51 Meditations for Tending the Heart Fire
Find your flow in the new year with these “micro meditations” for renewal, connection, and inner strength.
Collage by Amy Hayes | Photo by Demetri Velisarius
One of the most important qualities of a practice is whether it is effectively integrated into our daily lives. Tending the Heart Fire is not a cliché or a romanticism but is instead a tangible, practical, instinctual way of transforming the conditioned patterns that limit the flow of love. These micropractices are part of a natural way of tending the Heart Fire—of generating love, presence, and wisdom—at times fierce and passionate, at other times tender and calm in the midst of all the activity of life.
- Listen to your pulse and perceive the underlying rhythmic message of your state of being radiating to every cell of your body.
- Feel the wave of your breath connected to your heart. Rest your awareness in your heart as you move through the day.
- Bring one hand to your heart and the other to your forehead and then your belly. Feel your breath bringing your inner rhythms and intelligences into coherence, or the state of flow.
- Be aware of any holding in your feet, belly, shoulders, jaw, and backs of the eyes, or any place that may block the flow of your connection to the whole.
- Experience a natural expression of your heart field extending beyond your body. Visualize the electromagnetic energy of your heart illumined from within like an inner sun, radiant in all directions.
- Feel the sensations in your heart region—a heat, a shimmering, a tiny vibration—as an awareness or a barometer of the quality of your inner heart fire. When you lose your awareness, or when your sensations wane, notice the outcome.
- When you are in sync—when your thoughts and feelings, brain waves and heart rhythms are in a unified flow, experience how this nonverbal knowing guides you as you move through the world.
- Feel your partner’s energy field by holding your hand to his or her heart—physically, in the front or back, or just through your perception. Connect subtly through your body sensations until the shimmer becomes a living field that connects you both completely.
- Perceive your pulse connected to seven billion human beings, to countless creatures, to the breathing earth itself.
Rhythm and Flow
- Before taking any action, pause for a moment. Feel the alignment of your awareness as your breath connects with your heart, giving it the space to clear tension and express your next moment in a state of flow.
- Spend a day in a state of offering, pausing before every action and offering your awareness to the source of action, an offering to the altar of the heart, allowing the highest flow possible.
- Experience the state of flow as a seamless awareness, a continuous dance, a stream of consciousness, an optimal presence, an oscillating balance navigated by the inter-rhythmic unity of the heart/brain.
- Pay attention to the cycles within your life from morning to night—the way you begin a cycle and sustain and complete each vinyasa to create a flow. When the flow is lost, some part of the intelligent cycle—the vinyasa of nature—has been broken.
- Feel the turning of the earth, the moon, the solar system, the galaxy, and your rhythmic body—all the movements in the cosmic symphony of life.
- Spend a day in a state of devotional offering, pausing in prayer and transforming every action, every breath into an offering.
- Contemplate the love that every being is born with. All humans are born as lovers.
- Experience your breath as your highest slow-dance partner initiating you into the deep movement of your being.
- Offer a benevolent gaze that melts the hardened places.
- Move with your beloved so that you stay naturally connected in the ordinary and extraordinary flow of life.
- When you feel your energy of connection waning, be aware of what may be weakening your bond and try to nourish the fire of love and affection.
- Touch everything with your hands, feet, and body in a circular energetic exchange. Feel how the earth vibrates with your feet. Caress the air. Move with space.
- See the light in all eyes as a reflection of the Source. Trace the spark, whether dim or blazing, beyond the outer coverings of separation to discover the fire blazing in all.
- Slow down and savor a drink as life-giving fluid, a taste as the nectar of life. Experience Shakti as the energy within simple moments of bliss.
- All music affects our heartbeat. Enjoy music as a whole-body experience that can bring you into meditation.
- Ask yourself what moves you, what you would give your life for. Find a way to give back for future generations from your heart.
- Care for the earth, for your food, and for energy sources. Use natural sources of food, light, and energy and feel the difference in your energetic body. Unplug and take responsibility for your energy exchange in the world.
- Whatever your greatest difficulty is, apply the opposite and find someone to serve. If you feel contraction, offer a generous act. If you have wavering doubt, be a steady hand for someone near. When you feel overwhelmed, put your hands in the earth and serve what is needed right in front of you.
The Courage Within
- Know in your heart the courage and stamina of your ancestors: feet that have walked miles, arms that have paddled across seas, a Heart Fire that has weathered every storm.
- Feel your truth as the core fire in your heart. Tend this fire with the power of self-integrity.
- Triumph over mediocrity with a penetrating presence, an original action, a fearless knowing.
- Roar with the cosmic sound of being ignited again.
- Blaze through self-imposed limitations. No covering can dispel your luminous light.
- Have the courage to make changes and to reignite the dim fire of a love, a passion.
- Support something you care about as it starts to waver. Be brave and let go into the fire when it is time to transform and be reborn to a life anew.
- Keep your heart at peace as crazy, disconnected rhythms come your way.
- Slow-dance to intense rhythms. Be vibrant inside the dullness. Be steady inside wavering.
- Be aware when your heart gets too heavy. Remember the radical smile and open arms of people in the world who have nothing but the lightness of being (hasya rasa), even when the house has burned down.
- Smile from the natural joy in your heart and feel the radiant effect on your energy field.
- Drop your jaw permanently in a state of wonder and awe whenever the mind-blowing beauty and perfection of nature in all forms overwhelms you with delight.
- Awaken compassion and feel repressed emotions in yourself or others being given love to release and heal.
In Difficult Times
- Take a gradual step, breath by breath, toward the next cycle. The sun also rises.
- Claim a sacred space right where you are. Go to the refuge of your heart and let go of all mental projections of past, present, and future.
- When dissonant rhythms arrive, listen to your heart and slowly navigate your way through the jungle without fear or anxiety.
- When you encounter difficult people, remember the tree, a saint, or Tibetan monks or nuns in prison, and radiate with an energy field like the sun that can never be dimmed or extinguished.
- When life’s rhythm is stressful and accelerated in time, slow down inside and dance with the swift rhythm while staying peaceful inside.
- When you feel the contracted way that fear moves, or the sharp way that agitation moves, or the scattered way that anxiety moves, or the tight way that control moves, move the way love moves.
- When all else has failed, when there is nothing more to do, when you have exhausted every branch, when you feel tired like you want to give up, when the world is overwhelming, go into a prostration or a whole-body mudra. Then listen and receive fully at the heart of prayer.
- Dance with your Shadow as a tender human; clean your wounds with compassion; embrace the hardest, most neglected places within yourself with a lava flow of love that dwarfs the tiny ash of the smallest self.
- The “real world” is just a covering on top of the mystery. As you gaze at a sunrise or sunset, experience a connection in deep time that will dissolve every deadline, every obstacle into the dust of a billion years, a billion stars, a billion forms of light.
A pioneer in the evolution of vinyasa flow yoga who has taught around the world, Shiva Rea has also studied dance, tantra, ayurveda, bhakti, yogic art, and somatic movement.
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