Heart-Focused Breathing — A Quick and Easy Way to Recharge and Feel Better
During the day, there are moments and situations when we feel overwhelmed. At times, we are rushed to quickly finish one task after another. We might experience financial pressure. There may be tension in our interactions with colleagues and supervisors. At other times, a sudden thought about the future can instantaneously deprive us of peace and focus. Whenever this happens, you can apply a simple technique to quickly enter a state of ease, relaxation, and elevated emotions, while retaining full alertness.
The HeartMath Institute, a leading Centre for research of heart-mind coherence, has developed a simple, Heart-Focused Breathing Technique. This technique requires only a few minutes of your time, and can be done anytime, anywhere. However, if you are new to practices of relaxation and meditation, it is best to attempt this technique somewhere quiet, where you will not be disturbed by any external stimuli (noise, displacement, etc.) for a few minutes.
This simple and highly effective technique of conscious breathing consists of the following two steps:
Heart Focus—Place your hand over your chest and direct your attention toward your heart. Your breathing should have a steady rhythm, yet deeper than normal, with inhalation lasting 5-6 seconds and exhalation lasting 5-6 seconds. Breathe in this manner for a couple of minutes.
Heart Breathing—In this step, imagine that you are inhaling and exhaling through your heart. Continue breathing in this way for a while.
This heart-focused breathing will immediately make you feel calm and at peace. You can do it anytime you feel stressed. It can be your quick-recharge technique that will make you stronger, more focused, and more resilient.
This simple technique is a scientifically validated tool that increases emotional and mental self-regulation. The technique stabilizes the heart rhythm pattern (heart variability rate), establishing a state of heart coherence. As a result, the neural signals which travel from the heart to the brain become ordered, positively affecting our thoughts and cognitive functions.
The HeartMath Institute reports that many people who have practiced this breathing technique routinely experience balance, peace, and elevated emotions. They overcome feelings of isolation or estrangement and develop a feeling of connectedness and fulfillment. Many people who have adopted heart-focused breathing as a regular, daily practice say that they use it in the morning, to start their day, and then again in the evening, to end their day. The technique can also be used during a break— simply take a time-out to quickly recharge your batteries.