S1/EP11: Opposite Postures Exercise

Podcast Series 1, Episode 11: Opposite Postures Exercise

The Opposite Postures Exercise - fire and ice

Opposite Postures Exercise

This opposite postures exercise helps break the automatic associations and connections between thought, emotion, and body postures, through the use of opposites.

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Welcome to a series of podcasts on how to achieve a peaceful and mindful state, by using simple, short exercises. 

Each episode focuses upon a particular element of our being, and will reveal exercises designed to expand our awareness, and build up a gradual sense of inner calm and alertness.


Today, we’re going to talk about an exercise called “Opposite Postures”. 

Another exercise I learned from that fellow in Texas. 

A reason we can’t awaken

Gurdjieff gives us a beautiful scenario of why man can’t awaken.

He explained how a man, who wishes to have a new thoughts, sits in an old posture and immediately finds himself in old thoughts. 


We are corrupted by the machine, because postures are connected.  Every posture has corresponding postures that are connected to it. For example: if you get down on your knees, clasp your hands together, and bow your head, you will probably find yourself in thoughts of prayer.  Why?  Because those postures are most likely connected.

So, opposite postures allow us to break those connections… and the mechanical chain reactions that follow.

For example: make a fist and grit your teeth, like you are mad at me and want to punch me; then think nice thoughts about me. 

You will find it is hard to do. Why?  Because the posture of clenching the fist and gritting teeth, is usually accompanied by other corresponding thoughts and emotions.

If you introduce different thoughts or emotions into the mix, that is, something other than what is normally connected with that posture, like “I love you”… it doesn’t want to fit. Why? Because those postures are not normally found together.

Create opposites in myself

So, I am going to create opposites in me, other than what is normally there, because someday, if someone really pisses me off… and my fist starts to clench, and my teeth start to grit, I just might run into the “I love you” stuff, which I intentionally connected to those postures, and thus, I will be able to stop myself from punching his lights out. 

By having opposite postures. That is, by, intentionally, putting something in that is contrary to what has always been there, I may be able to stop myself.  To stop the automatic, mechanical, chain-reaction, which is created in me by the other centers who got stimulated by the initial posture.

Begin the opposite postures exercise

So, do this exercise and create opposite things. 

Have opposite thoughts to the way you feel.

Have opposite feelings to your physical posture. For example: throw your chest out and hold your head high, which is a physical posture of accomplishment and success; then, try to feel inferior, try to feel humble. 

Or drop your shoulders, and slightly tilt your head forward, which is usually a posture of failure or dejection… then feel like you just won the lottery or can stop the wind! 

As many as you can

So create opposite postures: Opposite feelings to opposite thoughts; opposite thoughts to opposite physical postures; opposite physical postures to opposite feelings; and so forth.

How many can you create?

You will find that it is hard to put a smile on your face and have bad thoughts. The bad thoughts will confuse the smile…and you will go, “Wait a minute, I can’t do that.” Well, yeah, they are opposites and find no comfort together. 

We are accustomed to having certain postures connected. And, we are comfortable when we do. I know that. But, I want you to break that habit. 

I want you to put something opposite in there.  So, that you are not a machine… where, when you take a posture in one center, the rest of the centers do not just blindly follow, because certain postures are always connected. 

I want you to have something opposite in there.

Like stopping dominoes falling

It is kind of like removing one domino from a line of dominoes. When the dominoes start to fall and they reach the place where the one domino has been removed, they will stop falling.  

Likewise, in me, when I clench my fist and grit my teeth, perhaps, I too will run into the place where I intentionally put in the “I love you” instead of the “I want to kill you”… and I will stop. 

I will feel pride instead of dejection. For example, If I botched a presentation and lost a big commission, I will try to feel pride when a take the posture dejection.

Then, later on, when I take a similar posture of dejection, I just may run into the pride… and instead of being depressed all day long, I may uplifted…. Proud, that even though I failed, I made the attempt, which motivates me to make the next presentation better than the last. 

Opposite postures is a great way to break our mechanicalness.

The fellow in Texas says, “When my son was first learning how to walk, sometimes he would fall down and hurt himself.  The normal accompanying postures would be that of a frown, of a whimper, and of tears, which usually were prompted by the postures of sadness and concern that came from onlooking parents. So, I, instead, smiled, cheered, and clapped my hands in excitement, for his attempt…. Surprisingly, he would start smiling too.  Then, later on when he fell down, he would smile, clap his hands, and genuinely act excited. After which, he would, enthusiastically, get back on his feet and try again. House guests, who witnessed this behavior, were amazed that he smiled and got excited whenever he fell down.  Why? Because no one ever told them that they were capable of having opposite postures.”


That is the exercise of Opposite Postures..


Thank you for listening.


Goodbye until next time.

Teachings based upon the works of R. A. Smith and G. I. Gurdjieff.

All material © 2020 THEDOG Publishing

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