Centered Haibun

Centered, definition: adj., emotionally healthy and calm; emotionally stable and secure.


I learned to pray as a small child by placing my hands flat together, closing my eyes and bowing my head. That ritual helped me focus, set aside distractions and center myself. In yoga, I took quickly to prayer pose, which also uses hands placed together, head bowed and attention focused.

In prayer pose, I hear my breathing, like the waves of the ocean, calming me. I observe the movement of my rib cage, expanding, contracting, and I consciously deepen my breathing, holding it after taking a breath in, for a few seconds of stillness. I learned to focus my intention for that class: to set aside worries, to lay down burdens, and to think only of the needs of my body for those moments.

prayer pose
thoughts echo and grow still
breathe out worries

I haven’t been to a yoga class in years, but I had inspiring teachers, who were generous enough to help me design a home practice. I still practice yoga, and I am so grateful for it.

Prayer pose lets me feel close to the divine, for in the stillness and focusing of my mind I achieve calm. I hear the voice of the universe only in quiet moments, external and internal quiet.

tree pose
branches lifted to the sky
blessed by rain

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Linking to Haibun Thinking Week 8: Freestyle Week. A Haibun is prose, culminating in a haiku, often written of a moment along life’s journey.


38 thoughts on “Centered Haibun

  1. I shall have to try it, I’ve never been into yoga. My grandmother was very into yoga, and also her youngest sister who is that last remaining child of that family and now 94, she still does some yoga poses and exercises today. It certainly keeps her sane and young too! 🙂


    • It’s very healthy and a great way of keeping in tune. Keeping body and mind, both paying attention to each other. By the way, your parsnip suggestion did seem to help. I’ve been throwing them in everything, and my son and I are doing better with our dry skin. 🙂 So thanks!


      • Oh that’s good to hear that! Yes, I throw them into whatever I can too, it all helps. I have a recipe for a parsnip bread which I make (sounds strange doesn’t it?!!) it’s more a cross between a cake mixture and wholemeal muffins. I mix onion and peppers into it to give it a nice flavour. I find it’s great as a quick breakfast if I’m rushed and goes really lovely with cheese. You can’t really taste the parsnip, it’s just got an unusual, interesting flavour, and has a very moist texture too, and is easy to make (no rising needed). I could send you the recipe by email if you’d like it?

        I introduced my brother to it a few months ago, he thought it sounded a little strange at first, but he’s hooked now! 🙂


  2. aloha Brenda. i like your haibun. it places me personally there with you. and i meander around in my own thoughts as well as yours. now it is easy to take your words with me as well. i like that. aloha.


    • Aloha, Rick, you are welcome to meander away with my thoughts anytime. 🙂 I bet I would be able to be centered in Hawaii even easier than here in New England in March. I will see if focusing on the tropical helps me even more. 🙂 Cheers, Brenda


      • after some time here i notice the coolness a lot. it’s not like where you are of course but there is no heat in the house. so when it’s 50 degrees outside (and okay it doesnt often get that far down the degree ladder but it does sometimes like now and recently) it’s about the same inside. and as that is the cold night temperature it’s usually a little warmer in the day.

        i actually dress warmer inside at times here than i did recently in Massachusetts.

        still. . . . yeah, okay. i suspect i’d rather center here most of the time too. tropical warmth on you. aloha.


        • We are accustomed to greater outdoor variation than you, but less indoor variation. Our indoor is usually the same temp every day. I can see that would be an issue in an unheated house. 50 is pretty cold inside. I could go for 50, outside though.


  3. Beautiful! And thanks for the definition, I never understand what a haibun was exactly. i felt more centered and calm just reading this! have some deadlines coming up and this reminded me to just breath!


  4. Brenda, This is a very good suggestion. One that may help me focus when I need to most. I will try and keep this in mind. I say try because I am an old dog, and never one for just sitting still. But times are changing, and I will need and want moments to gather myself. This should help. Thanks, Bill


    • Bill, I do hope it helps, my friend. I find simple things more soothing as I get older. And focusing on breathing is soothing to me. Getting lost in memories might help, too. You have some good ones. Hugs, Brenda


  5. It is interesting that most of us…generally speaking that is breath wrong. Please correct me if I again get it wrong…
    when one inhales one should be filling the lungs, exhale expelling used air. Just stopping and thinking about breathing is something to learn.

    I read a snippet of a book about two sisters who are over 100 years of age. They practice yoga everyday.

    Cheers, Jules.


    • I believe yoga would help you live longer. 🙂 It’s so enriching. In my yoga class, we focused on the breathing a lot. I found it to be as close to meditating as I ever got.


  6. I was missing reading you, beautiful written as always.
    By the way, I´m following and viceversa a guy from Bali who does yoga! He´s giving me some advice, maybe I should try since being centered I think I only got the last word to put to my name “secure”


    • It’s amazing how things you learn as a small child can be such powerful soothers later in life. 🙂 Thanks for another great comment, Beth!! Warmly, Brenda


    • Maybe you need a more advanced yoga class. And it’s good to take it slow sometimes. 🙂 I always felt awesome after yoga, but my teacher was a bit grueling.


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