Yoga for a Broken Heart

If your heart hurts, this powerful meditation can help you transform that energy and let it go.
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If your heart hurts, this powerful meditation can help you transform that energy and let it go.
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We've all been there: a cheating partner, a career dream that seems to have failed, or the death of loved one. When life shows us the depths of heartache, Tantra urges us to come closer to it, to step into it, to feel it with a tender dedication that may start with a hand on the heart and a silent internal whisper of, "My darling, I give you permission to feel this heartbreak."

This decidedly Tantric approach understands that there is an immense amount of prana shakti (soul power) in our pain. By staying as close as we can to our experience, this energy is unleashed, and we may gain deeper insights into the underlying nature of reality, as well as the intrinsic beauty at work even within heartbreak.

A Meditation for Easing Heartache

You can do this meditation sitting down, but I find it helpful to lay down with some support under the spine, such as a folded blanket or a bolster. You can bring the soles of your feet together, your knees wide (classic Supta Baddha Konasana), or can simply just lay down and be comfortable. I find that the heart heals more easily when it feels supported by the earth below, holding it and softening it. Try working with this practice for at least 30 days, for 15-45 minutes daily.

Close your eyes and let your body relax and settle into its connection to the earth. Feel that you are in a nurturing, soothing place, and that you are fully safe to relax and let you. Notice, for a few minutes, the simple miracle of the breath. The inhale raises the navel center away from you, without you trying, and lowers the belly back you as you breathe out. Again, try not to try. Simply watch the belly as you become more and more relaxed.

Now, begin to smooth and even out the inhale and exhale. Take a few minutes to get both as smooth and even as possible. The more relaxed you become, the more subtle the breath becomes.

Now begin to bring your attention into the space of your heart chakra, the center of your chest, about four five inches below your collarbones. You can even place your hand there if it helps you connect to this center of love and spiritual insight.

Visualize the space just in front of your heart. As you breathe in, sense a golden, honey-like light drawing from outside of your physical body into the space of your heart. As you breathe out, see this golden elixir seating itself in the very center of your heart. As you breathe in again, you may begin to draw this light in from the sides of your waist, at the level of your chest, as well as the back body. With every inhale, pull in this honey-light from the outside in, as you exhale, seat in the center of your body at the level of the heart.

As you continue with this visualization, you may notice that there are some spots in your chest that feel sadness, pain, stickiness, tightness, loneliness, anger or any other sensation/emotion that is not vast and loving. When you find these spots, keep breathing in the golden light, allowing your attention and love to penetrate these dark spots. Remember, energy follows focus. The more you can soften into love and send your focus to the stickiness, the greater the chance that the blockage can dissolve. Keep moving your awareness through the visualization, and allowing the energy to open and disperse any blocks in the heart. Remember, you aren't trying to fix your heart, you are simply holding a deep, penetrating presence of love there.

Finally, there may come a moment when the heart is just so full of light and openness, that you can abandon the technique and simply enjoy breathing into the new space of the heart. To come out of the meditation, simply deepen your breath, offering gratitude for the practice. Slowly begin to move your body and come back.

Remember, this is an incredibly simple, yet powerful technique. When you do this kind of deep emotion-processing meditation, consciously breathing light into the dark, sticky, painful areas of your body, it's likely that you may experience a lot of feelings. This is especially true if its the first time you have done this kind of work, or if you come to the practice with a heavy heart. If this work creates too much emotion, try staying with the emotion as energy. Try not to attach thought to the feelings and sensations (i.e. "Oh, wow, this is so painful, I must be totally messed up!") Eventually the emotion will dissolve into pure energy. Remember, a central premise of Tantra is that we must taste the emotion to release and transform it. If you feel overwhelmed, stop the practice, take a walk, call a friend or write in your journal. Come back to the practice daily until the emotion is melted. It will get easier. I promise.

Katie Silcox is a certified teacher of Rod Stryker’s Para Yoga® and a certified Ayurvedic Wellness Educator and Therapist. She mentored with Devi Mueller and Dr. Claudia Welch. Katie teaches classes and workshops internationally. katiesilcoxyoga.com