Centering Defined: What, How and Why?
What is center? How do you choose to be centered, and why?
In what ways can you develop a strong center?
As a student and instructor of the Japanese martial art Aikido,
and as a professional speaker and trainer, I often present
on this topic and, in addition, have made centering a life
practice. I say practice, because that is what it takes to
access the Center State on purpose.
Physically, the body's center of gravity is a point in the
lower abdomen - but it is also much more. It's a quality of
being that integrates body, mind and spirit: vitality increases,
the senses are sharpened, and one is less affected by everyday
irritations. The Japanese describe a centered person as having
hara or strong ki, the inner quality that helps the
student of Aikido develop to her fullest potential. Some say
it is an attitude towards life, an ability to handle whatever
may come. Athletes recognize the centered state as "the zone."
Center is a condition we can cultivate. Thomas Crum, author
of Journey to Center, says, "Centering is the art of
being fully alive. And wherever the art of centering is practiced,
things change dramatically."
To train in centering, the Aikidoist practices a relaxed posture
and directs the weight of her body towards her physical center.
She also breathes into her center to enhance the grace and
economy of her movement. You can do the same.
Breathe deeply. Exhale slowly. Relax and direct the weight
of your body toward your center point. Now, think of a situation
later today where it will be especially helpful to be balanced,
calm and self-assured. Make a mental note to center when the
By becoming skilled at identifying the centered state, you
can learn to choose it. This is critical in those key moments
when purposeful action is needed.
Write back and tell me how centering helps you!
©2005 Judy Ringer, Power & Presence Training
Judy Ringer is the author of Unlikely Teachers:
Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict, containing
stories and practices on turning life's challenges into life
teachers. Judy is a black belt in aikido and nationally known
presenter, specializing in unique workshops on conflict, communication,
and creating a more positive work environment. She is the
founder of Power & Presence Training, and chief instructor
of Portsmouth Aikido, Portsmouth, NH, USA. To sign up for
more free tips and articles like these, visit www.JudyRinger.com.
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