Breathe Your Way to an Open Heart
As part of my research for my latest book, Love for No Reason: 7 Steps to Creating a Life of Unconditional Love, I found and interviewed over 150 unconditionally loving people I call “Love Luminaries”—people living with an open heart no matter what was happening in their lives. Among the key lessons I learned from them was that we need to give our body true nourishment to experience that juicy state of pure unconditional love—what I call Love for No Reason—in its fullness.
Most people get enough nourishment each day to keep their blood flowing, their heart pumping, and their brain working to a more or less adequate degree. But to light yourself up with love from the inside you need a higher vibration nourishment than you need to simply stay alive, including high-quality exercise, high-quality food, and high-quality breathing!
You may be thinking: Breathing is breathing, right? Not really. The yogic tradition of India has long known how certain techniques of breathing—the most fundamental movement in our body—can actually make more energy available to us. With a well-executed inhalation, we grab more of the prana, or life-force, that surrounds us.
According to quantum physics, everything in the universe is energy vibrating at varying speeds. This universal life-force that manifests in all the different forms around us is called prana in some Eastern traditions, chi in others. In the West, we don’t have a special name for that subtle, all-pervasive energy, but we know it when we feel it.
Think of being in a lush garden, or in the woods, or beside an ocean or waterfall. Now compare that with being in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, or in the aisles of a giant superstore, or in any windowless office space with recycled air and artificial lighting. There’s enough oxygen in each of these places to keep us alive, but in the natural places, the level of prana is higher and more nourishing. It’s one of the reasons our hearts automatically open when we’re in nature.
Western science has isolated a least one component of prana: negative ions. These invisible molecules are found in high concentration in certain places, such as in the mountains, and near crashing water, like the ocean, waterfalls, and in the shower. Research shows that negative ions have profoundly positive effects on the brain and body, reducing depression, anxiety, and irritability and increasing mood-elevating alpha waves, serotonin, and the flow of oxygen to the brain. This is why you feel so clear and alive when you’re walking on the beach or even sitting near a fountain.
Truly nourishing breathing allows you to inhale more prana anywhere you are and exhale toxins more completely. So make time each day to breathe deeply and when possible spend time where you’ll breathe in a good dose of negative ions.
As Love Luminary Sweet Medicine Nation, a spiritual teacher of Choctaw descent, told me, “The word for love and breath is the same in many languages.” Improve one and the other follows.
Adapted from Love for No Reason