Calming Heart Palpitations

Question

My heart breaks into palpitation easily....with mild stress physical or mental...which slows me down..

How do i make my heart stay calm at all times.!

Thank you!

Love

Tapasya

—Tapasya, India

Answer

Dear Tapasya,

There can be several causes of heart palpitations including medical ones. First, I encourage you to see a physician, if you have not already done so, to check that there is not something that requires medical treatment.

If a medical treatment is not needed then let’s proceed with some yogic techniques to help. Our heart can indeed race in response to stress. Stress comes when we react to circumstances in a negative way. We want to fight back or push the circumstance away or run away. Sometimes what is happening is not threatening to us in any way but it reminds us of a negative experience in the past and we react to that memory. So unless there is indeed a physical threat to us in our environment right now there is no need for our body to prepare to fight or run by increasing our heart rate.

It is our thoughts that cause us to react with a stress response. It is a thought that ‘this should not be happening’. A yogic antidote to stress is to access the divine quality of Calmness. Calmness is found at our center in Spirit which is untouched by outward circumstances.

We can quickly shift away from stress toward calmness by breathing slowly and easily in the diaphragm, breathing through the nose with the mouth closed. As the breath naturally flows in, your belly should expand as the diaphragm drops down to allow the lungs to fill with air. As the breath naturally flows out, the belly will gently collapse as the air leaves the lungs. Your diaphragmatic breathing should be slow and relaxed. If you have trouble finding it you might try lying down as the breath more naturally returns to diaphragmatic breathing in that position. Once your breath is in the belly you can sit back up. When your breath is flowing diaphragmatically you can add this mental phrase “I am Calm” or if you prefer “I am Peace”. As the breath naturally flows in follow it mentally saying “I am” and as the breath naturally flows out follow it mentally saying “Calm” or “Peace”. If your mind wanders during your breathing practice just bring it back to these words.

Practice this breathing daily (or twice daily) for at least 5 minutes or even longer. You will find daily practice of this technique will bring a much increased sense of peace and well-being to your entire day. It is actually a foundation technique for meditation so if you feel benefit please consider pursuing a meditation practice. Once you have learned this relaxing and centering breathing pattern use it at the first sign of any heart palpitation or even at the first sign of any sense of stress. This technique should interrupt the stress response.

I am including for you also an affirmation on Calmness from Affirmations for Self-Healing by Swami Kriyananda. This is a beautiful book of affirmations which you can purchase at www.crystalclarity.com Say this affirmation daily or twice a day preferably at times when you a feeling quiet, possibly praying or meditating.

Calmness

“Calmness is perfectly achieved when life’s little wave becomes absorbed into the cosmic sea, in divine ecstasy. In daily life, too, we can achieve calmness to a degree by keeping our awareness focused on the reality of the Spirit underlying all outward circumstances.

Calmness comes with the determination to live ever happily in the present moment, relinquishing the past, and not worrying about the future, but placing our lives firmly in God’s hands, and knowing that He is fully in command. Calmness comes with non-attachment-with knowing that nothing in this world is truly ours.

Affirmation: Though the winds of difficulties howl around me, I stand forever calmly at the center of life’s storms

Prayer: With Thee beside me, I know that the tides of trouble can never sweep me away. Hold fast my hand, Lord; never let me go!”

From Affirmations for Self-Healing by Swami Kriyananda.

Many blessings to you,

Nayaswami Mukti