Concentration creative imagery Energy Meditation Integral Awareness Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques mind body connection Mindful Confidence Mindful Resilience Mindful Self-Leadership Mindfulness Presence and being present

Strong back, soft front

“By practicing a physically ‘strong back, soft front’ posture, we can get a feeling of what it is like to be inwardly strong and at the same time gentle on a psychological level.”

Dear Toby,

This weeks article looks considers how physical posture can invite psychological change, and how you can cultivate real inner strength.

In the spirit of  strength and gentleness,


Strong back, soft front

Traditional meditation posture involves sitting up straight, with an unsupported back. The head and neck are above the chest and shoulders, chest above the belly, belly sitting above the hips, like a stack of bricks. One reason for this is that meditation is about alertness as much as relaxation. If you lean against something, it may be relaxing, but the danger of your alertness dipping increases. So we can sit upright to cultivate this balance of relaxation and alertness upon which all effective meditation and mindfulness relies.

Soft front, strong back
As you are sitting up straight with a strong back, you can also deliberately soften the front of your body, the chest, belly and face. So you have a soft front, backed up by a strong backbone. This can be a physical posture that reminds us of how to be in life; we can present a gentle, restrained face to the world, because we know we are strong inside. Because we are inwardly strong, we are confident enough to be gentle outside (unless it is appropriate not to be so for a specific reason).

Armoring the front to hide a weak back
Often in life our position is the opposite of strong back, soft front. We feel afraid and insecure on the inside (weak back), and so to compensate we present a strong, armored, even aggressive front to the world to compensate. This affects our sense of who we are, and how other people experience us. By practicing the ‘strong back, soft front’ posture, we can get a bodily feeling of what it is like to be inwardly strong and at the same time gentle on a psychological level.

Spend a little time each day sitting with a strong back and soft front. Let your body learn to recognize what this feels like. As you go about your daily activities, experiment with what it is like to feel strong inside and so gentle on the outside. Try talking and acting from this place in your relationships and in the way that you interact with the world. Notice how this changes how you participate in your life, and the opportunities for creative change it opens for you.

Article content © Toby Ouvry & Integral Meditation Asia 2019.

Upcoming classes and workshops

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm (Restarts 21st August) – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings (Restarts 13th August), 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Tuesday 12.30-1.30 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

Tuesday and Wednesday 17,18 December – Winter solstice balancing & renewing meditation

Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Books * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

Books on mindfulness & meditation

Toby’s new book ‘Engaged Mindfulness’ is out!

Dear Integral Meditators,

I’m really happy to announce that my new book ‘Engaged Mindfulness – What mindfulness is and how we can apply it to our daily lives’ is out!

I’ve been writing blog articles on meditation and mindfulness or a long time now, this first book of mine looks specifically at some of the most practical ways to understand and work with mindfulness in your daily life that I have discovered through my own experience over the last twenty years or so. It is only available in hard copy.

Engaged Mindfulness is on special launch offer (20% off) until the end of the month, full details are below, do feel free to share the news of the launch with any friends you think may be interested!

In the spirit of the mindful journey,


About ‘Engaged Mindfulness’: 

‘This is a book on applied mindfulness. It aims to present clear, practical ideas and exercises on how to integrate mindfulness practice into your daily life. The different sections of the book were originally written as articles, reflections on the authors own practice of mindfulness, and the ways that he has found most useful to integrate mindfulness into his life as different challenges have presented themselves.
Each section details mindfulness exercises and practices which you can either try out in a systematic way, one chapter after the other, or in a more organic manner, picking out the practices that you feel most drawn to.
Those who have no experience of mindfulness previously, might like to go to section entitled ‘Some Simple Focusing & Relaxing Practices’, which detail exercises for building basic mindful concentration.
The book is the first of a series, and deliberately kept short. The text is meant to be read slowly rather than in a rush. Taking it a page or two at a time, combining it with a little time for personal reflection is a good way to go.’

You can click here to view the front and back covers, have a read of the introduction and survey the contents: Engaged Mindfulness preview


Click HERE to purchase your copy if you are in Singapore (or Malaysia).
Click HERE to purchase your copy if you are ordering from outside Singapore.
Click HERE if you wish to purchase without mail delivery (i.e: You will pick up your copy).

Click here to find out about the book talks by Toby on ‘Engaged Mindfulness’ on the 8th & 17th of September.

Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology