Emotions and your body

man doing yogaHow you hold your body has a big effect on how you feel. When you’re depressed, you collapse. Your chest caves in, your shoulders slump forward, and you end up staring at the ground in front of you because your chin is coming down to meet your chest. And when you hold your body like that it’s almost impossible to feel anything but depressed.

On the contrary when you feel strong and positive and confident you have your chest open, your shoulder back, and you look the world right in the eye. When you hold your body like that it helps you to develop confidence and feel good about yourself.

This is one of the reasons why posture is so important in meditation. It’s not just a matter of being comfortable — you’re working directly on your emotions through your body.

Your body has a memory that you can tap into. If you recall what your body feels like when you are at ease with yourself — relaxed, open, and alive — and then allow your body to find those qualities, then the emotional states associated with that posture will take root.

Outside of meditation it’s important to be aware of your body too, and to make sure that you’re setting up physical conditions that will support positive emotional states.

2 Comments. Leave new

Thank you so much for your practice and the time you’ve taken to put together this site. I have to say I have never needed it more. Lately, I have been in a constant state of unrest mentally and physically. I am curious to know if you have any very quick, on the spot meditations or short prayers or something I could say to myself in situations where I am flooded with (very powerful, very negative) emotion in public? These (let’s call them) episodes generally happen in unfavorable conversations but also come on when I’m alone with my thoughts and lead to whole body tremors and shakes. I basically feel out of control of my own body and was hoping there was a technique out there that could bring this to an end.


Hi, Genelle.

First, I’m sorry to hear that you’re experiencing so much unrest. Second, thank you for your kind words.

The main thing I would encourage you to do is to focus on the physical sensations of shaking and any sensations of discomfort that you experience in the body, and to say to yourself something like “It’s OK to feel this. Let me feel this.” It’s the fear of this kind of experience that’s the real problem, and not the experience itself. The more you can accept what’s going on, the less fearful and the less distressed you’ll be.

But don’t think in terms of making this end. Certainly, it will. Everything ends. But think in terms of accepting what’s going on and allowing it to be there for as long as it takes to pass away. Craving for it to end will make it last longer, because that’s a fear-based response.


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