Opening the Heart Center: A self-compassion meditation

PHOTO PROVIDED BY LIVE YUM

BY: Kristen Taylor, Chopra Center Certified Primordial Sound Meditation Instructor & Founder of Wellspring Meditation

The Anahata (Heart) Chakra, sometimes called the body’s “spiritual brain,” is the fourth energy center and is located in the middle of the breastplate. When energy is blocked in this Chakra we may feel a lack of compassion or lonely. When energy is flowing freely in this area we often feel greater inner peace and joy. Cultivating self-compassion helps us to open the Heart Chakra, ignite the fire of the soul, and feel joy! We may find self-criticism and judgment dissolving as our awareness expands and we put our attention on loving-kindness. Let’s practice with this self-compassion meditation:

  • Close your eyes, only if it feels safe.
  • Use the breath to settle into stillness, feeling the body-mind relax and surrender with each inhalation and exhalation. Practice this conscious breathing for about a minute.
  • Bring into awareness any areas of stress or concern you’re currently experiencing. Notice any feelings and emotions in the body-mind that are associated with these stressors.
  • Place your hands on your heart and feel compassion for yourself at the heart center.
  • Breathe in compassion for yourself. With each exhalation, breathe out compassion to a person, event, situation, or concern that is currently creating a challenge for you.
  • Repeat this for the next few minutes, inhaling compassion for yourself and exhaling out compassion for any areas of concern.
  • Next, introduce some loving kindness affirmations: “May I be free from suffering. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I find great peace and joy.”
  • Take a moment to acknowledge what the heart center feels like now, without judgment or expectation, and enjoy a deep breath of gratitude for your practice.
  • When it’s comfortable slowly open your eyes.

Meditation may offer many benefits such as improved sleep, boosted immune system functioning, reduced stress, and decreased effects of anxiety and depression, yet it is not a substitute for regular medical attention that may be needed. If you have a health issue or concern, be it physical or mental, then it is important that you consult the appropriate health care professional and follow those instructions for care.