When you sit, keep your spinal column quite straight, while allowing your body to be relaxed. When your sitting posture is relaxed and stable, you can sit comfortably for a long time. You embody solidity and this helps your mind to be calm. A stable posture grounds body and mind. Sitting still, we minimize the actions of body, speech, and mind so we’re not pulled hither and thither by thoughts and feelings in which we might otherwise drown. — Thich Nhat Hanh (from How to Live #BK558)
What Role Does Our Body Play in Training the Mind?
The Mind Body connection is a common theme in Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s teaching as well as in Tibetan Buddhism.
Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche points out: “if we work with the body, we can avoid forcing the mind to be quiet. The mind will quiet naturally, because body and mind profoundly affect one another. Focused on the body, our mind is less likely to wander off into our own story lines.” Read the full article, including a group discussion among several mindfulness, meditation, and yoga instructors, at Lion’s Roar.
In How To Sit (one of the 5 pocket-sized guidebooks from the How To Live set) there are detailed instructions, breathing exercises and visualizations, as well as Thich Nhat Hanh’s personal stories and insights. For more help getting comfortable on your meditation cushion, visit our guide to postures here.