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For a number of years I have heard about the HeartMath Institute® due to the interesting work they conduct in the areas of self-knowledge and personal wellness. I have come to love the Institute’s work because of its focus on both the hardcore science and the desire to understand the more ephemeral aspects of life that we attribute to the heart. When I first heard about HeartMath, my immediate question was “why the name?”

The founder of the HeartMath Institute, Doc Childre, sought to create a scientifically centered approach to understanding both the metaphorical and the physical heart. He wanted strict adherence to scientific principles, so he chose the word MATH to evoke structure and rigor in conjunction with the word HEART, which to some might seem “soft” or “emotional” and convey less scientific discipline.

More Than Just a Blood Pump

At the center of the seven chakrasour energy transformers — the heart is the command center for the human energy system. The regulation of voltage and current are a direct function of this organ; one we previously may have thought only served as a pump for blood. AND QUITE A PUMP IT IS! If you stretched one human’s entire structure of veins and arteries out on the ground they would stretch more than 15 miles! A pump that can pump fluid that far would be as a large as a warehouse building.

The heart coordinates the pumping actions along with the electrical pulse required for the veins and arteries to “pulsate” in support of the heart. A fabulous symphony of electrical energy is required in which the oscillations of the arteries contribute to the pumping action of the heart to mobilize the blood. The heart is command central for the entire energy system of the human body.

The Heart IS an Emotional Organ

HeartMath explores these phenomena with rigor (having conducted more than 82 fully documented scientific studies) and has helped me to understand that the heart’s electrical biorhythms act in accordance with our emotions. How we feel directly relates to the heart’s electrical rhythms. Our emotions directly affect what’s called our Heart Rate Variability (HRV), and our HRV correlates to our systems such as blood pressure, tension, and inflammation.

Yes, when our emotions seem to run amuck our HRV does as well. When our HRV lacks a pattern of steady oscillation, our body systems struggle for balance. WE ACTUALLY SHUT DOWN CORTICAL FUNCTIONS, HAVE LOWER REACTION TIMES, AND LOWER OUR CREATIVITY with a discordant HRV. When the heart’s energetic pattern is disrupted we might continue to live, to survive, but not to thrive. The good news is that there are relatively simple tools that help “reset” the electrical heart rhythms.

Learning To Thrive

I recently attended a training session at the HeartMath Institute, a scientific research center up in the hills near Saratoga, California. As I approached, I wasn’t quite sure what I had signed up for. The road was really narrow as I drove the final few miles to the Institute, an oasis of simple buildings in the forest. It’s a beautiful setting — peaceful, harmonic, even — a great place to start.

We practiced HearthMath principles and techniques each day. The newbies easily incorporating the breathing exercises and positive thoughts alongside the veterans, who were still engaged in learning and growing. The energy escalated in intensity as the days passed and the new sojourners became more familiar with one another and invested themselves more deeply in the material. By the week’s end, the intensity of the palpable subtle energy was the subject of many conversations as well as our closing comments.

I was smitten with the obvious love energy and said as much, thanking my co-students and the staff for their generous contribution to my well-being. This was not a retreat — it was a workshop to learn how to deliver a workshop. But the very tools that we were becoming familiar enough to teach had an inspiring effect. It made the learning so very real. It accelerated my desire to speak, teach, and help others to share the information and techniques that I enjoyed.

Moving Forward with Heart

HeartMath has made a valuable contribution to humanity in the past 20 years. Many hospitals, corporations, police departments, and emergency responders have benefitted from the research and the training of the HeartMath Institute. Outcomes include increased productivity, higher creativity and cognitive ability, lowered health care costs, and safety enhancements.

I am a Certified Resilience Workshop trainer and expect to spend a good deal of 2015 helping others “reset” their HRV with the HeartMath Institute’s very coachable and learnable techniques. By teaching, I will be learning. After all, there is no substitute for practice!

I look forward to sharing more about HeartMath and the science and techniques that can improve our lives. In the meantime, please share your questions and comments!

(Title image from www.azumio.com.)