From the Magazine: How to center yourself
With the holidays looming, it’s a good time to think about your health. So we asked some Rams for their expert advice about healthy lifestyles. English Professor Whitney Myers, Ph.D., has been a yoga instructor for six years and brings centering into her classroom by teaching mindfulness practices to improve writing students’ focus.
Practice the 4-7-8 Breath, or the “Relaxing Breath.”
- Gently close your eyes.
- Take a deep breath in and let the breath come out your mouth, audibly.
- Inhale through your nose for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven, and exhale for a count of eight. This is one round of breath.
- Do this three more times and then resume your regular breath pattern.
Physical grounding brings you back to the place where things get done.
- Stand up or sit in a chair without using the support of the chair’s back.
- Press the big toe of both feet into the ground, then the outside of your heels, then your baby toes, then the inside of your heels.
- Soften your knees.
- Draw your shoulder blades back.
- Relax your ears away from your shoulders.
- Lift your skull slightly up.
- Take three full rounds of breath, eyes open, grounding down and noticing what’s around you — your environment, the physical sensations in your body and the sound of your breath.
Free writing gives us space to let go of expectations, fears about what “should be” or “looks right,” and helps us get rid of the clutter.
- Set a timer for five to ten minutes.
- Begin to write. Just let what is in your head appear on the page. Do not self-censor. The goal is to write continuously for the entire time without worrying about coherence, grammar or correctness.
- Once the timer ends, reread your exercise to find nuggets of something useful. Or, throw directly in the trash.