Have you ever binge watched your favorite Netflix series or had a movie marathon only to realize you just spent hours of your life staring at a screen? I have. The reason I usually want to watch a show is because I feel overwhelmed and need to get my mind off things.
Entertainment breaks can be helpful, but what was meant to be a pick-me-up can sometimes turn into a disorienting break from reality when I am avoiding something I don’t want to deal with.
Obviously, there are better ways! And meditation is one of the most recognized ways to manage the mind and stress.
I wanted to know more and went to mindful.org to see what they had to say. The website explained, “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” They say to breathe, step back, scan the body, become an observer, and detach. Sounds good.
But I also want to change my feelings. I want to take what is overwhelming or irritating me and transform it so I feel better. Not just neutral, but happy.
Savitri, the creator of Heartfull® Meditation, says that being mindful is just the first step. It increases awareness, but you are still in the mind. She advocates becoming more “heartfull”- meaning going from the limited perspective of the mind to the unlimited perspective of the heart. It is a change of consciousness.
Why go beyond the mind? Savitri says our minds are limited. The mind collects data from our senses, which are limited by how far we can see and hear. And our thoughts are largely based on what we’ve read or heard or from our own past experiences. The mind is terrific at gathering data, but it’s not great at knowing what to do with all that data. So we can easily get overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious when we live in our head. Or worse, become numb, mechanical, and stuck in our own perspectives.
But, Savitri explains that going to the Heart Center gets us out of our minds and holds a very different consciousness. The Heart Center is an energy center in the body where we feel oneness, love, kindness, gratitude, respect – all the beautiful feelings. These feelings tap us into something bigger; it is our connection to all of life. These beautiful feelings are what we’re looking for when we start binge watching Netflix shows. Amazingly, it’s already in us, with no subscription necessary. It just requires going there.
How to Feel It
Being “Heartfull” is a feeling. It means going from the mind to the heart. At the beginning of every yoga class at Alive and Shine Center, we teach Heartfull® Meditation techniques. It gets us to slow down and transition from the frantic pace of the world and being in our mind, to the pace of our breath, heartbeat, and the beauty within. As you go inward you’re guided to ‘feel a beautiful feeling,’ which is a simple way to be more heartfull.
But sometimes, life feels SO overwhelming that 10 minutes at the start of a yoga class doesn’t go deep enough. That was me! I came to Alive and Shine Center just to take meditation classes with Savitri because it was the first time I felt calm, loved and happy. I needed to take time practicing going into my Heart Center. At the studio, we have drop-in meditation classes that guide you through the techniques. That’s a great place to start.
So if life gets overwhelming and find yourself wanting to “veg out,” try practicing Heartfull® Meditation techniques instead! You are so worth it.
by Bella Fleur, LMP, 2,000-Hour Certified Purna Yoga Professional, Alive & Shine Center student and staffer