Feeling Off Kilter? Re-Discover Your Center of Balance

Nov 24

This entry is part of a series, centering»

*Read The Ramblings That Explain This

Obligatory Foreword: A guided audio version of this exercise will be included in the Centering Kit, scheduled for some sort of release on Dec. 15th.Looky! We found it! Sherlock Holmes would be proud.

Meanwhile, here in the States, it’s traditional Turkey Insanity Week, when happy families gather to bitch about Aunt Edna’s biscuits and throw the good china at one another’s heads. And since  china-chucking can  knock people a wee bit off-kilter, I’ve written  up this read-it-yourself version, to help out you find and keep your balance during this trying, turkey-filled time.   So set down that antique serving platter you were winding up to pitch, and get yourself re-centered.

It's A Flourish!
Take a moment to pause…

…to meet yourself right  where you are, and breathe easily while you read through these instructions.  This exercise works best seated in a chair;  you’ll want to scoot forward towards the front edge of the seat, just a bit, so that you can lean backwards a few degrees without hitting the back rest.

Your eyes should be forward, your gaze softly relaxed. Your chin should be level, your neck long and open so that your head balances easily on the top of your spine. Back should be straight, but relaxed, shoulders down and at ease, arms relaxed and resting either on the arm rests, or with your hands on your thighs.

Focus your attention on the feeling of your body, for just a moment. Notice the sensation of the air, across your skin. The rise and fall of your breath. .

Notice how your head balances on top of your spine, your spine balancing easily atop your hips. Let your attention settle into the center of your body, wherever it feels most balanced, where ever it feels most easy, and let yourself breath, comfortably, without strain.

Breathe. Comfortably, easily.

This is what balanced feels like.


Down. It's a Direction.Now, bring your attention downwards, to where your hips meet the chair.  Wiggle your butt just a little, rocking your hips, settling more firmly into the seat.  Notice the weight of your thighs against the chair, the feel of your feet resting comfortably on the floor. Notice the sensation of contact, notice how your weight transfers to the chair, through the chair to the ground.

Notice how your weight transfers down your legs, to your ankles and feet, to the floor. Imagine if your feet could sink just a little further into the floor, a little further beyond the limits of your body.

Bring your attention back up, to the floor, to your feet, to your legs, to your hips.  Wiggle your hips in the chair again, letting your weight settle on the seat, letting your spine return to an easy, centered balance, aligned with your attention.

Breathe. Comfortably, easily.

This is what grounded feels like.


Up. It's a direction, too. Plus, a really great movie.Bring your attention upwards, to your chest, to your shoulders.  Breathe in, fully, filling your ribcage, feeling the inhalation gently raise your shoulders, and lengthen your spine. Let your body be lifted, as if by a hot air balloon, as if you’re about to float up off of the seat, as if your body could slip just a half-inch above itself.

Feel yourself reaching just a little… bit…  further… upwards.. as if you body could slip just a half-inch above itself. Feel the places of tension and ease in your body, feel the air around your face. Feel the changes in how your clothing settles on your body.

Notice the air around you, around your shoulders, around your head. Feel it cycle through your mouth, your nose, your lungs, connected in the flow of the air that surrounds you. Feel your connection to the air, feel the air’s connection to the ceiling, feel the ceiling’s connection to the sky.

Lower your ribcage, smoothly, slowly. Let your shoulders relax, let your neck and spine align again, let your perceptions and your weight settle back into your body, into your chair. Wiggle your hips.  Allow your spine find its balance again. Feel your attention come back to center.

Breathe. Comfortably, easily.

This is what centered feels like.


Yepp. Right's another direction.  But don't bother looking for wrong.From that place of center, lean gently to your right, shifting from your hips, bouncing lightly, gently, to your side, one, two, three times. Feel the changes in sensation, the changes in tension, the change in attitude, in how your weight feels.

Let your attention slip just a bit past your body, as if you bounced just a bit further, only for a moment.

Let your weight rock back into balance. Let your spine straighten, as your weight balances atop your hips, settling back into the chair.


Left. Yeah. Direction. (Seeing  a pattern here?)And again, from that place of center, lean gently to your left. Again, bounce lightly, easily, pivoting from your hips. Notice the tension in your muscles, the way your weight shifts, the changes in sensation.

Push that last half-inch, beyond your body, then pull your attention back to your body,and return to center, spine straightening, relaxing, noticing the sense of balance, and center.

Breathe. Comfortably, easily.

This is what balanced feels like.


Front!  Ahead! A future direction.Now lean forward slightly from the waist, easily, without straining, bouncing ever-so-gently. Again notice the change in sensation, the change in muscle tension, the change in your breath. Imagine bouncing just a bit further, out beyond your body, just that a half-inch or so.

Bring your perceptions back into your self, into your body, and after a moment, adjust your posture again, smoothly, allowing your spine and body and perceptions to aligned again. Take a breath or two, allowing yourself to settle, and note the feelings of balance again.

Lean back into the past. Unless you're Marty McFly. In which case it will get weird.And lean slowly, gently backwards, just a little.  Again, take a moment to become aware of the sensation, and bounce just a little, gently, feeling the motion, the fluidity. Again, imagine bouncing backwards just a little, moving just a wee bit further beyond your body, before bringing your perceptions back into your self, and bringing your body back to an upright position.

Let your body find it’s alignment. Let your weight settle, let your perceptions find that place of stillness within you.

Notice the sensations.

Breathe. Comfortably, easily.

This is what centered feels like.


Sitting easily, breathing gently, body balanced, perceptions centered; close your eyes. Take a deep, comfortable breath.

Exhale, easily, comfortably.

Breathe again. In.  Out.

Notice how with each breath, your shoulders rise, and fall, with each breath, your rib cage moving up, and down, in and out, expanding and contracting in all directions.

Your body is the center of all these directions, up, and down, above and below, right and left, forward and back, east and west, north and south, future and present and past.

Your body is centered, grounded and balanced. Your perceptions are centered, grounded and balanced, as well – making the here and now the focus point, the pivot point where your world comes together, where perceptions meet reality.

Breathe. Comfortably, easily.

This is what centered and balanced feels like.

Open your eyes.

Breathe into the world.

Breathe the world into you.

The Center. I like to think of it as a direction, too. Even if it isn't.


It's another flourish!

Obligatory Afterword: Once you’ve got the general idea down, you can skip the formalities and run through the compass points in your head, should you need a quick fix.  It’s not quite as effective that way, but it’s a far better choice than beaning Cousin Frederick with that serving platter. Trust me on this one. Ok? At the very least, being centered will improve your aim.

Comments, Comments, who’s got the comments?

Share your china-chucking holiday horror stories, please. They make me feel ever so much less alone.

Entries in this series:
  1. Finding Center: An Introduction
  2. Feeling Off Kilter? Re-Discover Your Center of Balance
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  1. Great exercise! You may be surprised to know that when I teach skiing, I do a similar exercise with students – although standing on the snow in skis instead of sitting in a comfy chair. In any event, bringing your attention to your body and the sensations in the here and now, it always grounds and centers things.