(For more information
on ways to recenter and ground yourself, see my books Getting
Through the Day and Sacred Practices for Conscious Living.)
way to recenter yourself is to do the following breathing exercise.
It supports your body's natural capacity to settle down into a more
this particular breathing exercise can be found, in various forms,
in most yoga and meditation traditions. As with all exercises for
recentering, experiment with what follows and see if it gives you
another useful tool.
exercise is good as part of an overall stress reduction program,
as well. If you live a hectic life and find that you need to de-stress,
spending a few minutes doing this exercise will offer your body
and mind a brief "time out" that can be surprisingly rejuvenating
To do this breathing
exercise, it's important to know how to breathe from your belly.
To practice, place a heavy book or your hand on your belly, in the
area of your belly button. As you inhale, the book or your hand
will rise when you breathe in. If it doesn't, you're probably having
a shallow breath that is focused up in your chest. Then, when you
exhale, your belly will deflate and settle, naturally and easily.
As you practice, the most important thing is to engage this exercise
with an attitude of "no struggle." Allow yourself time to learn
how to do a "belly breath." Let it be easy. We start out, as infants,
automatically breathing from the belly, so your body already knows
how to do this, and the following exercise offers you an opportunity
to re-access this part of your natural body wisdom.
by sitting down comfortably where you won't be disturbed for about
aware of the surface supporting you and allow yourself to settle
into it. Notice what it feels like to be supported right now.
any struggle or effort, use the following count for each in-breath
and out-breath: Breathing from your belly - Breathe in to a count
of 4; Hold your breath for a count of 4; Breathe out to a count
of 8. Then, repeat the sequence for a couple of breaths and see
how it feels. If it feels good to you, continue for 5 breaths; then,
add 5 more if you find that you continue to settle comfortably.
time, allow yourself to decide how many sequences work well for
you - how many allow you to relax and recenter yourself when you
need to. Keep in mind that you can do at least one sequence whenever
you find yourself tense or anxious and allow that to become a way
to start to shift gears toward recentering.
© Nancy J.