Finding Your Center

Many have heard phrases over the years like “find your center” and “ground yourself.” I don’t believe anyone actually ever explained what they meant, but I knew they involved going within.

It does help to know how these phrases translate in order to make this state of mind a tangible destination. So, here it goes… Centering refers to one’s mental or physical state. It means to calm your emotions, slowing your mind and your breathing to a point where you can “feel” a lot more going on around and inside of you. It is a state of relaxed alertness.

Have you centered today? Start right now. Sit up tall and lengthen your spine. Close your eyes and draw your awareness within. Begin to breath from your belly, letting it swell out on the in breath. Do this slowly 10 times, just paying attention to the breath. After you’re done, see if taking this brief pause has brought any shifts. Take note of them. Find a little space in your day to practice this. The results could well be illuminating.

 

Belly Breathing Benefits

This targeted method of deep breathing goes by many different names, but they all mean the same thing. Deep breathing through the belly signals the nervous system to calm down. Building this breathing practice will benefit sleep patterns, strengthen the immune system, and enhance the digestive system. Flexing the diaphragm muscle massages the digestive organs helping to relieve conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and acid reflux. The most immediate benefit is that this practice lowers blood pressure.

Research indicates that 9 out of 10 people are chest breathers who take short, shallow breaths into their chest all day. This method of breathing tells the nervous system the body is under stress. The body reacts by releasing cortisol, increasing blood pressure. The body and immune system become strained.

Try spending a period of time each day taking belly breaths. Place one hand on the belly and the other on the chest. Inhale through the nose, puffing the belly out (pushing one hand away) and letting the breath rise. Allow the cells of the body to become better oxygenated as you take in 7 times more oxygen than a regular chest breath. Try this before you go to sleep or first thing in the morning. It’s great for insomnia. Try this sitting at your desk.

Find your breath. It’s right under your nose!