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Chi, also known as ki, qi or prana in other traditions, is what drives your boat. It's your life force. Centering it is all about sloughing off negativity, pessimism, stress, anxiety and a whole host of other ills in order to live your life with equanimity. Use meditation, breathing and exercise techniques every day to bring yourself back to who you truly are when life and its inherent challenges threaten to throw you off kilter.
Tai chi is the gentler side of the martial arts world. This slow-moving exercise is rife with symbolism and has been practiced for centuries in China and now in North America as a way to center chi. It does so by balancing the yin and the yang -- the two perfectly opposite aspects of your psyche. Yin represents the feminine and dark side of your personality, while yang is reflected by the light and masculine. When blended in harmony, your yin and yang imbue you with the ability to stay balanced and centered. Many recreation centers and martial arts dojos offer courses in tai chi where you'll learn to connect the forms and symbols of this ancient discipline into one, long movement designed to center your chi.
The breath is the vehicle by which good chi is delivered into your body and bad chi is evacuated from your system. Practicing qigong or yogic breathing techniques will center your chi faster than any other method. You are meant to take long, slow inhales and even longer exhales; but if you're living a fast-paced, stress-filled life, chances are that you're breathing shallowly, quickly and absent-mindedly. Concentrating on the simple act of drawing in a long breath that fills your lungs completely and exhaling just as fully will slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, calm your mind and return you to a state of equanimity. Take a few minutes a couple of times a day to practice breathing techniques to center your chi.
Meditation has been used for centuries as a way to center chi. By taking a comfortable position and breathing deeply while you let thoughts flow formlessly in and out of your consciousness, you are practicing meditation. Your chi benefits from the cessation of coherent and often negative thoughts that race through your mind all day. Meditation can quell your inner turmoil and let your inner harmony rise to the surface. Classic meditation is not for everyone. If you're one of those people who can't stay put for more than a few minutes, don't despair; a meditation technique exists for you as well. Walking in nature or around a labyrinth especially constructed for meditation is also a valid and effective method of centering your chi.
Centering your chi is important. But what's also worth considering is what throws you off balance in the first place. It could be that you have too much on your plate and not enough time or energy to handle everything quite the way you'd like. Take the time to notice what your triggers are and then take steps to rearrange your schedule or make modifications to your lifestyle to stay more centered.