4 Key Practices To Open Your Heart

What does it mean to open your heart?

Today, I’ll explore four key practices that help you open your heart and live a more heart-centered existence.

One of the most powerful teachings I’ve ever received around heart energy comes from the name of the heart chakra, Anahata. This Sanskrit name roughly translates to – the sound that two things make WITHOUT striking.  In other words, it means union or NO resistance.

Take a deep breath in. Exhale your resistance…aaahhhh! Feel that relaxation around your heart?

Living and being in heart-centered consciousness is to drop your resistance and to operate from a place of love and compassion. It’s to relax around your heart. Healthy heart energy is for connection, communion and collaboration.

When your heart is depleted of energy you may feel tight around your heart or even empty. You may experience feelings like grief, sadness, and pain. This could mutate as well into the umbrella emotion of anger. You may close off your heart and feel  isolation and start to compare and compete for love.

This is when the Ego and Mind try to step in and take over. Yikes!

I know when I am in my heart, I feel good.  When I’m not, I don’t. It really can be that simple if we let it be.

Why not follow the trail of feeling good?

Through my life what I have found to be the most powerful tools for opening and freeing my own heart energy are mindfulness meditation, yogic breathing, gratitude and forgiveness.

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1. Mindfulness Meditation

The practice of slowing down through mindfulness meditation is powerful.  You are not living in your heart if you are constantly in your head and not in your body.  If you take your attention and focus away from the external world you can learn how to focus on your internal landscape, free of others projections, influences and energies.

With meditation you are able listen to what is taking you away from your own body, emotions, energy and experience.   To be connected to your heart you need to connect with your subtle body energies, or parts of your system that are unseen.  In this way you can become a better feeler, sensor and intuit for your own desires and needs.

This also frees you to connect with your Higher Self, Source and the Universe for the most Authentic Love Relationship you will ever find. Your relationship with YOU.

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2. Yoga and Yogic Breathing

Yoga and yogic breathing is an incredible tool for relaxation and mindfulness.  It is said that most people only breath to 30% of their capacity in a day, starving their body, brain and cells of oxygen.  This is not helping the body-mind system heal, but hindering it and creating more resistance.  Remember, we are looking for NO resistance so we can have our energy flowing.  When we slow down and relax, we can use the breath to release toxins, emotions and anything that is creating tension which blocks the flow of our energy and creates illness.

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3. Gratitude

Living an ‘attitude of gratitude’ brings so much heart and joy to your life experience.  When you are practicing what you are grateful for there is no room for negativity – your heart is filled with Love.  In that life expanding energy, you attract more life expanding energy like prosperity, abundance and soul nourishment.

The Dr. Emoto water research projects brought so much light to this.  When he used positive words and blessing vibrations over water, the crystalline structure of the water harmonized to create sacred geometry.  When the water was sent negative energy and vibration it became dissonant, fragmented and chaotic.

It’s up to you to bring your vibration into alignment with love and your heart.

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4. Forgiveness

The antidote to grief, sadness and isolation is to forgive, or ‘give forth’ the energy that you are holding onto from the past that created your suffering and pain.  If the heart is union, then you want to offer your heart’s energy of union to your experience of separation.  You can do this through the power of recognizing that what happened was for the greatest good. The universe always leads with what’s best for your soul’s evolution.The life lesson you received is bringing you back home to your heart.

Deepak Chopra had a phrase that always stuck with me in a meditation of his, “Forgiveness is for me, Forgiveness sets me free.”  Set yourself free of your pain by offering yourself love and compassion.

Opening your heart is an ongoing practice of relaxation, releasing resistance and honoring your own healing path.  Every day you have a choice to live more fully in your heart or to create more separation.  If you want to feel good more of the time, it can be as simple as starting to practice one of these self-love tools.

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May you feel peace and union in your heart today.

To receive meditations, affirmations and other inspirational tools for self-care and self-love, click this link and enter your email address!

xo Nicole

photo credit: courtney-hedger @unsplash

How can you practice loving yourself?

In the months of Aug & Sept during #empowertoevolve we were excavating some of the deeper layers of the Self…pulling up some of the weeds and examining our subconscious. The path to transformation is not easy, it takes work and practice, but with a great community of support, like the one we share, we are able to find the extra nudge to keep going and the power to hold true to our center. Give yourself a huge hug, right now! Deep gratitude. 😉

I am so rejuvenated and alive, just back from Burning Man. It was an epic celebration. It was my best year yet. I’ve heard this from so many, mainly because as a whole we are raising our consciousness and vibration in profound and beautiful ways.

What Burning Man is to me — Radical Self-Acceptance, Self-Reliance and Self-Love and a great place to share our heart connections! What a powerful experience.

After practicing deep forgiveness and release over the past year, personally, I’m gearing up on all levels (and it seems many of my soul sisters are doing the same #selflovetour #smartselflove), to really empower myself to practice these concepts of the Self. As we enter the more introspective season of Fall/Winter, I am practicing sense withdrawal, Pratyahara. It’s time to hunker down, own my shit and freakin’ LOVE MYSELF!

How can you practice loving yourself?

1. Establish firm grounding that is rooted in YOUR truth. What feels right in your gut, your third chakra? This is your place of empowerment. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks right now. We are all operating from different levels of awareness and experience. (want to know more about this chakra, you can download my free lower chakra meditation on my website under “meditations”.)

2. Create healthy habits. If you are anything like me, you may find that you have habits that continually pull you off your center. For me, it can be Facebook postings, comparison and competition. Can you give up these habits that pull you out of your center and keep you in a perpetual loop of restlessness about who you are? Or what you are offering? Can you just sit with yourself?

3. Create a friendly relationship with your ego, so that you can maintain your power, have good self-esteem, and ask for your needs to be met while honor others’ needs. This is a great place of balance. If you lack self-confidence (deficiency in 3rd chakra) you probably are seeking outside yourself for validation, acceptance and Facebook likes. If you are overactive in your third chakra, you may have a need to prove yourself or “puff ” your ego and act more forcefully usually to be right!

3. Practice balance. Meditation, yoga and breath work are great practices that can bring us back to center. Watch your path of action daily. If you find yourself caught up in negative emotions, know that this comes from the thought process. It is a story you are telling yourself from the past, or a perceived lack in the future. Get present, that’s where Spirit lives.

4. When it comes to setting healthy boundaries, ask for what you need with clarity and alignment to higher wisdom/Spirit. When you come from a place of real love and ownership of your stuff (vs. victim/blame), then the majority of times your needs will be heard, honored and you will feel good about your decisions because you know its guided by your highest wisdom and Spirit.

5. Practice affirmations. I talk about this all the time. You need to BELIEVE how amazing you are! You are beautiful; you are loved and completely loveable. If you can’t say this in the mirror, then who will reflect it back to you? Remember Stuart Smalley? “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me!”

6. Gratitude – Find ways to create gratitude rituals in your life. Go to the mountains and hug a tree. Attend a Kirtan to sing God’s praises. Call people and leave them love messages. Write a letter of appreciation and mail it. Pray. Honor the great things in your life!

Bowing humbly to the Goddess Mother Earth and all her beautiful beings!