Heartmath: A Mindfulness Meditation Technique

by Jim Holzknecht

Heart Image

In my quest to find an effective, easy to use meditation technique, I began inquiring into various meditation methods and systems. In my search, I came across Heartmath.

Heartmath is a meditation technique which contains a unique system of scientific research, validated techniques, leading-edge products and programs and advanced technologies for people interested in personal development and improved emotional, mental and physical health.

The goal is to have stress levels recede, to increase energy levels increase and to have what HeartMath calls the “heart brain” work together. It is a state of optimal clarity, perception and performance.

I was trained how to do the Heartmath technique by a trainer/facilitator in Austin Texas named Julie Hutchinson. I interviewed Julie for a Play by Play on Life podcast series.

The following is an audio excerpt from that podcast interview.

JulieHutchinson-CorePerformance.us


The following is a transcription of the audio interview with Julie Hutchinson.


Jule Hutchinson is a dynamic leadership trainer, sale and management consultant and founder of Core Performance, LLC. (CorePerformance.us) Julie has devoted her career to coaching various organizations, including the U.S. Military to achieve maximum performance or “coherence.” Julie’s coherence workshops deliver quantitative, science based techniques to develop concentration, deliver stress relieve, and improve productivity and performance.

A true renaissance woman, Julie ultimately combines business acumen with a passion for pushing the edges of personal development. Additionally, she is a certified Hearthmath coach, Core Language instructor, certified yoga instructor and a life long athlete with numerous extreme sport accomplishments.

I caught up with Julie in her beautiful home in Austin Texas and here’s the interview.

This is an excerpt of the podcast interview I had with Julie Hutchinson. For more information on the Play by Play on Life podcast, go to www.playbyplayonlife.com/podcast.

In that interview, she walked through a Heartmath exercise and going from “incoherence” to “coherence.” Here’s the exercise.

As Jim and I are walking through this together, listeners feel free to do this and walk through this with us because I will guarantee you will actually feel a shift and you will understand the difference between “incoherence” and “coherence.”

OK so I am going to invite everybody to put your feet on the floor. Put your feet flat on the floor and sit up straight. And then, I’ll invite you to think of something that really kind of stresses you out. Think of something, it could have happened today, in the last week, in the last year. Something that just really, either an emotion of fear, anxiety, jealousy, something that just stresses you out and don’t judge it. Just think about it, notice it, feel it in your body. And then Jim as you are thinking about this, let me know when you have this thing that you are thinking about and actually feeling.

OK, yes. Got it.

OK and with your eyes closed, just scan inside your body and notice how you feel. Would you like to share that Jim, what you are feeling inside your body.

Yeah. There is a tightness in my throat and top part of my chest.

So you are feeling that on a physiological level?

Yes.

And listeners, just notice what you are feeling in your body and just kind of book mark that. And now I’m going to invite you, I am going to take you through a three step process.

  1. The first step is Shift your attention to the area around your heart just shift your attention there and what I mean by that is your attention may be on what you are going to have for lunch or dinner or your attention may be on the project that you have to do. Take that attention now and shift all of your attention to your heart, the area around your heart. And then….
  2. Inhale through your nose to the count of five or six whatever is most comfortable for you and then Exhale to the count of five or six and continue this inhale/exhale with your attention on your heart and imagine that this breath is flowing in and out of your heart even though it is coming through your nose or your mouth. Just imagine it is coming in and out of your heart. It helps to keep your attention there. And now…….
  3. Think of something that really lights you up It could be a pet. It could be a person, your spouse, your children, a place, the beach, the mountains. Think about this thing that really brings you love, gratitude, peace, appreciation. Think about it and now feel the emotion that you have and breath this emotion in and out of your heart.

And now notice with you eyes closed, notice if you feel any different in your body than when I first asked you to think about something that stresses you out. Notice if you feel any different. So Jim, you can slowly open your eyes, keeping your attention on your heart and would you like to share if you noticed anything different?

Yes, I noticed a tingling in the back of my head, my neck too and just uplifted and lighter. The feelings I had before, you know the feelings about the stress of different things and how I am going to do this and that and the other thing, all the things I want to do, I feel like it just went away.

Perfect, great. So that is what I call “the physiology of optimal performance.” You have literally changed the physiology in your body just through:

  1. Attention
  2. Breath and
  3. Feeling or emotion

And that is the power of this. Emotions are an energetic power train that can literally change the physiology of our body. Often times athletes call this “the zone” and when I ask people “how many have been in the zone” almost everyone raises their hand. And when I ask how do you get there, “I don’t know.. I just got there and it felt great.” This is a way to get to the zone in a very systematic way at will.

You’ll be standing in the grocery store line, getting in the zone or state of “coherence” is what we call it. You can be in a business meeting and do this practice and be more connected in a business meeting. So it is the physiology of optimal performance by accessing the state of coherence.

And that’s basically what Heartmath is about?

That is what it is about. That is exactly what it is about.

I have been doing Heartmath meditations for several years now. One of the tools that I got to monitor whether or not I am in a state of “coherence” is Heartmath’s emWave.

The emWave is a small electronic device that monitors heart rate variability. Basically, the greater the variability, the less coherent the state.

emWave connected to Ear Lobe The The emWave connects to the ear lobe and monitors the heart’s variability.
Emwave Coherence This is an image of my emWave. When the light is “Green,” it means that heart and brain are in a state of coherence.
emWave Incoherent State (Red) On the other hand, when the device is “Red” it means that the body is in a state of incoherence. You can set the emWave to beep when it detects a state of incoherence.

Some other Heartmath products are:

Inner Balance Sensor
emWave Pro

For more information on the emWave, go to http://www.heartmath.com

One of the downsides I found regarding the emWave was it kept beeping at me whenever my heart rate went beyond the machine’s optimal variability range.

Every time it beeped, it was negative reinforcement that I wasn’t in a state of coherence. That is why I recommend just turning the beeping sound off during your meditation.

To listen to the entire podcast interview, check out Session #4 of the Play by Play on Life podcast series on iTunes.

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