We are in balance when we have the capacity to be present, centred in ourselves and in relationship with those around us, These qualities can be the “difference that makes the difference” in our ability to enjoy life, communicate effectively and contribute to both our own and other’s wellbeing and success.
- Acting from a place where we are centred and grounded and balanced means we are likely to:
- Have a feeling of confidence and an absence of anxiety and self-doubt
- A state of focused spaciousness in the mind and relaxed readiness in the body
- Be able to operate at our very best in a sustainable way
If we are off balanced, we are likely to experience: anxiety, lack of confidence, low energy, fear, stress, mental paralysis.
In the same way that physical practice builds our skills for sports and other practical activities, so there are mental and somatic exercises that can help us improve our balance and resilience. The more we practice them, the more natural a state of balance becomes to us and the quicker we are able to notice we have been knocked off balance and return to centre.
We have a simple practice that I introduce in many of the workshops that I wanted to share with you in audio form.
It is a great daily practice for yourself at the start of the day or when ever you get knocked off balance. Remember you will get knocked off centre, how quickly can you come back again?
Click for the audio vesion of the Centering Exercise:
The 7 step Practice:
- Position feet shoulder distance apart.
- Give your body a little shake to shake out tension
- Notice your breathing, don’t change it,just be aware of the air passing in and out.
2) Your length
• Imagine that someone caught a few strands of hair and is gently drawing you up to the sky
- Imagine a little more space between your vertebrae, feel yourself stretched upwards
- Notice your weight, how heavy you are, notice the weight of your arms, then your legs pulled down to the ground, the weight of your body. Think of how heavy you are when you try to do a pull up!
- Notice that you are both drawn up and pulled down.This gives you your length and a certain dignity and presence.
3) Relaxing tension – Relax all the bands down the front of your body where tension gathers:
- Forehead – stretch it, then wrinkle it, and find a place halfway between the two.
- Eyes – squeeze them close, make them wide then find middle place, let them be soft (peripheral vision)
- Jaws – our jaws are not designed for our teeth to touch and should never be clenched, check to ensure jaws and the area around is relaxed
- Chest – expand it, then compress it and then hold it relaxed and open to the world but not puffed up like a military man
- Belly – just draw in and then relax
- Sphincter region – we hold much tension here and don’t notice. Pull in your pelvic floor, then relax it. Tilt your pelvis back and forth and find a middle position.
- Legs – make sure your knees are not locked tight but are very slightly bent.
- Feet – soften and relax your feet onto the ground so they are like soft paws on the floor. And then just go back to remembering your height and your weight.
4) Your Width.
And now your width –
- Are you equally balanced on each foot?
- How wide are you? Narrow and squeezed in?
- Imagine making yourself a little wider
And your depth
- Lean forward, lean back, find true upright
- Think of not leaning back into past, not falling forward into your future. 6)Breathing
6)And now your Breath
a)Belly Breath. Imagine you have a child’s balloon in your belly, breathe in through your nose and imagine the balloon filling up in your belly and pelvic area, expand it, then let it out, expand, let it out. Do this for a minute or so. Here is the centre of your being, your centre of gravity.
b)Heart. Now imagine you have balloon around your heart and breathe in to fill it and breathe out. Again do this for minute or so. This stabilises the waves and oscillations of your heart beat, calming and relaxing you.
c)Head. And lastly, image you have a balloon in your head and again breathe in to fill it up so it fills all of your skull, then letting it out, do this for a while, and enjoy the silence in your mind.
- And to finish return to an awareness of your length, that you are drawn up and pulled down and then take a few breaths into your belly, your centre, again.
- And as you finish, move off the spot and carry that centredness, groundedness and calmness with you as you move around.
- This is “home”, a place to come back to when you notice you have moved away!
This process is inspired and adapted from Wendy Palmer’s work in the Intuitive Body