I have been pondering this concept of alignment the past few months. Sharing it with students in class, reminding them to find their center alignment first within their body before they move into the next posture. When we find our alignment physically it makes it easier to move with grace, stability and fluidness. In Tai Chi / Qigong it all begins with the wu-chi stance, standing without effort, feeling ourselves connect and align to the earth through our feet and to the heavens through our head, while consciously breathing from our lower dantien [belly breath].
Have you thought about aligning on the inside? Do you know what that feels like? For me, it’s an alignment without effort [just like the wu-chi stance] where I can come back to it again and again. We all know it feels like to be out of alignment … it’s being angry, sad, feeling out-of-sorts, stressed, etc. Which to me, makes it even more important to feel my alignment within. As I am writing this, I have a visual of those Weebles’ toys … the tagline for the product was “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.” We all get out of alignment, sometimes often in just one day. The question to ask ourselves is, “How quickly can we come back?”
Alignment and then…
HAVE CONVERSATIONS. Isn’t it easier to converse with someone, once you feel settled in your own center before you engage? I know this is one I am constantly practicing because of my snake tongue [born the year of the snake] it sometimes is a really challenge. But, pausing …taking conscious breaths to align to the present moment helps me, and I believe it helps all of us. Especially if it’s one of those conversations that is challenging to begin with, where you and the other person may not see eye-to-eye. Coming from your center allows your awareness and your perspective to expand, instead of being off-center where you then become very narrow-minded.
BEGIN YOUR DAY. For the last few years, especially since I had my C-Adventure, I relish in quiet moments on my cushion every morning, enjoying tea and writing in my journal. Some days I have time to do all three, sometimes just one. It helps me align to me before I begin my day. Giving me a sense of being grounded and well-being. […a clean slate]
RESPOND TO OTHERS. When we take the time to align to our center before we respond, it gives us a broader perspective, putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes. Also, I know when responding to another about an opportunity, whether it’s a design project or lunch with a friend. I need to align first, to see how it feels to me, is it doable with ease, or am I forcing it?
GO TO SLEEP. Another habit that aligns me in the evening, is laying in bed and giving thanks for various things that happened that day. Some days it’s simply seeing the beautiful Utah mountains with snow on them this time of year and a bright blue sky. I also love InsightTimer and listen to a nightly guided mediation. Aligning first before I sleep, helps me expand my dreams. [InsightTimer is a free mobile app, BTW]
YOU EXPAND. When we are off-balance physically we fall, when we are off-center mentally are options seem to dwindle. Right-wrong, good-bad, blaming others instead of taking responsibility. Again, taking conscious breaths, coming to the present moment allows us to expand in so many ways.
FLOW WITH LIFE. To flow with our wobbles [challenges] in life we must align, “to know thyself is the beginning of wisdom”. Once we know ourselves through our alignment we are able to understand and interact with all aspects of life with so much more ease and grace. And, isn’t that what we all desire from being in alignment?