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Heart-Smart Workout: Energize Your Heart

Take a few minutes to synchronize your breath with your beat to reduce stress instantly. Susanna Bair, cofounder of the Institute for Applied Meditation in Tucson, Arizona, and coauthor of "Energize Your Heart," designed this meditation to invigorate the heart with conscious breathing and loving intention. "I've worked with people who have lowered their own blood pressure just by doing this exercise," Bair says.

How to Do It
Adopt a Noble Stance
Sit upright, chest forward, shoulders back, spine straight, and head level.

Hone Your Focus
Close your eyes and become aware of your breath flowing in and out. You can put your hands on your heart or rest them by your sides.

Listen for Your Heartbeat
Draw in a deep breath and hold it for a moment. Become aware of your heart pulsing inside you (this may take some practice); then exhale. If you can't hear your heartbeat, feel for your pulse in your chest or on the inside of your wrist.

Synchronize Your Breath
Allow your breath to fall in sync with your heart. Try inhaling for eight heartbeats and then exhaling for eight. Continue this for five to 10 minutes.

Repeat
Try this meditation once in the morning to energize you and again in the evening to clear tension and create a renewed calm.

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