Thursday, April 1, 2021

Interoception of the Heartbeat

In this exercise we are going to forge a conscious connection with the heart and circulatory system. Because the heartbeat is involuntary, few of us pay much attention to it or to the circulatory system it serves. But if we channel our interoceptive focus to it, we can decrease our heart rate during times of stress, which not only serves to relieve that stress but also to improve the absorption of oxygen and nutrients within our cells. Here’s how: 

1  Sit or lie down in a safe, comfortable space. 

2  Relax. 

3  Feel and visualize your heartbeat. 

4  Connect with your heartbeat and try to synchronize your breath with it so that you can feel it everywhere. 

5  Now visualize your circulatory system. Visualize that with every inhalation, oxygen-rich blood is flowing from your lungs to your heart, to every part in your body, through a network of blood vessels that could wrap around the earth two and a half times. Imagine how your blood provides oxygen and nutrients to organs and muscles, and transports waste products (like carbon dioxide) to your liver, kidneys, and lungs. 

6  Reconnect with your heartbeat and try to synchronize your breath with it again. 

7  Make a journey through your body and try to feel the heartbeat in different parts of it. If you focus on your hand, feel the heartbeat there, and if you focus on your feet, feel the blood flow from your ankles to your toes. 

This is connecting your mind and your body. This is interoceptive focus. A couple of minutes per day is enough to help you deepen this connection and reap the benefits of it.

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