50% of the Quality of Your State of Mind Depends on Your Posture

Buddhism teaches that half of your mind or mood is reliant on how you carry yourself, your posture. Learn more below.

Synchronizing Mind and Body in the Present Moment = Effortless Elegance.

Let us have good head and shoulders—the basic elegant posture of enlightenment.  ~ Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Growing up, I studied Buddhism with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. I can’t tell you how many times he’d remind us that half our state of mind was dependent on our posture.

Rinpoche is a meditation teacher. But he’s also an athlete—and he knows the importance of posture, of yoga, of proper breath. He’d remark that, of course, you can tell when someone is depressed—they slump. Problem is, it’s self-fulfilling. It’s hard to cheer up, mentally, when, physically, you’re slumped.

I remember, too, reading that the Sakyong’s father, Chogyam Trungpa, remarked on how friends would edge to their seats and sit up bolt upright in the movie theater when they were excited. You can see a sort of peace and presence in calligraphy experts—and that physical elegance, whether manifested through art or dance or everyday life—further manifests in our inner and outer actions.

This is such a simple point that it’s easy to overlook how easy, and powerful, a tool this is to keep in mind. When you’re depressed, make an effort to sit up, and relax. When you’re excited, make an effort to breathe.

It’s an easy way to bring your state of mind into a happier place.

Resources to Improve Your Posture to Better Your Mind:

> In Buddhism, there’s the six points of posture for meditation. Here’s some more detailed advice.

> Here’s some basic tips for models (and everyone else).

> Stressed out after a day at the computer or at the wheel? Try simple restorative yoga—it’s easy, and heavenly, and you don’t need a mat, and your children or friends can join you.

> The Posture Guru of Silicon Valley

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Guest Oct 14, 2015 12:00pm

What about kyphosis and scoliosis?

DomesticGoddess Mar 3, 2014 11:05am

Posture also relates to the energy body – proper alignment of the spine and therefore also the chakras creates a better flow.

Lindsey Dec 1, 2013 9:41pm

Love this! Thank you for posting. Also, off topic and just a little heads up, it might be just me but the 6 points link has been flagged as an "attack page?" I don't really know what the means, but I get scary graphics and a button that says "get me outta here!" when I go to it. Just thought I'd pass that along. Thanks again!

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.