Why Knowing the Four Postures is Useful to You

Have you ever come across mindfulness of the four postures? Maybe you have, and find it helpful. Maybe you haven’t but would like to know more.

It is a very useful part of mindfulness because more often than not your body will be in one of them. So learning about these four postures means you can be mindful in most situations.

The four postures of mindfulness

They are mindfulness of standing, walking, sitting and lying down; and presented in the following blog series:

  1. How to Stand and Be More Present
  2. How to Walk and Better Settle Thoughts
  3. How to Sit and Start to Calm
  4. How to Lie Down and Begin to Relax

It is useful to know these and they are great tools to have in your mindfulness toolbox.

If you find yourself at a bus stop and need to settle your mind on your way to work, use the mindfulness of standing.

If you are walking to the shops, and a problem is chewing at you, then mindfulness of walking might help you step back from it briefly to give you some breathing space.

Being able to sit, and with skill, allow the mind to start to settle into calm can be very beneficial; it can become a key part of your day and help to maintain your well-being.

The ability to lie down and begin to relax can help anyone get a better night’s sleep.

Grounding the mind in the present moment

Mindfulness is all about helping you to ground your mind in the present moment; get a perspective on life; calm the busy mind; improve well-being and benefit those around you by being a steadier, easier person to be with.

What others have shared

I hope the topic will be a good one for you to explore and apply to your life. So to help get the conversations going, and to give you other points of view on the subject, here is what some others have said about the how they use the four postures:

On mindfulness of standing:

A Mindful Life, LA‏ @AMindfulLifeLA Hello! One practice I often use while standing is Awareness of Sound.

Kevin Murnane Place your feet about shoulder width apart, breathe 5 seconds in, 5 seconds out.

Dr Neil Hayes ...mindfulness must be maintained in the four main postures of the body - standing, sitting, walking, lying down. Also in the transitions between these states. To be mindful whilst standing, it may be helpful to tune into the breath whilst watching the "four foundations" of mindfulness (the mind and its contents, the body and its sensations). Alternatively, one can cultivate mindfulness of standing itself, which may be done by paying attention to a particular aspect of standing, such as the contact of the feet with the earth.

On mindfulness of walking:

Lotus Dharma Yoga Stay with your breath

Andrea G Timing your breathing with your stride can help occupy a busy mind... 

Dan Meditation put your mind on your feet and feel them move as you walk.

On mindfulness of sitting:

Cara Brookins‏ @cmbrookins Pay attention to the details. Everything from the topstitching on your cushion to what's under your feet took many hands to make.

Kirsty Paterson A simple coffee meditation. Just sitting with your favourite hot drink. Being aware of the heat radiating through the cup/mug, Noticing the steam as it rises, the smell, taste, what it feels like as you take that first sip, how it makes you feel. Being totally in the moment as you continue until you have finished. A good one to start your day!

Meditationly‏ @meditationly Keep coming back to the breath.

Hear Your Mind‏ @Hearyourmind It is a good practice to consciously sit for 10 min in a comfortable position at a specific time, every day and take deep breaths. Set alarms

On mindfulness of lying:

Darren Pugh Rest your hands on your lower belly to feel it gently rise on a slow relaxed in a breath and to fall on a slow relaxed out breath. And just for good measure, say quietly to yourself "Thank You" for no particular reason.

Nebo D. Lukovich Try this: pick up several contact-points between your body and the bed. These points will usually be on the back side of your body, including a few on your head, legs and arms. So, when you lie down, feel the contact of your body at each point, for 15-30 seconds each. Feel the sensation of the bed touching your skin... Click here for more.         

Kevin Murnane Notice the discomfort, breath. Rinse and Repeat.

Erik Hoogcarspel Use a mantra and visualisation combined with breathing

Yogendra D Shastri Yes; yognidra -a term and practice of yoga have the similar concept of mindfulness while lying down. Of course....it is sort of body scan with taking awareness from head to toe and toe to head.

What are your experiences?

It would be great to hear about what your experiences of the four postures are so far. So please leave any comments below so we can get the conversation about this topic going and hopefully make this into a really good open blog series.

Developing your knowledge

Having knowledge of mindfulness of the four postures will allow you to practise mindfulness anywhere, and make it a key part of your life.

So, if you are new to mindfulness, I hope you will enjoy this blog series and gain some valuable mindfulness skills from it.

If you are an old hand at mindfulness, then, I hope you will learn some "golden nugget" - as one teacher I knew called them - tips from this series; I know I have already from the feedback above, I love the one about mindfulness of transitions between the postures, really great!

Establish Mindfulness: image
About Paul
Paul has been practising mindfulness since 1997, but still has a "beginner's mind" approach to meditation. He is the author of the eBook series The Silence Between the Noise and primary contributor to the Establish Mindfulness online meditation center.