Any discussion about alignment, balance, posture and energy is a discussion about gravity – and our relationship to it.
Gravity is the force that holds us here on earth; the force that holds the universe together. It affects every moment of our life, enabling us to walk the earth, and the earth to spin around the sun, and the sun to hold its place in the galaxy.
This universal power and force is also embedded within us. In fact, it is the point from which we orient ourselves – physically, mentally and emotionally – in our world.
Where gravity is centered in our bodies is our center.
Drawing upon this universal power and force is fundamental to any and all practices of consciousness. Fundamental to the movements of Yoga, Qi Gong and T’ai Chi. Fundamental to the practice of meditation – in some cases the meditation itself. Most important, it is fundamental to our ability to get through the chaos and stresses of an ordinary day with maximum ease and vitality.
To draw on the power of gravity we need to be physically aligned with it. To be aligned with it we must first find its center in our bodies. You could say that centering our Selves in gravity is the beginning of all practice.
Here’s how it works.
- If an architect wanted to see how to best build your body, she would use a plumb line – a weighted line that, suspended, points directly to the center of the earth. She would drop it from the crown of your head, and find that its weight comes to rest in the center of your pelvis and abdomen. Then she would know where to balance the weight of the body she was to construct, the center that would hold it erect.
- Use the image – drop the plumb line from your head. Let it slowly unfurl through your spine. Feel where its weight finds its home in your body, and feel your body settle around that point.
- Now put one hand over your abdomen, thumb at your navel, pinky finger toward your pubic bone. Place your other hand on your lower back directly behind it. The center of gravity is between your hands, a weighted energy sphere that allows your body to balance on your legs, and your spine, anchored, to maintain upward-ness with the strength of a deeply rooted tree.
In yoga this center is known as the seat of Apana, downward flowing energy. In Qi Gong it’s called the lower Dan Tien, a reservoir of Qi energy. Whatever you call it, this is ground zero of physical balance, which in turn is the foundation of mental and emotional equanimity.
In alignment we ‘own’ the power of gravity as our own. All the weight of the universe, centered within, makes us feel light.
The effect of non-alignment, when our center of gravity is out of position, is equally huge – and hugely negative. Balance becomes something we have to fight for, pitting our mental and physical energy against a power that pulls down with far greater steadiness and force than our ability to pull up. It’s a battle we can only lose, causing skewed posture, fatigue and all-over, deeply ingrained tension.
What we need are ways to maintain connection with our center of gravity, to stay grounded, empowered and strong.
Let’s discuss a few of them.
- For instant connection: Direct your breath into your navel and lower abdomen. Remember, energy follows thought and this is a thought that takes you directly to your center of gravity.
- For fatigue: Inhale into your center, and exhale from center. See your breath as a flow of whatever, like a river through your core. This is the highest-octane fuel available on the planet.
- Anxiety: You the power gravity to pull all your worry and concern out of your brain and body and into your center – like sending negativity into a black hole. The power of gravity with grounds you is ultimately far stronger than anxiety.
- Anger: With every breath exhale your anger from your center out of your body – and inhale the energy of calm.
- Tension: Get centered. Soften tension from body and mind, using a color, or texture to melt your muscles and quiet your mind. You’ll feel it as it happens.
Our power – physical, mental and emotional – grows from gravity, is nourished by gravity, is supported by gravity. You’re connected to it – now, use it – anytime, anywhere. Like when you’re walking down the street, waiting on line at the grocery store, rushing for the next appointment, caught in traffic, under stress at work….
All the power you need is already there, inside. It’s who you are – at center.