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Stressed and Depressed: Protect Your Amazing Heart
February is American Heart Month, and as most people with an interest in depression know, heart problems and depression are correlated.
Although it does no good to ignore this connection, researching it is enough to make a person feel depressed.
It is more heartening to look at keeping the heart organ as healthy as possible.
The heart center, in the chakra system, is where our root, sexual, and solar plexus energies mix and mesh with our throat, eye, and crown energies. (Chakras, in yogic philosophy, are centers of spiritual/physical energy in the body.) This coming together of energies at the heart level has much to do with our experience of inner peace and love.
Balancing the Heart
The heart center is called Anahata in Sanskrit. Anahata means unhurt or un-struck. The implication is that, despite the cracks and fissures created by our life stories, there is an ever-present wholeness of heart and flowing of compassion within us.
If your heart energy is running low, you might experience:
- social anxiety, shyness
- a short supply of empathy or compassion
- inability to forgive (others or self)
- illnesses involving the lungs
If your heart energy is too strong, you might experience:
- high blood pressure
- jealousy, feeling possessive
- heart disease
The heart’s element is air - that featherweight, invisible, life-giving substance that conforms to whatever shape it fills. We can keep our heart energy vital and balanced by breathing deeply into our belly and by standing tall, keeping the chest area open.
Our heart is enlivened when we stretch our upper body, our shoulders, and mobilize our spine. Opening the heart area throws water on the embers of our fear. To tame an overactive heart, we can ground ourselves with forward bending exercises that fold us into ourselves to find the sustenance we have been trying to get from others.
Adding the Magic of Self-Acceptance
Breathe, stand tall, look within, and add the magic of self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is not a feeling; it is simply the acknowledgment of what is, whether you like what is or not. It is saying, “I hate that I’m depressed (or whatever) and hardly have the energy to take care of myself and there’s a zit on my nose, but this is where I’m at and where I have to start from.”
Self-acceptance will not turn your life around in an instant, but it takes a load of guilt off of your heart, and your heart will notice. There is a heart-healthy difference between hating yourself or blaming yourself and wanting something else - to feel better.
Source: Yoga Journal
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