Centering is a key element of all the martial arts, from Aikido, Tai Chi, to Tae Kwan Do and the second foundation of body mind spirit integration (see yesterday’s post, “Sensation” for the first foundation). This simple, yet profound, practice asks us to drop into our center of gravity. The Asian traditions call this part of the body, about two inches below the navel, the tan ‘tien in China or the hara in Japan.
Start by resting your palm against your “center.” Really sense the warmth and gentle pressure of your hand.
Slowly move your body weight to the right; shifting as far as you can without falling sideways. Come back to center. Sense your body.
Slowly shift your body weight left as far as you can. And come back to center. Sense your body. This is centering right-to-left.
Slowly lean your body forward as far as you can without falling. Pause and sense the unusual sensations of tilting in this way. Come back to center. Sense your body.
Slowly lean your body back as far as you can without falling. Pause and sense your body in this unique pose. Come back to center. Sense your body. This is centering front-to-back.
Rise upon he balls of your feet and clench the muscles in your feet and ankles. Stretch your legs and torso up, squeezing your leg, belly, and chest muscles. Clench your shoulder muscles, tighten your jaws, and squint your eyes. Walk around a bit all tightened up like this. Stop.
Completely relax your body. Soften knees so they are relaxed over your ankles. Soften hips so they are resting over your knees. Drop your shoulders so they are aligned over your hips. Relax your neck and head so it floats over your shoulders. This is centering op-and-down.
You have just centered in the three planes of movement; right-to-left, front-to-back, and up-and-down.
With your palm resting on your center/tan tien/hara start to walk easily; sensing your body centered as you move.
As you sit or walk or rest in this place of centering let your mind relax into not knowing. Trust your body to move easily, organically. It’s what it is created to do.Our physical and mental IQs are not meant to be stripped apart from each other. If we separate them - keep them at a distance from each other - we must live a short distance from ourselves - as the Dubliner, Mr. Duffy did. If we work to bring them into unity with each other - it is like a golfer hitting a golf ball in the "sweet spot."
For you non-golfers , a golfer loves it when they hit the ball on exactly the right spot on the club. It feels and sounds really great and it flies to exactly where you want it. It is called the "sweet" spot and it is something golfers are always practicing to get. And, like getting the sweet spot in hitting a golf swing - we can't hold onto to the unity of our Five IQs at all times. We lose it and have to find it again; Sense and Center, Sense and Center, Sense and Center, over and over again. We have to keep practicing.
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Alan Davidson, founder of
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
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Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.
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