Aikidoists know the importance of posture. Head over shoulders over hips, weight balanced over both feet, which are about shoulder width apart. Bowing posture, Seiza (seated) posture, Hanmi (standing) posture. Body and mind are connected. When our posture is upright and ready, everything is. We’re open, relaxed, and prepared for whatever may come.

I also see the huge part posture plays off the mat, whenever I watch others and myself in conflict situations. The tension might be with our kids, our spouse or partner, or the worker in the next cubicle. When we’re mentally set on being right, the body is set, too -- stiff, rigid, unmoving. Breathing is high and in the chest -- if we’re breathing.

The good news is that by introducing a slight shift in your physical stance, you’ll also notice a shift in your attitude. Try it: the next time you feel like fighting, change one thing about your posture. Relax your shoulders; breathe more deeply; stand perpendicular or next to your conflict partner instead of facing them straight on. See what happens.

Aaron Odom writes in “Slouch more … Fight less” how hard it is to fight when we change our physical “stance.” Read it. It’s great! Then go give someone a hug.

Author's Bio: 

Judy Ringer is the author of Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict and the award-winning e-zine, Ki Moments. Judy is a black belt in aikido and nationally known presenter, specializing in unique workshops on conflict, communication, and creating a positive work environment. To sign up for more free tips and articles like these, visit