The Call Within
by Shiva Rea
The universe began in fire, an explosion so powerful that we are still basking in its radiance. Our very own bodies contain traces of elements that exploded outward to birth our galaxy at the moment of the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago. At the center of this magnificent and elegant universe of the body is our very own sun, the heart, with its electromagnetic radiance communicating with every cell of our body and synchronizing with our brainwaves and the heartbeats of others around us.
Our body mirrors our cultural evolution. How we see ourselves limits or liberates our experience. Our experience shapes how we engage in the world. We are engaged in a planetary shift as we reembody our energetic heart and retrieve the fire from within.
Our bodies and our lives are regulated by the cycles of the Earth and the rhythms of the cosmos. The human body’s core physiological functions are tied to the oscillations of the sun and moon, from the most obvious—sleep cycles—to the pineal gland, which for optimal functioning depends upon the full-spectrum light of the sun.
The great conductor of the body’s rhythms is the pulse of the heart. The heart is the only organ made of specialized cells—cardiac cells—with the unique capacity to create a pulsing electrical charge. This charge, in turn, creates a vast electromagnetic field of energy. As the most powerful “rhythm maker” of the body, the heart has the ability to synchronize all of the body’s other rhythms.
The heart is—yes—a pump, but one of extraordinary power. It moves some sixty gallons of blood through sixty thousand miles of the circulatory system every hour. The heart also radiates an electrical field that communicates with all other cells of the body through the fluid medium of the blood, which transmits vibration three times faster than air. Its “language” is its oscillating rhythm, ranging from slow and peaceful to hurried and excited.
Throughout our lives, the heart sends more signals to the brain than vice versa. Although we may perceive a split between heart and brain, they love to be in synch. When our brainwaves and heart rhythms come into a state of entrainment, or “heart-brain coherence,” we are at our highest state of energy flow, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
For many people in the West, our natural rhythms have changed to one of 24-7 constant stimulation and high levels of stress, both of which have contributed to the rise in heart disease—the number-one killer in the United States, even though it hardly existed more than a century ago. There is great need for effective ways to deal with the fragmenting effects of life in the 21st century.
As we begin to experience how our heart and brain synchronize naturally, we can begin to feel this coherence as a natural state of yoga. And we can see how ancient meditations and other practices—focused attention, breathing in rhythm, chanting, music, movement—facilitate alignment between the two. This is the science at work when we tend the Heart Fire in meditation.
Shiva Rea is an innovator of vinyasa flow yoga and has been teaching for more than 20 years.
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