How It Feels: Coming Back to Center
By: Lucy Stelmack
"Come back to center."
I hear the cue from the instructor. It’s one of the more simple instructions given in a yoga class. One that I don’t hesitate or even have to think about. The cue is given and my body responds. Almost effortlessly, I am in a place of alignment and balance. For those few seconds, there is no judgement. I am able to just be. The labels of right and wrong drop, all my masks disappear, and clarity is not a concept, it’s an experience.
I change sides, my alignment shifts, my balance shakes, my jaw tightens... "Am I doing this right?"
Suddenly it happens, I’m in my head and out of my practice. Out of my center. It may seem like I’m only sharing about an experience in my yoga practice, but how often in life does a change occur that shakes our footing and pulls us out of alignment?
There’s something so beautiful about those perfect moments of clarity where I am at peace with myself and surroundings. When the essence of my being knows all is well, and I feel whole and complete. I am powerful, fearless, and full of divinity. I am unshakable. Life flows like a perfect Sun Salutation. So why is it that life’s unexpected moments, or simply changing sides of a pose, can pull me out of focus?
Coming back to center is like a child’s pose in a vinyasa class. It’s always available, a moment to regroup, catch your breath, rest and just be with yourself. What an amazing gift to give yourself when you’re overwhelmed at work, trying to meet a deadline or when life is flying by and you feel pulled in every direction.
Do you race to finish your projects? Do you frantically try to get everything done? Do you get caught in the in the storm of expectations of what and how things should be? Again, if you're like me, you may have a hard time realizing a few seconds to come back to yourself and realign may be just the trick to keep you going on and off your mat.
Coming back to center is a practice itself. It’s the ability to be present in any situation and know that everything is already working exactly as it should. It’s the place of comfort, a retreat and a vacation from life’s demanding schedule. This incredible presence of peace that you are searching for is in you. Your center is YOU. You never lost it, you just need to remember to come back to it. Although these moments of uncertainty and imbalance are not ideal, they are the truly gifts from the universe.
It may seem that you must grit your teeth, push through and find all the answers you seek, but what would be possible if you loosened your grip, let go, and allowed the universe to carry you?
It’s in your surrender that true peace arrives. This has been proven to me time and time again.
When I feel lost, I can let go. When I fall out of half moon, it’s okay to try again. Yet, there are still times I struggle and forget about the magic that dwells inside of me.
It may seem like the challenge is to stay centered, but the real growth and true practice is remembering its always available, you can choose to come back as many times as you need.
I can remember the first time I really felt this overwhelming peace.
It was not separate from me. I felt it in the core of my being and the warmth of my soul wrapped around me embracing my body. I had just finished a power class, and I was laying in Savasana. It clicked. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of confidence and knowing I was exactly where I was meant to be in time, not just physically, but in all aspects of my life. Although my body was in a deep rest, my heart could have burst with gratitude and love at any moment. It was as if a veil had been lifted, and my truest self was finally radiating out of me.
Of course, moments like this are different for everyone, but the first time I was able to become aware of this feeling, I slowly became more aware of it in other areas of my life. Sometimes it’s a feeling of overwhelming gratitude, or the solitude of being with myself in the morning and eating breakfast.
Other times it’s the calm thought telling me "everything will work out" when I’m having a hard time, and at times it’s the response my body has to another person, place or thing. Whatever the situation, I am always left with the feeling of peace and connection to myself and the world around me.