Embrace your inner superhero


I regularly teach clients, yoga students and workshop participants about Amy Cuddy’s fantabulous research into how changing our posture can change our lives.

You can see her Ted Talk here.

And her delightful book, Presence gives many more examples.

In a nutshell, when we expand our posture and hold it for 2 minutes or longer, we increase our testosterone (confidence! competence! courage!) while reducing our cortisol levels (so we feel less stressed and more empowered.

We might make like Wonder Woman or Superman, creating a star fish shape, making the kind of victory sign with our bodies athletes make when they win (arms outstretched, chest out) or taking a yoga pose like Warrior II (click here for more information). Anything expansive.

Essentially, by taking such a pose, we’re sending signals of confidence to our own brains (which get us out of that hunched posture that indicates we’re under threat and then relays the information that it’s safe to relax and be present to the rest of our body) as well as letting others know that we’re confident and capable.

We’re not going to be risk taking but we can bring our, as Amy Cuddy says, ‘boldest selves to our greatest challenges’.

I’ve heard of people power posing in car parks next to their cars before going in to make a presentation.

Shonda Rhimes is such a fan, she wrote it into an episode of Grey’s Anatomy where Amelia was about to perform an especially arduous 25 hour brain op on a colleague.

Sometimes, just taking a power pose can make us grin and remember we’ve got this (be it a first date, job interview, exam or even getting dressed on a particularly challenging day).

It’s not about dominating anyone, just getting our own bodies into a state in which we remember our own resourcefulness.

Other times, unfolding ourselves to take up more space in our lives might feel quite challenging. We can build up.

Try it. Choose one at a time and time yourself for 2 minutes or longer. See how it makes you feel.

Which is your favourite?

What did you notice about how you felt afterwards?

Feel free to comment below.





Wishing y’all a very Cool Yule / Winter Solstice


Apart from being just a few sleeps until Christmas, tomorrow has its own special energy. You might want to take a few moments to use the earth’s natural energies to give some of your own plans and hopes more oomph. These ideas might get you started:

The Solstice is a time of change – as it’s been getting darker and darker (and colder), even though we can’t yet see the proof, we know that from today, this shifts and the days will be getting longer (and hopefully warmer). Lighting candles in honour of this increasing light brings hope as well as light and warmth.

And as research from the Heart Math Institute shows us, hope is one of those gorgeous feelings (along with joy, pride, awe, love and gratitude) that helps our physiology – when we feel such emotions, we create more DHEA (natural performance enhancing hormone) and this inhibits the production of cortisol (stress hormone). Just thinking about some of the things you hope to bring to fruition over the coming days, months and year is good for your health.

As the length of daylight reverses (albeit gradually), you might want to ponder some of the areas of your life, work and relationships you want to change direction around. Take inspiration from the seasons and avoid psyching yourself out with too big resolutions. Instead, take baby steps which, over time, can have a remarkable impact. (At first, we won’t notice the longer days but over the coming weeks, each incremental change will become cumulative. It’s the same with our human efforts.)

It’s also a great time to release old patterns and habits. People used to symbolically burn them away in the Yule Log (which probably wasn’t as delicious as the chocolate ones we have today). Whether you have a fire place or a tea-light and safe enough space, you might want to write a list of some of the habits and patterns you know have been holding you back and symbolically burn them.

Some of these patterns may be more resistant but even taking this step to show your intention to release it will begin to shift things. If there are habits others want you to release and you don’t feel ready, don’t even worry about it – you’ll release them when and if you become ready. Do what’s right for you.

Think of as many ways as you can to bring more light into your life over the coming days, weeks and months. What lifts your spirits? How can you do it more? What warms your heart? How can you up your dosage of this wonderful medicine?

Metta x

Image courtesy of artur84/freedigitalphotos.net