Principles of Open Awareness: Centering

What does it mean to be at center?  

The answer could be many things. To center could mean to find a place that feels like the center of your body, your center of gravity, or a center from which you approach the world.  

From a decision-making perspective, are you a heart-centered or a head-centered person? Do you reason everything out or do you go with your gut? My guess is that sometimes you do more of one, sometimes more of the other.  

Physically, think about your spine. Does your spine feel like it’s at the center with your limbs radiating out from there? When you sit or stand, do you feel upright and centered or as if you’re leaning forward or backward, twisting, or tilting to one side?  

In the movement world we talk about your plump line. If I were to take a string with a weight tied to the end of it and dangle it from the crown of your head down to the ground, how might you organize your body around that string? Working with your plumb line can be a great way to find graceful movement and dynamic balance. 

Energetically, your chakras line up at your center. Some folks can feel these seven energy centers in the body from root to crown, and they tend to feel stacked one atop the other right in front of the spine. See the rainbow box below for practice feeling into your chakras.  

Socially, being at center could mean being the center of attention, a place I quite liked to be when I was little and, not gonna lie, sometimes still enjoy! It could also mean centering your own thoughts, feelings, and ideas in a conversation.

Centering yourself like this can be vulnerable and healthy, and help you open to love, support, and connection with other people. Sometimes centering yourself in the conversation can be harmful, like when the other person is trying to share their story for compassion and understanding and you make it instead about you.

One of the best pieces of advice I got when being trained for mentoring was it’s not about you. I admit, navigating when it is about you and when it’s not about you can be tricky, but it’s an important part of being a good friend and community member, and feeling connected personally to those you choose to have around you.

Let’s continue to explore this concept of center and centering with our physical yoga practice this week. All classes are free and on Zoom. I hope to see you there! 

Feel Your Chakras

In my experience, feeling the chakras comes with practice. Try it now.

First your root chakra deep in your pelvis, right behind your pubic bone.
Second your sacral chakra behind your navel (or a little lower).
Third your solar plexus beneath your breastbone and at the center line of your body.
Fourth your heart, not the anatomical one, but very nearby, right at center.
Fifth your throat chakra, at the base of your throat.
Sixth your third eye, between the eyes, slightly up, and back into the center of your brain.
Seventh your crown, where your skull flattens out on the top of your head.

How can you organize your body around an aligned stack of seven chakras?