Posture – it's often subconscious, we slump when we feel tired, or defeated, upright when we are curious, interested…and did you know, posture can alter not only mood, but cognition and how effectively you process information? There is much correlation between the posture of the body and the attitude of the mind.
So, in my best sergeant major voice - sit up! If you want to absorb information more effectively, or to improve your self-esteem or general mood. This may be especially important for many of us right now, if our mood is erring toward the lower end of the spectrum, try and consider if your posture can contribute to a more positive sense of well-being as a slumped or stooped posture can worsen negative emotional states.
There is also research that shows when a person is sat straight and smiling, they can retrieve positive autobiographical memories more quickly. A stooped posture may impact on the pride people feel in themselves and develop an increased level of helplessness. Something that many of us feel right now as the world is turning in ways, we have no control over.
A stooped posture – walking or sitting can also worsen our negativity bias when recalling events, we are more likely to recall negative thoughts and memories than we are positive ones.
In fact, take a pause – tune into your posture now, how are you sitting? What is your mood like? Perhaps invite yourself to adjust your posture and see how that impacts upon your sense of well-being, or curiosity/ability to process information more effectively.
Posture is just as important in our meditation practice too.
Our posture looks after our well-being, an upright back, shoulders down and relaxed takes care of our muscles, but our posture is also the spirit with which we practice.
We can create intention for our practice through our posture such as upright, dignified, aware – we embody these intentions in the way we sit. Staying curious, open – much harder to do when we are slumped in our chairs. Start your practice with an embodied intention that works for you today that you create through the way you hold your body.
Have your hands open and at ease, resting lightly on your lap.
If our mind is wild and thoughts racing – try lowering your gaze
If you feel dull and sleepy – try raising your gaze
If you are feeling settled, then a gaze straight ahead is a supportive practice
So next time you take to the chair or your cushion to meditate, become more conscious of your posture so that it enhances and supports your practice. It is a small but important kindly moment we can give to ourselves at any time of the day.