Live In Your Body: How to Center Yourself to Achieve Greatness
“If you are centered, you can move freely.” ~ Morihei Ueshiba
Have you ever experienced a tense or stressful moment when your heart starts pounding, you’re short of breath, you start sweating and feel light-headed? I think we all have. Maybe you took a deep breath to calm yourself down. You probably didn’t realize that this is a natural way of “centering” your body!
There’s more to centering then an occasional deep breath but the good news is it’s one of the simplest and most helpful forms of calming practice. The “center” refers to a relaxed yet focused state of mind. Being centered means remaining in your calm center amidst the busyness of everyday life. Being centered means not allowing your inner being to be overshadowed by stressful circumstances or negative thoughts and emotions.
When you are centered,
you are in a state of clarity, focus, peace, flow and balance.
When you are not centered,
you are unclear, unfocussed, stressed, and off balance.
Centering is especially helpful in the midst of strong emotional states like excitement or anxiety. It’s often used by athletes, public speakers, actors, or anyone who wants to feel stable and prepared before a potentially stressful event. When life becomes chaotic and demanding, the ability to maintain a relaxed body and focused state of mind can be VERY valuable.
The reasons for cultivating this ability are immense, so start where you are and increase your skills over time. You don’t need to begin with daunting, time and energy consuming activities at first. As I often say, “Start Small!”
You don’t want to wait until you’re confronted with a stressful situation to get started. When practiced often, good centering techniques will require only minimal attention, allowing you to keep some of your attention on the activity at hand.
I personally find that the quickest way to center my mind is through my body. When my spine is alert and soft, my heart is relaxed and open and I stand midway between my back and my front leg, I feel more centered.
I invite you to use centering as your practice for the next three weeks, every day. You’ll need daily intent, discipline, and a curiosity for deepening and learning from the practice to follow through. I suggest a minimum of 5 minutes each day, working up to 15 minutes a day toward the end of the three weeks.
Here are the centering basics to get you started:
- Focus your attention on your sensations and aliveness.Feel what is present in this moment.
- Purposefully bring your attention to your center (2 inches below your navel). What changes in your body as you do this?
- Center in Length. Drop into gravity and your lower body and lengthen up the spine. This promotes dignity, self-worth and your highest vision.
- Center in Width. Balance left to right. Widen from your centerline. Fill out and beyond your edges. This promotes connection, community and interdependence.
- Center in Depth. Fill in, feel the space behind you, inside of you, in front of you. Don’t pull back, nor push forward. This connects you to your past, present, future.
- Center in Purpose. Speak your commitment to yourself. Or center into your calling or longing. Say out loud, “I am a commitment to…”
Are you interested in learning how to center yourself to improve your quality of life? If you live near Ashland, Oregon, please contact my office and learn how somatic coaching can help you engage your whole mind and body in achieving greatness.
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