For many people February was a time for heart shaped chocolate and a rose tinted view of the world, however for others it is often a reminder of being alone, feeling disconnected and often not feeling much love at all.
I spent many years as a teenager with ‘Valentines Day Dread’ as I like to call it. It was a stark reminder of being the chubby girl that all the boys wanted to be friends with, to eventually hit on your ‘fit friend’, so I really get it.
However, what that taught me was firstly, who really cares about Valentines Day (even now in a happy relationship both my partner and myself just don’t buy into it) and secondly, but more importantly, love yourself, respect yourself, cherish who you are and treat your own heart the same way you would treat the one of those you love.
So with that in mind I would love to offer you a meditation practice for the heart, YOUR heart, the most important one!
Start by finding a comfortable seat and closing your eyes. You can be sat in a meditation posture, or simply sat comfortably on a chair.
Wherever you are make sure your feet or hips and touching the ground and your spine is tall and upright.
Spread your collarbones wide to open the chest and heart space, and softly release shoulders away from ears with no force, just nice and easy.
Close your eyes and relax your face, your jaw, your eyes, your whole body.
Start to notice your breath and being to feel your breath flowing in and out of your body.
Become aware of the texture of your breath, the quality of your breath, the sensation of your inhalation and exhalation.
Start to allow the breath to become fuller in the body and slower. A long slow full breath in and our of the body, each breath filling the lungs and each exhalation releasing.
As you continue to breath in this way begin to notice the chest, lungs and ribs. Notice if they feel tight and restricted, notice if they move with ease, notice if they move very little. Try not to create a story around this, just notice and observe.
Begin to draw your attention to the space around the heart and settle your inner gaze on wherever you are drawn. It may not be where your physical heart lays and that is ok, go where you feel your connection to your heart most strongly.
Begin to direct your precious breath to that space, a soft, easy slow breath straight to that space of your heart.
With each inhalation imagine that you are creating space around the heart, letting it grow, blossom and radiate.
With every exhalation allow there to be a softening from the inside out. A softening of the emotional body, the physical body, the rib cage, the chest, really allow them to contract and deflate as your breath out.
Continue this for a few breaths.
Stay with this for as long as you need. If you are finding this a challenge to keep a full breath, then stay with this stage and practice here a few more times. When you are ready you can move on.
Once this breath feels natural and easy, begin to feel a warmth in the heart space.
Breath your inhalation into that space, as if gently nurturing the warmth of the heart to grow and burn brighter and lighter. Fell that warmth start to radiate outwards, from the front and back of the body and all around.
Now as your breath into this expansive warmth of your heart repeat to yourself ‘I am full of love, I have all the love I need within me’
Repeat this affirmation with every inhalation, and on each exhalation just let any doubt, fear, resistance melt away.
‘I am full of love’
‘I have all the love I need within me’
As you continue your meditation you may notice the words start to fade, or get stronger and may start to become more spontaneities rather than only with your inhalation. That is ok, don’t try to control it, let you intuition be your guide here.
Notice the area in which you feel the ‘heart’ within you start to spread through your entire body. Through to your hands, your feet and to the crown of your head… feel the warmth of your heart radiate throughout.
Notice what that true love feels like and know that this is always within you, within you.
When you are ready come back to a normal breath for a few moments, but keep the eyes closed.
Then slowly start to open the eyes.