A character in "The Sword of the Lady" by S. M. Stirling remarks that relaxing the body helps to relax the mind. It got me to thinking about my Aikido training. I was always told to calm my mind in order to relax my body. I never heard the converse, and I assumed that in order to relax my body I first had to calm my mind. Considering Stirling's quote in light of my view regarding posture I now see that both points of view, far from being contradictory, are actually complimentary.
Over the years I have come to realize that correct posture is composed of both external and internal factors; each of which complements and reinforces the other. External posture is my physical appearance, the face I put on for the world to see. Internal posture is reserved only for me to observe. It's my self image, how I view myself in my mind's eye. Correct posture as it relates to Aikido requires both internal and external postures be viewed and presented, respectively, in a positive manner; another tool for the effective integration of body and mind and the attainment of correct feeling. When practiced, positive internal and external postures reinforce each other in a feedback loop.
Thus it is with the relaxation of my body and mind. As I practice Aikido I learn to relax my body which, in turn, calms my mind. As I grow a quiet mind my body further relaxes... Once the loop has been established, ongoing practice reinforces the results. Body and mind, relaxed and calm, become increasingly integrated and, hence, my whole being moves closer to now as I continue to progress.
(Original blog post may be found here