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Practices for Type Nine

A note before you start…


Don’t engage with all of these practices at once.  They are meant to be used one at a time, for a period of time.


After you have used one of them for a while, ask yourself:

  • What have I learned about myself by working with this particular practice?

  • What changes to my behavior do I want to make as a result of working with this practice?

  • What impact will those changes have on my life?  On the lives of those around me?


Then, when you feel ready, move on to another practice, and work with that one.

Finally, be sure to offer yourself plenty of compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness as you engage with these practices.

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Practice #1 – What About YOU?

Nines are the great self-forgetters of the Enneagram.  They tend to go along with the wishes and ideas of others in order to blend in, get along, and avoid conflict. And as a result, they have lost touch with their own needs and desires. They have lost touch with themselves.


Consider: What is really import to you?  What are your priorities (especially those that may have taken a back seat to the priorities of others)?  What things speak to your heart?  Spend some time journaling on these questions and see what comes up.

Actions: Try taking a position when you would normally remain silent.  It may be uncomfortable at first, but what happens if you keep at it?  Try establishing a goal of your own, then work step-by-step toward accomplishing it.  Notice how often you say “yes”, instead of the “no” that you wanted to say.  Practice saying what’s on your mind.  Remember the John Mayer song “Say What You Need to Say”?  Work with that and see how your life opens up.

Practice #2 – What Anger?

Nines tend to avoid strong emotions in general, and anger in particular (both their own and that of others), as it might lead to conflict - something Nines want to avoid at almost any cost.  Nines actually spend a lot of energy repressing their anger, as it feels difficult and uncomfortable – even wrong - for them to express it.  But what if the feeling of anger arising inside of you was actually something important that needed to be recognized and tended to instead of avoided?  Next time you begin to feel the energy of anger moving through your body, see if you can allow it to persist long enough to feel into the valuable information it is trying to give you.  And be aware of the many subtle ways that anger may show itself such as being stubborn or passive-aggressive.  See if you can welcome your anger as a clue to what is going on inside of you.         

Practice #3 – What Body? 

Our bodies are one of our three centers of intelligence, and although Nines are “body types” they can be quite out of touch with their own bodies and have trouble mobilizing their energy.  Consequently, it is very important for Nines to engage in some kind of a regular physical practice that helps them get in touch and stay in touch with their bodies.  This practice might start out as simply as committing to a daily walk.  Over time, you may want to look at some kind of ongoing body practice such as yoga, tai chi, chi gong, a martial art like aikido, etc. that will encourage you to cultivate a relationship with your body and remind you to pay attention to it.  Explore how a little more body awareness might help you step more fully into the world.


“The lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host, and then a master.” - Khalil Gibran


Nines can have difficulty mobilizing their energy, tending to remain what one of my teachers called "comfortably undercharged".  Their driving emotion (or "passion") is inertia, and their virtue right action.  Here is a practice for energizing the body, a cycle of the first few moves of Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation.  Pay particular attention to the coordination of the movements with your breath, charging your body with life force energy, or prana.


1. Stand in Samastihi (mountain pose with your hands in Anjali mudra or prayer position). Inhale.


2. As you exhale sweep your arms out and up above your head, Urdhva Hastasana.


3. As you exhale, sweep your arms out and down - like a swan dive - into a forward fold, Uttanasana.


4. As you inhale raise your back - keeping it straight - with your hands on the floor or your shins, Ardha Uttanasana.


5. As you exhale, return to a forward fold, Uttanasana.


6. As you inhale, sweep your arms out and up, and back overhead to Urdhva Hastasana.


7. As you exhale, bring your palms together and draw them in prayer position down your midline and back to Samastihi (mountain). 


8. Repeat this invigorating cycle three times.  When you are complete, remain in Samastihi breathing normally.  Feel the prana coursing through your body. With a focused mind and energized body, how do you feel about taking action on whatever your priorities are?   

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Photos Credit: Ekhart Yoga

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