To decrease stress, disease risk, anxiety and fatigue, it may be necessary to get to the heart of things – the physical and emotional health of your heart.

A new book, Energize Your Heart in Four Dimensions, written by the co-founders of the 20-year-old Institute for Applied Meditation, Inc., shows how the meditation called Heart Rhythm Practice can yield numerous physical – and emotional – health benefits. The spiritual benefits of optimism, vision and direction in life form a fine triad with the physical and emotional benefits.

This meditation has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce your heart rate, help control your weight, stave off heart disease, overcome anxiety disorders, improve the quality of your sleep, reduce fatigue, and enhance fluidity of motion and lung function. While this may sound like a lot to accomplish, there are physical reasons why meditation works.

"Our method includes meditation, movement, and lifestyle changes," says Susanna Bair, co-author of the book. "By drawing attention to the heart, which lowers the heart rate, we increase our circulation, stimulate our immune response and produce an expansion in consciousness."

The controlled breathing in this practice helps increase lung capacity, which increases oxygenation, energy levels and metabolic rates. Heart Rhythm Practice synchronizes breath and heartbeat to a pattern associated with a calm, restful state. It also decreases the production of stress hormones and increases production of anti-stress hormones.

"The body has clocks within itself and these clocks dictate the pace of metabolism, movement and even thinking," says co-author Puran Bair. "When the strongest and most basic rhythm in the body, the breath rhythm, becomes stable, the heartbeat adopts the rhythm too and then the emotional state becomes calm."

Puran and Susanna Bair have led numerous meditation workshops, conducted seminars, and co-founded the Institute for Applied Meditation. Their prior book, Living from the Heart, was praised as being "one of the most important texts ever written on meditation."

The new book contains dozens of exercises to stimulate the heart in a way that will produce physical and mental health. It also features guidance on how to approach life’s challenges.

Energize Your Heart in Four Dimensions is available where books are sold. Puran and Susanna Bair will be in the Twin Cities March 13-16, leading workshops on the book’s principles. For more information regarding specific times and places, please visit the Institute for Applied Meditation’s website at www.energizeyourheart.com or call Dr. Catherine Warrick at 651.699.5017.

Dr. Catherine Warrick has taught meditation for nearly 20 years and is also an ordained minister with an interfaith orientation. She promotes the use of Heart Rhythm Meditation because it does not violate the major precepts of any of the great faith traditions and because it has worked for people of all faith traditions. Copyright © 2008 Dr. Catherine Warrick. All Rights Reserved.

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