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.