Practice: Purna Hridaya / Heart Mudra
Purna Hridaya, or heart mudra, is the gesture of the open heart. Purna means full and hridaya means heart; it brings the fullness of the breath into the heart. Yoga is the practice of welcoming all that exists with equanimity while not allowing it to disturb our inner core of peace. This includes the feelings, emotions, and thoughts that comprise our psycho-emotional being. Culture often dictates that feelings and emotions are not okay nor are they welcome. This might be true in public spaces, but it has led us to repress emotion/feeling in private. This repression leads to constriction in the physical body (tension), the breath (shallow or no breath), and the mind (anxiety, fear, depression, anger, etc). Practicing heart mudra cultivates self-listening, which allows for the release of tension, easier breath, and the feeling of feelings.
- Invites compassion for the thoughts and feelings that are present
- Strengthens love and compassion
- Supports the treatment of depression
- Releases tension from the chest
- Stimulates the spiritual heart
- There are no contraindications for heart mudra
- For therapeutic benefits, practice 3 times a day for 15 minutes
- If the shoulders get tired, use a prop, like a table or arm chair, under the elbows
Heart Mudra Meditation
Bring the hands up in front of the center of the chest and form a heart with the hands. Extend the elbows out to either side. Inhale bringing the shoulders to the ears. Exhale and release the shoulders allowing a softness in the shoulders. Soften the eyes and allow the breath to deepen. Watch the breath moving in the rib cage, perhaps feeling the breath moving in the back. Invite the following affirmation: “Cultivating deep listening, I welcome thoughts and feelings with equanimity.” If the affirmation resonates, repeat it to yourself two more times.
Allow the breath open and expand at deeper levels. Each inhale becoming more expansive. Each exhale becoming more extensive. Every breath a welcoming for thoughts and feelings. No need to engage thoughts, or explain feelings. Allowing yourself to welcome and listen from a space of equanimity.
Bringing awareness to the heart, the home of love and compassion in the body. Using the sound of “yam,” we strengthen the seeds of love, compassion, and self-acceptance. Use three exhales of four “yams,” feeling the vibration through the heart, clearing the space in the heart for the flowering of your spiritual intention.
In the silence and spaciousness that remains, plant the seed of your spiritual intention (sankalpa). This seed is the heart’s deepest longing; what the heart wants more than anything in this world. If nothing arises, allow yourself to be an open vessel, ready to receive intention at any time. Imagine that this seed is true and happening now. See it, feel it, and know that it is true. Affirm this seed with your heart, your mind, your breath, and your spirit. Nourish this seed with the healing tone of Om.
Audio version of meditation:
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