Neutral gear

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Imagine that you're about to give the most important speech of your life. The audience is packed with people you want to impress. How do you feel? There are all sorts of occasions in life when our nerves can get the better of us. Feelings of anxiety (rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweating, and light-headedness) are normal in these situations. Fortunately, with a little practice, you can turn this nervous energy into positive concentration using a technique called "Centering."

What is centering?
Centering is an ancient visualisation technique that originated in Aikido, the Japanese defensive martial art of "spiritual harmony". It teaches us to focus on the here and now, taking power away from outside concerns and negative thoughts, and helps us remain stable and grounded. Aikido trains our mind to control our body's reactions using the concept of "ki". This holds that all physical and mental power comes from the flow of energy around your body. Energy is lost when we are tense or stressed, but centering redirects this negative energy in a beneficial way. 

Let's try this
Think back to a time when you were feeling stressed or afraid. What physical reactions did you experience? Tense muscles, rapid breathing, sweating palms, a racing heart? Now, imagine that all of these feelings are the result of energy flowing through your body. Centering uses your mind to redirect this energy to the center of your body, giving you a sense of inner calm.

  • the center of our body is the "dan tien", an imaginary point 2 inches below our navel, where we breathe
  • the center of our emotions is ACCEPTANCE
  • the center of our intellect is SILENCE

Practicing centering gives us the time and space to choose our response…