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Working the heart meridian to connect mind, body and spirit…

As the weather warms up in the Northern Hemisphere (and in the southern in a few, I hope, short months!!), it's time to nourish the heart and small intestine. Working on the heart meridian especially will result in a feeling of being more positive and 'lifted'.

The heart is associated with joy and is the seat where thoughts and emotions meet and come into harmony. Opening this meridian will not only make you feel more connected to your spirit but lift your spirits as well.

The following will also calm the nervous system and help to relieve built up tension in the upper back and neck. We often experience excess energy around the neck, shoulders and upper back at this time of year as our energy rises into the upper body due to the heat and also consumption of sugar and alcohol (also causing rising energy). When we have this excess energy stuck in the upper body, we can experience neck & shoulder pain, headaches, dizziness, anxiety, panic attacks and even heart issues. We can lessen these symptoms by opening up our heart meridian and rebuilding the pressure in the lower body (in the lower belly and back).

Try this: Sitting on the floor with your soles of the feet pressed together and the knees as wide. Try to keep your knees as close to the floor as possible.

Interlace your hands behind your head and try to pull the elbows right back to open the chest and to feel a slight squeeze in the shoulder blades. Engage tummy muscles to sit with a straight spine and try to keep the knees down.

Exhale and now squeeze the elbows together and roll down through the spine, pulling the top of the head to the arches of the feet and the elbows toward the groin. Hold for a moment as your exhale all of the breathe. Breathe in to come back up.

Slowly repeat this movement for 6.

This movement opens up the upper back and shoulder blades to allow for more blood to flow through this area and then into the brain. This upper back area relates very strongly to the heart and heart constrictor meridians.

Then… Let the hands come down to hold the feet. Hold under the little toe side of the feet and pull them up slightly and then pull your upper body down to the feet. As you hold this and breathe, energy will flow into the heart and small intestine. Hold for 4-6 breaths.

Now balance this with a bladder meridian stretch (water energy - heart is fire so they are opposites)… Still sitting, take your legs straight out in front of you and pull your toes back. Again, sitting with your hands interlaced behind your head and your elbows pulled back strongly to feel the stretch in the chest and the squeezing in the shoulder blades.

Repeat the first exercise but this time with your legs straight. Make sure you keep your knees down (straight) and your toes pulled back strongly. Exhale and squeeze the elbows together and roll down through the spine, pulling the top of the head to the thighs and the elbows toward the groin again. Hold for a moment as your exhale all of the breathe. Breathe in to come back up.

This will feel stronger in the upper back than the first due to the leg position as it engages more of the nervous system. It is a nerve stretch. Repeat this 6 or more times.

After you have completed this, sit comfortably, with a straight spine and feel the energy releasing through your spine from the upper back and neck and into the brain. You will feel the brain tingling as it relaxes and the blood flows more efficiently. It feels like you are being lifted upward from the top of your head.

When the energy is blocked between the shoulder blades we can feel stuck, tense and heavy in the head. When we release this energy and blood can flow to and from the brain and the rest of the body as it is supposed to, we are lighter in the mind and freer flowing with our thoughts.

There is an entire heart/heart constrictor video free on our YouTube channel 'Zen Ki Yoga' - it's labeled as for 'breast health' and that is for the heart as well xxx

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