3 Steps for Getting Back to Center

Each day is filled with a variety of tasks that tax our system: managing frustration with traffic, focusing on an intense work or school project, trying to resist eating a big bowl of ice cream right before bed. Depletion is a part of life.

So, if depletion is natural, what can we do? For starters, we can practice self-care to bring us back to center. Here are three steps for rebalancing:

Step One. The first step is to observe our experience in the present moment. What do you notice physically, mentally, and emotionally? Without this first step of nonjudgmental self-reflection, we will not be able to take the next steps to refill the well and find balance.

Step Two. The next step to refilling the well is to hit the Pause button, to take a moment to turn inward, away from stimulation—i.e., emails, phone calls, headlines, sometimes even interactions with others. The pause begins the process of refilling the well.

Step Three. Once you have hit Pause, consider the following options to continue refilling your well. These practices help you avoid reactivity and tap into a more present and skillful part of the bodymind.

  • Yogic Movement. Practicing even just a few minutes of yoga each day can replenish a tired system, bringing more balance to the body and mind. Yoga helps to regulate the nervous system and this, in turn, can reduce stress.
  • Yogic Breathing. Nothing can refill the well more quickly than pausing and consciously breathing. By practicing the full Three-Part Breath, you begin to soothe the nervous system, activating the rest-and-rejuvenation system of the body and calming the mind.
  • Meditation. Meditation also helps to regulate the nervous system and reduce stress. The act of sitting still and noticing the breath or noticing bodily sensations can have a very impactful benefit on the mind and body.
  • Sleep. There's nothing like a good night’s rest to refill the well. Rest provides a boost in our ability to stick to our personal intentions.
  • Mindful Eating. Mindful eating is a great practice that can be done at any mealtime. Sit quietly, in silence or with relaxing music, and eat mindfully and slowly. Pay attention to each bite without the distraction of the computer, phone, or talking with other people. Take a few moments to simply enjoy your food.

© Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. All rights reserved. To request permission to reprint, please email editor@kripalu.org.