As a regular meditator and a HeartMath Certified Trainer and 1:1 Practitioner, I am often asked whether meditation and heart coherence essentially do the same thing to the mind and body and whether there are benefits from undertaking both practices. This is an interesting question and it is my understanding that you get virtually the same physical and emotional benefits from both and yet, for me at least, one cannot replace the other as I use the techniques in different situations.
The health benefits that can be derived are as follows:
- More balanced and regulated autonomic nervous system function
- More balanced immune and hormonal system function
- Cortical facilitation (the ability to think more clearly to perform at your best) and better memory
- Quietened thinking and a reduction in negativity
- Better access to your own wisdom and intuition
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduction in stress
- Increased compassion for others
I practice Transcendental Meditation (TM) and I am also a teacher of Mindfulness. TM involves saying a mantra in your head (a Sanskrit word assigned to you based on your age and sex), whilst sitting quietly with your eyes shut. It is recommended that the meditation be undertaken twice a day for around 20 minutes at a time. Mindfulness meditations are amazing at enabling you to become present – to get out of your head and instead become more aware of your felt sense, your body and your surroundings and to notice the mental chatter that you experience, but which is not you.
Whilst I would love to meditate every single day, I don’t. Much of the time life gets in the way, especially when I have lots on. I often think about waking up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to meditate, but in reality that rarely happens, so instead I make space when I can. Seasoned meditators of course would say that that is exactly when you should meditate, when you are busy, though for me this can often feel like an impossibility. This is where HeartMath comes in.
HeartMath involves a number of simple techniques combined with (optional) award winning biofeedback technology to measure your heart rhythms. You combine heart focus with breathing techniques and a change in emotional state to get coherent. Coherence is a state where your heart rhythms can be mapped in a smooth sine wave pattern, something that tells the rest of the body and the brain that all is good in your world. It changes your body’s physiological response to stress.
Often HeartMath is the perfect option when I need to do something in the moment, having been faced with stress or a situation that has left me reeling, frustrated or angry inside and I need to get some space before I react, so that I can think clearly. HeartMath is easy to do and you can practice it pretty much anywhere. That said, sometimes only meditation will do and I get a real urge and longing to just sit, get quiet, clear my head and let go of whatever is going on for me.
No matter which technique I practice, I always feel physically and emotionally better afterwards and I am able to tap into my inner guidance and intuition to see the truth in a situation or to get creative insights.
If you would like to find out more about HeartMath techniques, please get in touch.