Rachel Lundberg Articles
Tapping Into The Wisdom of the Heart, February 2021
Did you know that the heart has its own nervous system that is sometimes referred to as the “little brain” of the heart? In fact, science has discovered that the heart has an intrinsic cardiac nervous system that actually sends more information up to the brain than the brain sends down to it. (See references below to learn more.) It comes as no surprise that ancient philosophies and cultures have always had great interest in this organ in our chest that is constantly beating and pumping blood and life throughout our bodies.
We speak a lot of “opening the heart space” in yoga. This can be interpreted as both a physical and emotional/energetic action. The physical action is fairly simple to access – rest over roll is a great way to gently open the space around the heart, clearing the pathways for better communication from the heart to the brain and vice versa. But what about accessing the emotional/energetic action and truly connecting to the wisdom of the heart? How can one begin to explore this space more fully?
In yoga, we call it Prana. Prana is the life force accessed through our breath. When we slow down our breathing, we allow the rest and the digestive systems of our body to kick into gear, calming our overall central nervous system and opening up better communication between the brain and the heart via the Vagus nerve. This is called Heart/Brain Coherence. When the Vagus nerve is functioning optimally, the body naturally produces feel good chemicals like Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin and Endorphins. When this takes place, it is as if the brain and heart are dancing together harmoniously.
In these moments, we can more easily access the wisdom of the heart – meaning your intuition, inner knowing, or personal GPS. It is the deep inner knowing of the heart that fuels feelings of love, peace, joy, appreciation, lightness, courage, compassion, care, and wonder. Choosing to connect to the wisdom of the heart via the breath is an invitation to tap into a more full and harmonious life.