the unknown. But who is that helping? It’s been scientifically proven that stress is crappy for your immune system. And whether you spend this time panicking or doing something productive, the time will pass anyway. We may not know exactly what lies ahead, but we know that we have this time to pause and collect ourselves. Life rarely takes such a significant pause. I hereby propose that we take this time to reflect and recharge so we can move forward with strength when the time comes. This time offers an opportunity to realign ourselves with what matters most.
Today I am sharing my all-time favorite meditation. It is beautifully simple, can be done wherever you are, and can take up as much or as little time as you would like it to. It is called the Heart-Opening Breath and I first discovered it on Maui while reading The Magnificent Soul by George Walter Chyz. (I highly recommend reading this book to receive an amazing perspective on what it means to be alive.)
Before I share the meditation, I must share why it is important. The Heart-Opening Breath centers us back to living from the heart. Ancient cultures and now modern science have told us that there is a portion of our consciousness that resides within our hearts. (The Magnificent Soul goes into a great amount of detail on this so please reference it for more data!) Our heart is said to hold our infinite collective wisdom, our intuition, and our connection to our higher self. When we are living from the heart – trusting our intuitive guidance and listening to our inner wisdom – we are aligned with our highest purpose and life’s journey. When we are out of alignment with our heart-centered inner wisdom, we feel lost and spiral out of alignment with the greater context of our lives.
By breathing in such a way that we are able to quiet our minds and recenter our consciousness with the wisdom that resides within our hearts, we can reconnect with the joy of being alive. We feel our best, and can make the best possible decisions for our lives and the lives of those around us. This meditation allows us to instantly shift our focus to the present moment and the vibrant life energies that flow through us as we breathe.
To begin, take a deep breath in through your nose. Eyes can be open or closed. As you breathe in, tense your perineum / pelvic floor / root chakra, and as you do so, picture strong nourishing earth energy being drawn upwards and towards your heart. At the same time, raise your eyebrows and envision powerful wise energy flowing down through the heavens and being drawn to your heart as well. When your lungs are full, hold this breath for a few moments as you picture these powerful energies swirling together and combining at your heart’s center. Then exhale through your mouth, relaxing your body and picturing your breath ballooning around you in a happy pink bubble. Repeat as many times as is needed to make you smile!
When sunlight is available, I like to turn my face towards the sun as if I was going to stare right into it, then perform this meditation for a few breaths with eyelids closed and eyes turned up towards the forehead (to stimulate the opening of the third eye chakra). It feels like drawing sunshine directly into your heart. This never fails to make me feel like pure unadulterated sunshine in human form.
Now is an especially important time to appreciate every breath we are able to take. By utilizing opportunities like this to center ourselves, we can remain focused on what is truly important – life, health, love, peace, and happiness. This will allow us to use this time to support ourselves and each other as best as possible, so that we can move forward with wisdom and strength.