Sweet and Fierce: The New Movement of Heart Rate Variability Yoga

Guest Blogger: Hiroko Demichelis, RCC

If you missed Sound Salutation on the 4th of January, you have missed out on something.

Sound Salutation is “an epic sound-powered yoga experience at Fortune Sound Club” and it’s more of an art performance than a yoga class. Last Monday, there was sound so deep to move you, and Danielle was so incredibly talented as she directed us into her poetic and imaginative world.

But Sound Salutation was more than this. 

It was a neuro-psycho-physiological based intervention on well-being. It was actually Heart Rate Variability training.

What? Yes.

HRV is a complex concept to explain, but be assured that we will hear more and more about this fundamental biometric. A simple definition is that it s a measure of the variation of the heart beats intervals.

It measures how much the heart, and therefore the autonomic nervous system, is capable at responding to the environment and its constant changes. Constantly, events outside of us or thoughts inside of us demand that our heart rate speeds up or slows down to adjust.

Heart Rate Variability is in fact about self-regulation. HRV is not about relaxation. It is our ability to negotiate stress, to bounce back in face of adversities. And it is trainable. 

There is now quite strong scientific evidence of its importance in terms of physical and psychological well-being. When I started my career in the field of psychology, assisting a staff of psychologists at a Premiere League soccer team, the data collected there was more than promising. The higher the athletes’ HRV, the better their performance on pitch. 

Everything that night at Sound Salutation was about inspiring our nervous system to constantly speed up and slow down, to be present and committed, and yet not to be too serious, to be strong but also light, to be fierce and sweet at the same time. 

All of this was, and is, Heart Rate Variability training.

As I practiced on my mat, I was delighted at how Danielle’s language was neuro-scientifically appropriate. And so powerful.

That’s why, at the end of this event we all felt so alive, so fresh, so inspired, so good. It’s because we got to train our HRV.

So if you were not there that evening when Danielle guided us into being both fierce and sweet, too bad for you, but there are possibilities for redemption: one is to come to the next Sound Salutations event, and the other one is to come and learn all the theory plus the practice behind this and more cool scientific stuff at Yoga for The Brain, our workshop on neuro-science, physiology, trauma, movement and fun. You have been warned.