FIRE ELEMENT – Part 3 • The Heart Constrictor
The Heart Constrictor, also called Pericardium or Heart protector, is a supplementary function of the Heart. Physically speaking it represents a double-layered sac of fibrous tissue that envelops the Heart. The space between the layers is filled with serous fluid that protects the Heart from external shock or trauma and lubricates to allow for normal Heart movement. In Chinese Medicine, the Heart which is the “supreme controller”, needs to be protected in order to carry its duty of ruling over the kingdom with wisdom, love, impartiality, and spread joy. And this is precisely what the Heart Constrictor does: it protects the Heart.
Feeling disconnected/cut off is one symptom of HC Kyo
If the HC is not doing is job because it is too weak (Kyo/deficient), the Heart won’t be well protected. The feelings of love and joy disappear, and instead sadness and fear arise in our hearts. We start to lose our connection to the Universal spirit, which pervades everyone and everything. Internal disorder increases and we can neither love ourselves nor open to the love of others. We feel vulnerable, easily hurt and “heartbroken.”
On the end of the spectrum, if our HC is too strong (jitsu/overactive), energetically speaking, we may shut down and overprotect ourselves. Instead of opening ourselves to others, the fear of being hurt makes us shut everyone out, which consequently makes us feel separated and isolated.
When the Heart Constrictor is healthy and balanced, it keeps out those who could harm us and welcomes those who are trustworthy, loving, fun, and beneficial for our Fire element. A good HC function can figure stuff out and connect things well and easily. It’s in a way the opposite of western medicine (specialises things, breaks down everything into details). Ancient Greece is a good example of a good HC function: they discovered so many things and connected ideas together.
The HC, blood circulation and sex
The HC has another major function: it governs the veins and the arteries throughout our body. In other words it is responsible for regulating our blood flow, as well as our internal and external sexual secretions. Without proper circulation, there may be internal coldness, or excessive heat. No organ or function can operate properly if its environment is in either extreme. Blood is the medium by which the warmth penetrates to reach every corner and every level of our being. It carries out all nutrients and subtle forms of communication throughout the body.
Cold hands/feet is a major symptom for HC kyo
In demanding circumstances the HC can oversupply to designated areas causing heat in one area and chilling in another. This can be in terms of emotions as much as physical.
When the HC is imbalanced, we can start to experience extremes of hyper-sexuality or, in the opposite extreme, coldness and frigidity. The acupressure point HC2 (called Heavenly Spring) can be used for people who, even with the right person, cannot connect on a deep level of trust and intimacy. The energy unlocked by this point can wash away fear, guilt, timidity, coldness, and all that blocks the natural flow of warmth, joy, and love between human beings. Much like sexual secretions, there is a bringing forth of the inner flow of passion where, in acts of loving, two seem as one. The boundaries of separateness dissolve in such heavenly moments.
The HC represents the veins and arteries around the body but not the capillaries! Those are governed by the Triple Heater, and they are a lot more passive.Thus it governs the circulatory system, creates blood circulation, nurtures and supports the Heart.
The HC and digestion
Interestingly, the HC meridian’s internal pathway wraps around the digestive system for miles, like a spiral. Physically there’s actually a massive amounts of veins spiralling around the digestive system. That’s the HC function that creates an energetic spiral, and blood function throughout the digestive system. It is responsible for a lot of the nutritive functions, and it’s why people react strongly to moods, feelings, emotions and foods. E.g. explains why certain people don’t have appetite if they’re a little bit upset.
The bugs in your gut determine your mental function, what you eat and what you don’t eat. It’s that dialogue between the gut and your heart and brain. The HC communicates that dialogue energetically. With poor HC function people don’t know what they feel (e.g. how much to eat, what to drink, what they feel like eating, etc.).
There’s a strong connection between the HC and stomach: the end of the HC meridian is in the Stomach. It creates enormous pressure in the stomach if the HC isn’t capable of doing its job (dispersing info, resolving difficulties).
The HC connects to the bone marrow
Heart constrictor and triple heater stretch
Sitting cross-legged, place hands over opposite knees, taking in a deep breath and bending forward. Make sure your elbows come down on the front side of your legs. Take some deep breaths, inhale and slowly come up to your starting position. Switch position of your arms as well as your legs.
Peacock or Mayūrāsana works the HC in many ways
Peacock will work and open major HC points in the arms, wrists and palms. The elbows pressing in the belly will also activate that relationship between HC and the Stomach/digestive system. Ideally you should lift the chest until the shoulder are in line with the hips.
Other poses that work the HC are:
cobra with bent knees (bring feet to head)
Push ups with the fingers facing your feet
Cat push ups with fingers back