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The Somatic Experience Of Love – 4 Practices To Help You Feel Love No Matter What

Written by: Letizia Pauletto, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Letizia Pauletto

Every year, Valentine’s Day can trigger feelings that are sometimes far from love. Some people can be forced to confront feelings that are closer to pain. Others may feel the obligation to celebrate and exchange gifts or book romantic dinners just to fulfill societal and personal expectations. The idea of celebrating Love is meaningful and worthy when it doesn’t feel forced and subdued to the commercial value of this festivity.


A hand heart sign.

If you are someone who does not anticipate Valentine’s Day or even has an aversion to it for whatever reason, bringing the focus on the feeling of Love itself might help. Whatever our personal perception, love can be found in anyone’s life in one form or another. Even if you don’t feel like you have anything to celebrate, your own Heart deserves to be celebrated at least once a year. For starters, science proves what we already intuitively know: love is good for the heart. The evidence leads again to the autonomic nervous system and the way it affects our cardiovascular health through the stress response. What if our love life is less than gratifying? The good news is that self-love counts, so why not make this Valentine’s Day about you?


I’m not suggesting that we should express our self-love by splurging on expensive retreats or spa days. While it can be nice to treat yourself on occasion, the daily practice of self-love is what really makes a difference in our wellbeing. 


You’ve probably heard it said many times that the most important relationship is the relationship with yourself. Whether you are feeling lonely or have a number of satisfying relationships in your life, improving self-love can be a good investment. A great place to begin is assessing your self-love quotient: do you fully and open-heartedly accept yourself despite any shortcomings, feelings of guilt, or regrets? If the honest answer is “no”, then some simple self-inquiry practices such as journaling might help. Deeper work might be needed at times; iRest Yoga Nidra is a wonderful meditative practice that can be used to process both everyday emotional material as well as rooted, long-standing self-beliefs and energetic blockages. Emotional processing, through the help of a Therapist or Certified Coach, is key to avoiding somatization the physical manifestation of psychological symptoms in the body. 


Emotions such as grief, anxiety and depression can have a toll on heart’s health; but despite life’s up and downs and the inevitable events that can cloud even the most emotionally balanced person’s mental well-being, we are not powerless and helpless amid life’s storms. There are many heart-centered practices out there that can help us stay afloat and find a connection to our own heart, which is within our reach and independent from life circumstances. 


Connection fosters heart coherence and is strictly associated with vagal tone, whether it is a connection to ourselves or an interpersonal and social connection. When we feel connected, our nervous system develops resilience and resilience facilitates feelings of connection, in a feedback loop.


The neurotransmitter associated with this process is oxytocin, which just happens to be “the love hormone”. The release of oxytocin counteracts the effects of cortisol on the system, therefore reducing stress and promoting feelings of relaxation and bonding, or again, love and connection. Oxytocin production is stimulated by touch, which you can introduce through simple practices such as placing your hands over your heart or belly.


According to research by the HearthMath Institute, the electromagnetic field around the heart has an intensity that is higher than the brain’s. This provides measurable evidence of the range of emotions that we commonly associate with love – or the absence of it and that we somatically experience around the physical heart. This EM field might well correspond to the Heart Chakra. 


So, love is a frequency and we can attune to this frequency through the therapeutic use of heart-centered practices. If you are looking for ways to practice self-care and self-love, the following are a few simple but powerful practices that can help awaken your connection to the heart. 


Try these out for yourself to experience your energy field shift and match the frequency of love


  1. Coherent Breath: Research shows that when the heart and breath rhythms are synchronized, we reach heart coherence, a physiological state that is conducive to optimal heart health and overall systemic balance. Breath is the simplest, most effective tool to affect our physiology, leading to physical, mental, and emotional balance, and it is always readily available. This technique consists of regulating the breath so that we have an equal ratio in length between inhale and exhale. To practice: try sitting for a few moments and listen to your breath, when the heart rate is normalized, begin counting the length of each inhale and exhale and slowly work on balancing the two by progressively lengthening one or the other by one count at a time. Continue for a few minutes. Never force your breath and stop if you feel dizzy or nauseous. Breathwork is a powerful tool and should be learned with the help of a qualified teacher. 

  2. Garuda Mudra (Eagle Mudra): Mudras are hand gestures that create an intended energetic alignment in our system. This one in particular is excellent for opening into the soft energies of the heart, bringing comfort and joy, and is thought to promote several health benefits. To practice: bring your hands in front of the heart, palms facing you, arms crossed at the wrists so that the left palm is in front of the right side of the chest and vice versa. Hook the thumbs together and stay here for several minutes, focusing your attention on the heart as if you were breathing directly in and out of it. Let your breathing be relaxed and feel into any sensations and images that arise. Hold the mudra for about 10 minutes. 


  1. Heart Chakra mantras or seeds sounds: we all know that singing is good for the heart. Our energy centers vibrate at different frequencies, expressed by specific colors and primordial sounds. The heart’s seed sound is YAM.  To practice: try vocalizing the sound “y” and notice where it vibrates in your body. Then take a breath in and slowly let it out as you vocalize the sound Yam, with an emphasis on the initial Y. Let your whole body and being resonate. Repeat several times. You can place your hands on the heart to enhance the feeling of connection and the release of oxytocin. A faster, rhythmic repetition of the seed sound Yam brings more activation to the heart chakra and might help with feelings of loneliness, sadness, or depression. The slower chanting may help calm feelings of anxiety and fear. 


  1. Go Green: the color green is associated with the heart chakra. Although simple visualization can be very effective if you are a visual person, the healing properties of this color can be absorbed through different sensory pathways when you are outdoors, basking in green sights and smells. It seems like no coincidence that the phytoncides, essential oils released by trees, have been shown to support immune function, and nature in general is known to reduce stress and benefit the health of the heart.  These practices can be wonderful to experience alone or with a loved one, so feel free to share them with someone you love!


If you’d like one one-on-one guidance to improve your most important relationship (the one with yourself) through powerful practices backed up by science, visit my website


Visit my website for more info!


Letizia Pauletto Brainz Magazine
 

Letizia Pauletto, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Letizia Pauletto is a Certified Holistic Wellness Professional, Registered Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist in training, but first and foremost, a mother, homemaker, and entrepreneur. Her personal challenges and achievements- as a full-time parent starting and running a small business from home led to a journey of radical growth and transformation. She founded Moonlit Phoenix to answer a deep, inner call to guide other women who are juggling the all-consuming, everyday demands of work and family in their quest for well-being and freedom from stress to live fulfilling and healthy lives. 


Through guided introspection and meditation, intentions and enlightening breakthroughs surface that we later need to practically and methodically integrate into everyday life for real change to occur. We can then achieve step-by-step transformation through daily acts of nurturing self-care.


The Moonlit Phoenix method is rooted in yogic wisdom backed up by contemporary neuroscience and combines transformational holistic wellness coaching with therapeutic yoga to create personalized lifestyle plans that empower women to connect to their bodies and inner truth and find balance in every area of their lives.

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