Our hearts want to be connected. They need to be connected.
Connected to what? Connected to greater peace, love, and to be more open- this is the connection that I am talking about. I’m talking about learning to live with a more “open heart.”
Why an open heart? Let me tell you a short story.
In the 1980’s Dr. Dean Ornish was the first physician to prove that heart disease could be prevented and even reversed. Prior to this time, it was believed by all medical authorities that once you had heart disease it was incurable. . Heart disease prevention was discounted. The idea of heart healthy living didn’t exist. Heart disease was known to be a fatal condition.
You were certain to slowly get worse and eventually die. You didn’t’ recover from heart diseasse.
Dr. Ornish’s research was revolutionary. And of course, many people in medicine didn’t believe him.
In his book, “Reversing Heart Disease” he recounts going to a very famous cardiologist, the head of his training program in Houston, and suggesting that he wanted to do a study to determine if diet, exercise, and yoga relaxation could reverse heart disease. His trainer’s remark was “Why do you want to do something so radical?”
Indeed his ideas were radical for the times. Luckily, he did the study and turned the scientific community upside down. Imagine- diet, exercise, and yoga relaxation could reverse heart disease.
Interestingly, a part of his study was group therapy sessions. In these sessions Dr. Ornish found that the ability to connect, to share, to have what he called- an “Open Heart” was critical in the healing process. Besides following a healthy heart diet, people interested in preventing heart disease or reverse existing heart blockages needed this part of the equation as well.
It was essential that they learn stress relieving techniques and open their heart. Importantly, stress and chest pain could be reduced with these methods.
So where do we stand, thirty years after Dr. Ornish’s remarkable scientific discovery?
Sadly, Dr. Ornish’s lessons have been mostly ignored. The vast majority of patients that I see in my cardiology practice consider yoga or stress relieving techniques as foreign. They turn their noses or shake their heads when I suggest these methods.
They have no idea what an “open heart” means or how to obtain it.
So how do you develop a more open heart? How can a person learn deepen their heart connection and ward of heart illness?
In my E book, A Broken Heart Can Kill You, available on my website, I go into detail how to determine if you are at risk of developing heart disease. I also outline specific techniques for reducing your risk, included are audio CDs. Many other authors offer books, and audio CD’s for this: Deepok Chopra, M.D., Andrew Weil, M.D.,and others.
Here are some simple keys to begin the process of connecting more deeply to your heart:
1. Believe that heart disease prevention is possible for you.
2. Find a quiet place away from noise or distraction. Preferably in the evening before bed or early in the morning.
3. Plan on setting aside 15-20 minutes for this technique
4. Sit quietly, and bring your attention to the heart region. Focus on feeling your actual heart. You may feel it beating. Just notice what your heart feels like.
5. Now breath in through the nose, and on the exhale say, “Ahhhhhhh.” This is the sound you make when deeply relaxing.
6. Repeat, “Ahhhhhh” again on the exhale. Feel this sound as it vibrates the heart region.
7. Repeat this over and over for 10 minutes. You may want to find a set of meditation beads or a necklace so that you don’t have to be aware of the time. (You can find these in the store on my website, drlaman.com)
8. After 10 minutes of saying, “Ahhhhhh,” stop and notice your heart. Notice your state of relaxation.
9. Repeat for 10 more minutes.
10. Finally, stop and enjoy the feeling of peace in your heart.
I have utilized this technique and other more advanced guided meditations and these methods have been shown to help people deepen their relaxation. Dr. Ornish has shown that similar methods can help prevent heart disease.
Are you willing to expand you mind and learn to have a more connected and open heart?
If you are than you can be someone whose open heart can put you on track for heart healthy living.
Dr. Kirk Laman