We spend so much of our time sitting on the edge of our seats, waiting to get to what’s next. Our thoughts race ahead, leaving us distracted and unable to fully articulate our needs or how to meet them. We’re perpetually leaning forward, itching to move on to the next item on our to-do list.

What about discovering what it’s like to lean back — to sink into a moment, to savor it, to allow your senses to relax and release into what you’re encountering. Yes, some resistance can arise to the feelings we’re having, the people we’re interacting with, or the situations we’re experiencing. That’s life. But what would it be like to lean back into the moment and deeply experience it — to lean back into your meal and taste your food, to lean back into your office chair and be at work, to lean back into your heart and listen to what’s happening around and within you, to lean back into yourself and become quiet for a while? Learning to lean back into your life allows you to become more relaxed and more receptive. It can actually release a lot of tension in the body.


  • Right now, without being critical of yourself, notice how you’re sitting. If you find yourself sitting forward on your seat, gently adjust your body and allow your back to relax into the chair. Take three deep breaths. Soften your shoulders. Lean back into the chair, the church bench, the park bench, your car seat.
  • Throughout the day, notice the way you sit — at meetings, at your dinner table, at church, or while watching a movie. Sometimes, when we think we’re relaxed, we’re still holding or gripping (experiencing tension or tightness) in our back or neck. When you notice this gripping, just invite yourself to lean back, release into what’s holding you, and take a deep breath.
  • Check in with your body periodically. Whether you’re walking, standing and talking to someone, or bending over and pulling weeds, notice any tension or tightness in your body. When you notice this tension — this gripping — take a few deep breaths and invite yourself to lean back into the moment. Release into what’s holding you.
  • Sometimes, we have to lean into what is uncomfortable and see if we can find a way to settle down.

Leaning back is a practice you can easily use throughout your day to notice where you might be resistant, and to see if you can find some release through any degree of surrender. Notice how the practice of leaning back will bring you more ease throughout your day.

Colette Lafia

Colette Lafia

About the author

Colette Lafia is a San Francisco-based spiritual director, workshop leader, and writer. She is the author of Seeking Surrender: How a Trappist Monk Taught Me to Trust and Embrace Life, and Comfort & Joy: Simple Ways to Care for Ourselves and Others. Colette has a passion for helping people connect more deeply with the presence of the sacred in their daily lives and blogs about it at www.colettelafia.com.