It is no surprise that President Lyndon B. Johnson chose February when he proclaimed “American Heart Health Month” back in 1963. February has been symbolically linked to the heart, romance and/or fertility for millenia, with Valentine’s Day itself dating back to the 5th Century. This is a great time to acknowledge not only the value of our physical heart, and our love for others, but also the importance of self-love and honoring our own hearts.
On the physical level, taking care of our bodies for a healthy heart is key. Spending time each day moving and stretching, eating a mostly plant based diet high in vegetables and other plant foods, and eliminating things like smoking or processed sugar are all steps to take to a healthier heart. This is what the CDC says.
But this limited perspective is not enough. Our emotional state of being also impacts our heart health. Studies have indicated that stress, fear and anxiety start a physiological process in the body that increases “inflammation in the arteries, and a higher risk of heart attack or other cardiovascular events.” (See article here) Studies also show that techniques that reduce stress, like yoga and meditation, reduce the inflammation triggers in the brain. Some smaller studies even show a link between stress reduction and reduced cardiac events. Your yoga class is so good for you!! and massages! and meditation!
In addition to stress affecting our physical hearts, feelings and challenges in our lives impact our energetic hearts as well. Sometimes life happenings drain on our heart, and we need healing in various areas of our lives and being. If you feel you could use an energetic energy reboot for yourself, then come to our Healing Reiju on February 23rd. Led by Reiki Master Deb Strafuss, this meditation and Reiki blessing circle is an invitation to fill yourself with the clearing and energy that you need. Now that is good for your heart, too!
And what about your heart’s desire? For many of us, our minds are so busy that we can’t even hear or sense our inner yearnings. It takes an effort, and intention, to make the time to tune inwards, and show ourselves the deep love and self respect to listen to this part of ourselves. If you’d like to add some of that into your heart month, join me at our Yoga Nidra on Sunday evening, February 9th.. As Cheryl guides us beautifully on a journey of deep relaxation, we set a silent Sankalpa, an intention formed by the heart and mind. And, in addition to hearing what your heart has to say, you are reducing stress and adding to your physical heart health!! I think your heart will be saying “thank you!”
And what about relationships? I mean, it is Valentine’s month, too! If connecting deeper to someone you care about is on your February agenda, then maybe you’d be interested in our Couples Massage Workshop on Saturday February 16th. Taught by our Shiatsu therapist, Shelley Burkart, (and assisted by yours truly) you and a partner will learn ways to relieve each other’s aches and pains, and feel the benefits of the connection that comes from healing touch. This type of massage is done clothed, and you will both leave completely relaxed and happy!
And last but not least, if you are looking to make someone else’s heart sing, think about giving a gift card to The Gentle Place. It can be for a massage, for yoga classes, or even our Couple’s Massage Class! Nothing says I love you like “I want you take care of yourself!”
Hope to see you at The Gentle Place this month!
With much love!
If you have “Insight timer on your phone, listen to “I love you, I am Listening” meditation.