We must learn to acquire a peaceful body. Whatever our psychological activity, our body reacts to it; and our bodily state determines to a certain degree the type or quality of our psychological activity.
Theophan the Recluse, in his advice to anyone wishing to attempt the spiritual life, says that one of the conditions indispensable to success is never to permit bodily slackness: “Be like a violin string, tuned to a precisely note, without slackness or supertension, the body erect, shoulders back, carriage of the head easy, the tensions of all muscles oriented towards the heart.”
A great deal has been written and said about the ways in which one can make use of the body to increase one’s ability to be attentive, but on a level accessible to many, Theophan’s advice seems to be simple, precise, and practical. We must learn to relax and be alert at the same time. We must master our body so that it should not intrude but make collectedness easier for us.
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh