From Integrative Touch, I’m Shay Beider, host of the Conversations on Healing Podcast, and this is Healing Moments. Healing Moments is a segment we’ve created to share moments of healing and wellness that you can incorporate into your everyday life. Today’s healing moment is with Amanda Blake, who works with neurobiology to tap into the brain-body connection. Today, Amanda will guide us in developing embodied self-awareness by leading us through a beautiful grounding exercise that brings awareness to the space around our body. Find a quiet place to settle yourself and tune in to this wonderful practice.
Amanda Blake Okay, so this is a centering process. We talked in the podcast about centering, and this is a very, very simple sort of five second centering process, but I’ll talk you through it Shay. And for all of the listeners, and what I would encourage is anyone who’s listening along to just follow this and, and try this. So you could do this sitting or standing. You could really do this in any position. The idea here is that we’re three dimensional human beings, so we have an up, down, a right left, a forward back. And part of what we’re doing in this particular process is centering ourselves in the physical space around us. So if you were to hold your arms out to the side and turn in any direction what you would find is there’s maybe like a two to three feet space around you, and that draws a circle.
That’s in the research literature known as your Peripersonal space. And sometimes if someone comes right up and gets in that space, especially if it’s someone you don’t know, you might bristle or feel uncomfortable or, right. So that’s kind of your space. And this is a process of getting yourself centered physically in that space and bringing in a sense of lightness or joy. The other thing to know about this process is that it emphasizes the up-down dimension or the dimension we might call length. And most centering processes do have some sort of emphasis on a straightening of the spine or a connection to what’s above us and what’s below us. And this one’s no different. Part of that is that the idea of length is in many cultures, and also to a certain extent, physically associated with qualities like dignity and respect, openness, confidence. And so identifying with length with your own natural height is a big part of this. Sowe can begin just by sitting or standing in our own natural height, right? So you’re neither reaching up, but nor are you collapsing down, just allowing yourself to be your natural height.
And you can sometimes if I’m by myself, I might touch the top of my head, tap the top of my head, maybe pull a few hairs on the top of my head, not as easy if you happen to be bald, right? But just touch that top of your head and almost feel like a brief, like a water droplet. Touch the top of your head and lighten up. So just touching, inhale, lighten up and let yourself be your natural height. And then as you lighten up, soften and expand down the front. Think of something that makes you smile.
This could be somebody you love, maybe a four-legged friend, maybe somebody that’s no longer on the planet, but who really meant a lot to you. And let that smile fill you all the way out to the edges of your skin. And then not just to the edges of your skin, but see if you can allow that smile to expand into the whole of your Peripersonal space. So in your imagination, you’re not pushing anything in the same way that you’re not stretching to be your natural height. You’re just allowing an expansion of that smile, that joy, that love.
So the three simple steps, the five second version of this is to lighten up, soften and smile and expand. Lighten up, soften and smile and expand. And if you like, you can let that expansion go out to the corners of the room that you might be sitting in. But again, not pushing to allowing yourself to emanate whatever joy or beauty or appreciation is naturally radiating from within. And this particular centering practice comes from a teacher of mine, the late Wendy Palmer, who was just a beautiful carrier of the messages, of the wisdom of the body. So I wanna take a moment to appreciate her for her teaching. Andit is really my privilege to pass that on to you, Shay, and to all of your listeners. And my invitation would be to practice this, lighten up and identify with your length, soften and smile and expand. Practice that as many times a day as you can remember, and it’ll start to become more and more and more easily accessible to you in moments of difficulty and challenge. So very simple centering practice, and it’s a pleasure to be able to share it.
We hope you enjoyed today’s Healing Moment. If you’d like to suggest an idea for a future episode, please send us an email@example.com. If you like the show and wanna learn more about the classes and services that Integrative Touch offers virtually and in person, please visit integrativetouch.org. I’m Shay Beider. Thanks for taking the time for this Healing Moment.