The Heart meridian is one of the Yin meridians of the Fire element (the Pericardium being the second Yin meridian of this element) and is paired with its Yang counterpart of the Small Intestine meridian (both connect in the tip of the little finger).
Every full moon in Virgo will affect this meridian, opening up a window of opportunity to more deeply balance this meridian, but also opening up a time where we might feel its imbalances most. These windows last from approximately a week before to 4-5 days after – some people will be more sensitive to it and experience a longer period of being affected.
To quote from the ancient Chinese text the Huang Di Nei Jing (written 4,700 years ago): “The heart is the sovereign of all organs and represents the consciousness of one’s being. It is responsible for intelligence, wisdom, and spiritual transformation.”
The heart meridian is considered to be the seat of spirituality as well as the ruler of wisdom and good judgement. The heart moreover also rules clarity of speech; that is why words can touch our heart so deeply in a positive way, or hurt so deeply. The heart (also called the Hirda in Gurbani) is also where we can meet our spirit, our soul, most easily.
When the heart is strong we radiate, especially from the eyes — the Heart houses the Shen (the Spirit of the Heart) which radiates and shines from a person’s eyes and face.
The heart is the first organ to start working while we are developing in our mother’s womb, and it’s the last to give out – in between, it beats steadily, without ever taking a break (unlike other organs which get to rest at intervals).
The Heart is truly the Emperor of all organs, and it rules over our entire being: physical, emotional, mental and subtle. It is responsible for our blood and for circulating it through the vessels to nourish the cells. Chinese Medicine understands that the Mind & Perception (our mental abilities as well as our Consciousness) actually reside in the Heart – not in the brain, as Western medicine mistakenly thinks. Tellingly, the heart’s electromagnetic field is many times stronger than the brain’s electromagnetic field.
The Heart also dominates sleep. If it is strong, a person will fall asleep easily and sleep soundly. If the Heart is weak though, the person’s mind will ‘float’, causing an inability to fall asleep, disturbed sleep, or excessive dreaming.
Causes of an imbalance in the Heart meridian can include tremendous emotional sorrow or a sudden powerful emotional shock (which is well-known to cause heart attacks or strokes).
The 3 branches of the Heart meridian all begin in the heart. One branch flows downward through the diaphragm to meet the small intestines. Another rises up alongside the throat, runs alongside the mouth (both left and right) over the cheek and ends in the lower eye both left and right. The third branch (again of course left and right both) runs across the chest, through the lungs, and comes out through the armpit. It flows along the midline of the inside upper arm, through the inner elbow, along the midline of the inner lower arm, until it crosses the wrist and palm, before ending in the inside tip of the little finger where it connects to the Small Intestine meridian.
Symptoms indicating an imbalance or blockage:
- Disorders of the heart and chest: palpitations, pain
- High blood pressure
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Pain along the meridian path.
- Night sweats
- Vivid or disturbing dreams
- Sadness and sorrow
- Nervousness or fearfulness & anxiety
- Mental confusion & confused thinking
- Poor memory
- A sense of dread
- Emotional ups & downs
- Any kind of speech problems: talking incessantly, laughing inappropriately, nervous giggling and talking, stuttering, aphasia (the inability to speak)
- Loss of taste
- Bitter taste in the mouth
- A red tongue tip (caused by heat), red face
- Inability to love
- Lacking emotional warmth
- Easily becoming hot-cold on the emotional level
- Rounded-off shoulders
- Mouth or tongue sores
Remember: Where there is love, there is no fear. Where there is fear, there is no love.
What best to eat?
- All red foods: red peppers, watermelon, cherries, red grapes, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, grapefruit, red cabbage, tomatoes, saffron, etc.
- Bitter foods: rucola, red beets, turmeric, basil, Brussels sprouts, quinoa, bitter gourd (karelay), dark chocolate, green & black tea (in moderation if at all, and definitely do always wash the leaves first because of the caffeine’s effect on your kidneys (one cup’s effects will last for 8 weeks) – I stay clear of these regardless what moon it is, or I choose matcha green tea which is the only actual ‘tea’ leaf I consume), etc.
What to reduce or avoid?
- Be aware: too much of bitter foods is not good
- Spicy food
- Try to avoid distraction or unclear direction in life (Archer Pose is a great way to work on this aspect and help the Heart meridian in this area).
- Time pressure – the heart suffers from this. Try not to feel rushed and pressured, keep breathing and relaxing through this time.
- Stasis or stagnation
- A lack of love in your environment
General tips to help this meridian:
- Wear red, pink or green clothes or carry red, pink or green stones (red coral, garnet, unakite, rose quartz, pink Peruvian opal, rhodonite, pink tourmaline, ruby-zoisite, mookaite, chrysocolla) over the heart or on the little finger. As you might know, I make malas, and you can order malas in these crystals on the webshop – I have included a small selection with links at the end of this newsletter, but you’ll find many more options on the webshop.
- Hold and massage the little finger of each hand for 2 minutes.
- Think and say the key phrase “I will.”
- Practice gratitude
- Journal, express your emotions
- Meditate & find time for reflection
- Make time to create nourishing environments for yourself
- Connect to those you love
- Rumi has written beautifully about the Heart – reading his work can be a great way to connect
Yoga for the heart meridian:
- Cow Face Pose: Grab your hands behind your back. One arm goes over the shoulder, with the other under and behind the back. In KY, the crossing of the legs in shoelace is optional. Do Breath of fire for 3 minutes, then reverse the arms and repeat. If your hands don’t touch, you can hold on to the ends of a small towel or cloth.
- Sit with the hands folded over the heart center, left hand under, right hand over, and just be with your breath.
- All exercises with the arms at shoulder height or above.
- Mantra – Chattr Chakkr Vartee is a great mantra for the heart, as is e.g. Guru Guru Wahe Guru Guru Raam Daas Guru
There are dozens of Kundalini Yoga kriyas for the Heart Chakra. I used to even run 3-day retreats on this topic and offer a 5 or 10-session private class series on it too.
Malas that can be extremely helpful (and there are many more on the webshop, just search for Heart Chakra):