I am always surprised by how easily I can improve my movement experience with simple, purposeful awareness. Many of us believe that meditation is not our thing or that practicing mindfulness means that we have to sit on a cushion and clear our minds for approximately 30 minutes. While it looks like the latter – that is to say it is one version – mindfulness itself can be put into action immediately and instantly with results that far exceed our expectations. Applying the tool I am about to describe has done this very thing for me and my students on many occasions.
Jenae Lang was the very first student I ever put on a piece of Pilates apparatus. She was also the one who first exposed me to the gold cord, and she did so when I needed it most. I was about to take my Pilates certification test and feeling absolutely disconnected not only from my body but from any sense of presence. My thoughts were scattered and my mind agitated, I was aware only of the storm in my belly, flashing heat and sweat, racing heart, and an overall sense of panic. But the moment I closed my eyes and begin to listen to my breath and place attention on my gold cord I felt the whole world shift and become steady.
Although I’ve described a fairly intense situation, this mindfulness practice is brilliant for any time you need to draw yourself into a sense of grounding.
Here’s how it goes.
Anchoring Into Your Center – Finding Your Gold Cord
When to use this – Any time you need to calm your mind or bring yourself back into your body. It is also incredibly powerful to practice this before and throughout a Pilates or yoga class.
Why do this: Your gold cord gives you a physical as well as visual anchor, one that will help you better feel whole and therefore move holistically. This practice gives us a chance to enhance the idea of centering so that our attention is less likely to waiver and our movements more likely to feel complete – balanced in ease and effort.
How to begin: You can do this anywhere, and in any position. Begin by closing your eyes. Imagine a gold cord running from your center (3 inches or so below your bellybutton) all the way to the center of the earth. See and feel energy pulsing from your center to the earth’s center. You can visualize the energy as a subtle ebb and flow that radiates at a slow and easy rhythm.
As you breathe in feel energy being restored to you. As you exhale feel any uneasiness release downward. Stay with this for 5-10 breaths.
How to use throughout your practice/activity: Each time you are required to change positions or engage in a new exercise reconnect to your gold cord. See it and feel it rooting you and bringing you a sense of calm and ease.